It’s always a good day when friends Lauren Christian and Grace Homan are able to get together. And for area high school track and field fans, it’s definitely worth the weight.
Christian, a senior at Covington, and Homan, a senior at Botkins, are two of the state’s top shot putters. They went head-to-head again on Tuesday at the Division III district championships at Piqua High School.
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Christian won with a throw of 42 feet, 1.25 inches for the district title. While advancing to next week’s regional meet is the goal – the top four finishers in each event qualify – Christian also wanted to break the meet record of 42-5.75 held by Christine Borchers of Versailles set in 2009. Christian came up 1.50 inches short last year nd 4.50 inches on Tuesday.
“I was really trying to push for that this year. I came up a couple inches short,” Christian said. “It’s disappointing but motivation for regionals to do better.”
Homan finished second with 39-11 to also advance and continue the duo’s back-and-forth battle in the shot. Houston senior Shelby Ayers (38-00.25) and Houston junior Mackenzie Wenrick (34-04.5) grabbed the final two spots.
“She pushes herself and she works really hard. I think that’s something we both have in common,” Homan said of Christian. “We both want to keep qualifying all the way to state. That’s all that matters.”
Christian finished third at the D-III state championships last season and Homan was fourth. With a pair of seniors in front of them in 2018, Christian and Homan are each looking to move up two spots. They both want that top spot, of course. But they’ll be happy should the other one stand atop the podium, too.
“We’ve grown up with each other. It’s been a friendly rivalry,” Christian said. “It’s nice to have someone like Grace to push me. Usually I can throw bad at meets and still win.”
Christian’s personal best is 43-0. Homan’s is 41-11.5. Along with Wheelersburg senior Paige Emmett, who finished sixth at state last year, Christian and Homan are expected to be the main challengers for the state title.
“There’s three of us capable of throwing big throws,” said Christian, who will compete in college for Oakland University in Michigan. “It’s going to be a fight who can throw the farthest.”
Added Homan, a University of Dayton recruit: “I really like competing against friends because you can push yourselves. We both play basketball so it’s fun playing against her. We talk to each other the whole time and I think we’re both pretty funny. … I hope we both come out on top at state. That would be awesome.”
In other highlights from Tuesday:
* Bradford senior Jacob McQuinn won the boys discus title with a throw of 146-04.
“I was looking for 160, but 146 will work,” McQuinn said of the survive-and-advance mentality of district and regional.
McQuinn said he struggled at the regional meet last year and is ready to redeem himself.
“I choked. It was just an off day,” he said. “I know this year is going to be different. I have my form down and all that.”
Being a powerlifter should help, too. McQuinn said he benches 275 pounds, squats 400 and deadlifts 510.
• The Fort Loramie boys 3,200 relay team of Jake Rethman, Colten Gasson, Gavin Schulze and Joe Ballas won the district title in 8:22.17.
• Ansonia junior Brock Shellhaas edged out senior teammate Matthew Shook for the pole vault title. Shellhaas won with 15-0 to break his own meet record of 14-08 set in 2017. Shook was second at 14-08.
• Covington senior Lilian Hamilton won a tiebreaker over Troy Christian senior Kenley Blake to claim the high jump. Both cleared 5-3 and Hamilton needed one attempt to Blake’s three.
• Newton junior Ethan Cook won the long jump in 21-00.25.
The meet resumes Saturday morning at Piqua.