By Rob Kiser
HUBER HEIGHTS — Piqua high jumper Ashley Ho was no suprise this year.
And discuss thrower Tristen Cox saved his best for last.
Both Piqua juniors are headed for the D-I regional meet next week at Welcome Stadium after finishing second in their events at the Wayne D-I district meet Friday night.
Ho, who stunned many people by winning district high jump last year, had no complaints about a second-place finish Wednesday.
Both Dasia Cole of Troy and Ho cleared 5-2, but Ho had a miss on her first attempt at 5-2, making Cole the winner.
“I cleared two inches more than I did last year when I finished second,” Ho said. “I think a lot more people would have been surprised this year if I didn’t make it to regionals. Last year, more people were surprised because I did.”
Ho feels more prepared for the regionals this year — and hopes to get 5-4 after coming close in her last two competitions.
“Having experienced it (regionals) last year is going to help me a lot,” Ho said. “Hopefully, I can get 5-4. It is going to be tough to get to state because there are a lot of good jumpers, but I feel more ready for it this year. My coaches told me I just missed at 5-4 on my last attempt.”
Cox was looking for his first ever regional berth and got it with a strong finish.
He had one good throw in prelims — a distance of 130-9 — that left him fourth heading into finals.
But, he had a throw of 139-7 to move up to second on the first throw in finals and followed that with a 114-3 throw on his final attempt.
“I started off slow and got stronger at the end, so it was OK,” Cox said.
It is a pattern with Cox.
“My coaches usually tell me what I am doing wrong on the first couple throws and then I correct it,” he said. “It feels good to be going to regionals.”
He said it won’t take any pressure off Friday night when he competes in the shot put.
“Not really — it is a different event and I would like to make it to regionals in both events,” Cox said. “Last year, I wasn’t even close to making it (to regionals), so it feels good.”
And Cox hopes to be up to the challenge next week,
“Of course, I would like to get 150,” he said. “I think it is going to be a different atmosphere. It is a bigger stadium with more at stake. But, I think I will be able to adapt to it.”
Mikayla Schaffner had an eighth-place finish for Piqua in the girls shot put with a put of 30-11 1-4.
Field event finals begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with running events at 6:30 p.m.
Piqua junior Andy Mayse is expected to have a strong showing in the distance events.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.