Troy track and field teams in midst of historic season

Troy senior Lenea Browder is one of three state champions —along with Paul Tooley in 1924 and Levi Fox in 2008 —for the Trojans’ program. Troy’s boys track team celebrates its 100th anniversary and the girls program its 50th season. Greg Billing / Contributed

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Troy senior Lenea Browder is one of three state champions —along with Paul Tooley in 1924 and Levi Fox in 2008 —for the Trojans’ program. Troy’s boys track team celebrates its 100th anniversary and the girls program its 50th season. Greg Billing / Contributed

Boys program celebrating its 100th season; girls program its 50th

The Troy High School boys track and field program celebrates its 100th anniversary this season. And you don’t have to go far to find a connection to that first season on this year’s team.

He’s usually over by the pole vault pit.

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Former Troy head coach Herb Hartman – also a Trojans’ middle distance record setter in his day – is the son-in-law of William Jackson. Jackson finished runner-up in the discus at the Ohio state championships in 1919. Troy hosts the Herb Hartman Invitational at Memorial Stadium on Friday.

“We’re hoping to continue that tradition that started in 1919. That year started with William Jackson,” said Troy girls coach Kurt Snyder. “We’ve had success from the first year of track and field at Troy. With 80-plus girls out this year we should have enough depth to be really strong.”

As the boys celebrate their 100th anniversary the girls program celebrates its 50th season. The Trojans have had three individual state champions during that span. Levi Fox won the boys 3,200-meter run in 2005 and senior Lenea Browder won the girls discus last season. Troy officials thought those were the only two until Snyder uncovered a third during his anniversary research.

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Paul Tooley won the 440-yard dash in a state-record 51.1 seconds to win the title in 1924. Snyder also found a photo of Tooley in a 1923 Troy High School football team photo in the Troy Historical Society archives.

Troy has incorporated its past on this year’s senior banner, with historical photos of state champions and state runners-up bordering around senior photo in the middle.

“We’re throwing a lot of history at them this year so they understand what they are part of,” Snyder said.

The Trojans could make even more this season. Browder, an Ohio State University commitment, is a favorite to repeat in the discus. She also finished second in the shot put at state last season.

“She’s just a tremendous young lady. She’s a talented kid but she puts a lot of work in during the offseason,” Snyder said. “It’s awesome to see her continue her success to start the year.”

As for Hartman, he set school records in the 880-yard run and was on the record-setting two-mile relay.

“That’s awesome that family line has been part of it since the beginning. That’s pretty neat,” Snyder said.

The Herb Hartman Invitational features some of the state’s top athletes. Among them, Wayne senior Zarik Brown has the state’s top times in the 100 dash (21.35) and 200 dash (48.54). Senior teammate Lucas Houk has the fastest 1,600 (4:24.48), while the Warriors’ boys relays have the top times in the 400 (42.16), 800 (1:29.34) and 1,600 (3:21.69).

Butler junior pole vaulter Dalton Shepler attempts to improve on his personal best of 16 feet, 7 inches set at the Wayne Warrior Relays on Tuesday. That’s also No. 1 in Ohio, No. 5 in the country and broke the meet record of 15-6 set by Wayne’s Tommy Marks in 2008.

For the girls, Browder’s discus throw of 154-11 ranks No. 1 in the state (and No. 2 in the shot at 41-1). CJ’s 400-relay team has the fastest time in 48.89 and Greenville junior Riley Hunt – though not listed on the meet’s pole vault start list – has the best effort at 13-4.

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