DEFIANCE — A huge contingency of Golden Bears placed in the top four of their respective events and advanced to regionals out of a Division II district track meet at Defiance High School on Friday.
In the process, both the girls and boys teams made top five showings, with the boys placing fourth with 61 points and the girls tying for fifth with 49 points.
“Great night,” Bryan coach Rich Will said. “A couple things didn’t go our way, but the kids performed well. Really well. ... We’ve really got some depth and we’ve had some younger kids come in and really add something. ... People felt we lost a lot the past two or three years, but I knew we had numbers and I knew we had kids who would work hard. ... They’ve seen the success the past couple of years and they went after it.”
Bryan junior Tyler Manon captured the team’s only district title at the meet by winning the 400-meter dash in 49.96 seconds. Manon said he’s been shooting for the school record — held by former teammate and 2018 Bryan graduate John Garza (49.49) — but said he’s happy with the victory and his return to the regional meet.
“It definitely feels good to get first at this level, because everybody is fast,” Manon said. “We have a really competitive district. ... It felt really good. I was pretty close to the district record and that’s what I was really striving for. I was also striving for the school record. My real close friend John, he set it last year. ... That’s kind of what drives me.”
Manon was also part of the Bryan 4x200 relay with Drew Peters, Owen Potvin and Alex Potvin that placed third in 1:32.27.
The Bryan boys 4x100 relay of Brycen Andrews, Alex Potvin, Thibaut Woolace and Peters was fourth in 44.64 seconds.
In the distance events, Josh Taylor continued his breakout freshman campaign by placing fourth in the 1600 in 4:40.23 and third in the 3200 in 10:09.02 to advance to regionals in both events.
Taylor said he wasn’t necessarily expecting to advance to regionals at the beginning of the season, but knew he had a shot when he showed up Wednesday and looked at the heat sheets.
“I was trying to break 4:50 this year and I just worked hard each race and I dropped five seconds on average every race,” he said. “Just the better competition really pushes you throughout the race. My best time in the mile coming into this season was five flat in eighth grade and I’d never run the 3200, so that’s new to me, but I like it.”
Bryan’s Keegan Brown was second in the discus with a toss of 154 feet and 9 inches. Brown also advanced in the shot put on Wednesday by placing second with a throw of 47-10.
For the girls, Bryan junior Audrey Zimmerman continued her comeback season by placing fourth in the 1600 in 5:31.15 and third in the 3200 in 11:52.05.
Zimmerman qualified for regionals as a freshman in 2017. However, injuries derailed her 2018 campaign, so she said she’s glad to be back. She’ll also be competing in the 4x800 after her and teammates Shallyn Miley, Addison Oberlin and Haylee Wheeler placed third in 10:16.26 on Wednesday.
“I’m excited to go back,” she said. “States is going to be really hard, but you never know. Obviously I’ll try to push hard there, too, and try to get some PRs.
“And the 4x800, I’m really excited to have all those girls come down, too. Practice next week will be so fun and I’ve never had a relay go down there. ... And the whole team has been doing so good today, too, going to regionals and everything.”
Miley also advanced in the 400 by placing third in 1:01.1.
The Bryan girls 4x100 of Meggie Voigt, Alissa DeWitt, Taylor Peters and Wheeler placed fourth in 52.14 seconds to move on.
Peters was also second in the pole vault after clearing 10-4.
Bryan athletes advancing to regionals will compete at the Division II meet in Piqua next Thursday and Saturday.