COLUMBUS — Tyler Brown considered himself an underdog all season.
His resume prior to this year maybe revealed as much. He had never won a state track and field title or had been a serious contender.
However, the Findlay senior put together a stellar performance at the Division I state meet Saturday before an announced crowd of 14,831 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Brown walked away with two state titles after competing in three individual events.
In the high jump, he cleared a school-record 6 feet, 10.25 inches to claim his first title.
Despite not having much time to recover, Brown outran the competition in the 400 meters and won with a school-record time of 47.08 seconds.
“The goal was three [first-place medals], but I still was able to do a lot better than I did last year,” said Brown, who helped the Trojans score 31 points to finish tied with Westerville North for fourth place in the team competition.
He came up a mere 3 inches shy in the long jump from reaching his goal of winning three events in his final high school meet. His best jump of the day was 23-1.75, while Wayne’s Jordan Latimer bested him with an effort of 23-4.75 to claim first place.
Brown admits he opened the day too excited, and he never felt comfortable with his steps and pace on the long jump runway, which led to him fouling on a couple jumps that could have been long enough to win.
After finishing as a runner-up in the long jump, Brown made up his mind to take another approach with his other two events.
“The loss made me feel a little more relaxed,” he said. “The rest of the day I decided to just go with the flow.”
The strategy helped him become the only athlete from northwest Ohio to come away a state champion in the D-I meet.
Brown, who will compete in track and field at Eastern Michigan in the fall, said his success has come from plenty of effort and direction from his coaches over the last four years. He also kept himself motivated to do something special for the program.
“I feel like all the hard work has paid off,” he said.
Whitmer’s Nick Holley stood on the podium and received the sixth-place medal for the pole vault, as well as his high school diploma. Holley, an honors graduate who finished 13th in his class with a 4.11 grade point average, passed up Saturday’s commencement ceremonies to compete in the state meet.
His coaches arranged for him to receive his diploma during the meet.
“It’s a big day for me all the way around,” said Holley, the former Panthers quarterback who will play football at Kent State.
Findlay’s Bryce Burnside registered a throw of 175-9 to place sixth in the discus while Fremont Ross’ Jared Ballenger was 11th (164-8).
Start’s Dionte Carey finished seventh in the 300 hurdles (38.82) and Perrysburg’s Bryant Byrd placed 16th in the 800 (2:03.66).
Southview’s J.J. Pinckney placed third in the long jump (23-0.25) and seventh in the 400 (48.76).
Whitmer’s Chris Boykin cleared 6-2 to place 13th in the high jump.
Southview’s 800-relay team (Keith Gilmore, J.J. Pinckney, Perry Burkes, Malcolm Johnson) placed fifth with a time of 1:27.85. Burkes, Pinckney, Jeremy Cook, and Frank Hayes placed seventh in the 1600 relay with a time of 3:20.63.
Johnson ran sixth in both the 100 (10.96) and the 200 (22.06).
Kyle Lach, a St. Francis de Sales senior, took 10th place in the 1600 with a time of 4:15.95. Knights teammate David St. John ran 12th in the 3200 (9:36.25).
Clay’s Nicole Breeden closed out her high school career by placing third in the discus with a toss of 141-1. Whitmer’s Alaya Hayes finished ninth in the shot put with a heave of 40-2 and 16th in the discus with a throw of 111-5. Panthers teammate TiTyana Gardner placed 16th in the shot put with her best effort of the day traveling 36-8.
Northview’s Janelle Noe ran fourth in the 300 hurdles by posting a personal record time of 44.42. It was the fourth-straight race she turned in a P.R. time.
“I was really happy and really excited to get on the podium,” said Noe, who will compete at the University of Toledo.
Clay’s Erin Gyurke ran to a time of 11:04.23 to finish sixth in the 3200. Perrysburg’s Taylor Monheim covered the race in 11:30.29 for 10th place.
Perryrsburg’s Courtney Clody managed sixth place in the 1600 with a time of 5:04.40. Clay’s Haley Hess and Bowling Green’s Sasha Lanning finished eighth (5:04.85) and 14th (5:40.46), respectively.
Perrysburg’s Emily Wyrick established a personal record when she placed eighth in the 800 (2:13.70.)
Northview’s Alysha Welch finished in a three-way tie for 13th in the high jump after clearing 5 feet.
Bowling Green’s Maria Horigan and Whitmer’s Kaitlyn Barber finished tied for 13th in the pole vault after clearing 10-6.
Solon won the girls championship with 47 points, followed by Withrow, 25; Steele, 24; Mason, 21, and Olentangy Orange 20.
St. Edward topped the boys team standings with 62 points, followed by Pickerington North with 47 points; Mason, 39; Findlay, 31, and Westerville North, 31.