Branch earns two awards at D-3 state track meet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

COLUMBUS — Double duty just meant double the rewards for Tyler Branch.

The Coal Grove Hornets junior thrower pulled off a rarity when he qualified for the shot put and discus events of the Division III state track and field meet Friday.

Branch didn’t leave disappointed as he finished sixth in the shot put and seventh in the discus of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

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“It rained all day and there was nowhere to sit and it just wears you down. Toward the end of the discus, I was really tired. I felt I could have done better,” Branch said.

“I wasn’t seeded very high going in. I threw terrible in the shot at the regional barely got in. I threw pretty good (Friday). I threw what I thought I could do.”

Branch not only played track this season, but he was a catcher on the baseball team. With baseball ending before the track postseason, Branch was able to devote more time to the shot put and discus.

“Before baseball was over, it felt like it was tearing on my body and wearing me down,” Branch said.

Branch threw 51-feet, one-half inch in the shot put, his second-best throw. He threw 52-5 in district.

Branch was sixth due to his second-best throw of the meet. He tied with Jason Fisher of Rockford Parkway.

Curtis Hoag of Mt. Blanchard won the shot put event with a 57-9.25 toss. Jacob Wilson of Dola Hardin was second at 56-2.25 followed by Michael Chacksfield of Cincinnati Indian Hills (53-2.75), John Kaiser of Toledo Christian (52-7.5) and Mark Bline of Mechanicsburg (51-2.25).

In the discus, Branch threw 148-5 to take seventh place. He had thrown 150-10 in the regional meet and had a personal-best toss of 154-feet in the Coal Grove Giovanni’s Pizza meet earlier this season.

“There were only two or three kids who threw both the shot put and disc. It seems to be a rarity any more,” Coal Grove coach Jay Lucas said.

“Tyler stayed focused and that helped. He just did what he had to and got the job done. He seemed to be more in-tune with his surroundings and he knew what he had to do to be successful. He knew what he had to do in this meet and not to worry about what anyone else did.”

Cory Meuleman of Columbus Grove threw 162-3 to win the event. Scott Jaffee of Columbus Academy was second at 154-6 followed by Hoag at 154-3.

Mike Cox of Berne Union was fourth (152-4) followed by Michael Jeffrey of Caldwell (150-11) and Chad Byers of Hannibal River (150-6) and Branch. Wes Stein of Norwalk St. Paul was eighth (148-4).