Branch finishes 10th in USATF junior nationals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

Staff report

Tyler Branch, former Dawson-Bryant High School athlete and the 2007 State of Ohio Shot put champion, finished 10th in the USATF Jr. National Championships June 20-22 in Columbus at Jesse Owens Memorial Field.

The meet features the best track and field athletes between the ages of 14 and 19 from across the country.

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Branch, now an Ohio State Buckeye shot putter, qualified earlier in the season with a toss of 18.78 meters. Branch finished the season in 10th place at the event with a 17.47 throw.

“This past week has been exciting preparing for the meet,” Branch said. “It was exciting to compete in a meet of this magnitude. We got to see the best in our age group in the USA and it nice to know we finished well with them.”

“We competed with athletes from Princeton, Indiana, UK, Iowa, Penn State and Notre Dame to name a few. Next year should be a lot of fun. I hope to do well in the Big Ten meets. That would be great.”

Tyler was joined at the event by Buckeye teammates Matt Dechant, who qualified with a 19.42 toss and finished in 6th with an 18.62 throw, and Aaron Crabtree who qualified with a 17.72 and finished with a throw of 17.15.

Ohio State fielded the highest total number of athletes at the event with three runners and three throwers meeting and exceeding the mandatory qualifying times or marks. Ohio State also topped the field with the highest number of athletes competing in a single event, the shot put.

The season may be over but Branch said the work and training is not.

“Hard work in the summer produces good results in the upcoming winter and spring seasons,” Branch said.

Branch intends to compete this winter in the indoor season in the events of Shot put and weight toss and in the spring outdoor season in shot put, discus and hammer throw.