DARKE COUNTY — It was another strong season for Darke County track and field athletes with 12 of them advancing to the state meet.
While many had incredible years, two have been selected as The Daily Advocate’s MVPs for the 2014 season.
Greenville’s Aaron Balsbaugh has been named The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Darke County boys track and field MVP, Versailles’ Camille Watren has been named The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Darke County girls track and field MVP.
Balsbaugh was the only Darke County boy to qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet this season.
He ran in the Division I 800-meter run and placed 12th in the state with a time of 1:55.37.
Balsbaugh holds the Greenville school record in the 800 meters as he finished the race at regionals in 1:53.82.
The Greenville junior had the best time among all Darke County athletes this year in the 800 meters. He also was first in the 400 meters, second in the 1,600 meters, second in the high jump and third in the 3,200 meters.
““When the chips are down, my money’s on Aaron because he seems to come through,” Greenville track and field coach Bill Plessinger said. “Whatever the race is, he seems to run the race.”
If given the chance, Balsbaugh also could be among the best on his team in the 100 meters and 200 meters, Plessinger said. The biggest challenge each meet was deciding which events Balsbaugh would compete in because there were so many possibilities.
“He’s our top kid in every event,” Plessinger said. “It’s tough because he could probably do about seven, eight events.”
Watren made it to state in three events this season and earned a spot in the podium in each of them. Her participation in three events led all Darke County track and field athletes for the most at this year’s state meet, a feat that was matched by teammate Haley Winner.
In the girls 4x400-meter relay, Watren helped the Lady Tigers finish second in Division II at the state meet. Along with Haley Winner, Taylor Winner and Amanda Winner, they broke the school record in the event with a time of 3:57.11.
Watren also was part of the Versailles 4x200 relay, which finished third in the Division II state meet. Along with Lauren Bohman, Amanda Winner and Haley Winner, they ran the event in 1:43.33, which was just 0.08 seconds off the school record.
Watren also teamed up with Bohman, Valerie Francis and Haley Winner in the 4x100 relay and finished eighth in Division II.
Watren played a big role in helping Versailles get on the podium in all three relays, Versailles girls track and field coach Mike Goubeaux said.
“We lost some good athletes last here, and she filled that role that we were missing,” he said. “As a freshman, that sure isn’t easy to do.”
Watren, who is very versatile and also very poised, was a big difference maker for the Versailles track and field team, coach Goubeaux said. She was phenomenal this season as just a freshman.
“She just came in with a good sense of who she was,” he said. “And her nerves, she was able to keep them under control.”
Watren also placed in the 200 meters at the regional meet, finishing fifth with a time of 25.62. She was just 0.15 seconds from qualifying for state in that event.
The Versailles freshman could have competed in more individual events in the postseason and done very well, Goubeaux said, but she filled the role of a team player and helped the Lady Tigers’ relays. She is a very humble person, he said.
“She knows her place on the team,” Goubeaux said. “She knows she has to look up to the upperclassmen and respect them.”
If Watren remains healthy, committed and enthusiastic, she could have a great track and field career for Versailles the next three years, Goubeaux said.
“She really enjoys the sport, she excels in it, and I think she’s committed to it,” he said.