By Andy Reed

MURFREESBORO — A day after Mt. Juliet Christian’s Darius Hylick won the state shot put and discus in the Division II-A boys’ state meet, Wilson Central’s Zoe Vlk matched him in the Division I-Large meet at Middle Tennessee State’s Dean A. Hayes Track Stadium.

Vlk’s 44-9 throw was five inches better than Jefferson County’s Jaycee Schroeder. The junior took the discus a short time later with a throw of 128-10.

Her shot put performance wasn’t necessarily her best, but it was good enough on this day. And she was consistent as her worst throw in the final was 41-8.25.

“She was over 44 feet three times,” said Wilson Central assistant coach Braidy Miller, who coaches those events under head coach Jonathan Booher. “She had a couple slip out of her hands. She got a little bit sweaty. Overall, you couldn’t ask for a better series.”

“The best thing to do is push it away and don’t think,” Vlk said of a bad throw. “Thinking is your worst enemy.”

Vlk, now a junior, has been doing shot put and discus since her freshman year. She said they are similar sports.

“When you break it down to the basics, then, yes, they are very similar, but then it goes into more strength in shot put and more finesse for discus.”

Despite winning state in the shot put, she much prefers discus.

“I hate shot put,” Vlk said. “I really like discus more than shot put.”

Thursday’s championships were predicted by Miller when she first tried out as a freshman.

“The first day of tryouts, I told her mom she will place in state in one or both events,” Miller said. “She is naturally athletic in the sense she has a good finish with her arm. She is really strong in the weight room. In the last year and a half or so she has become very dedicated. She works very hard, both in the classroom and in the field and in the weight room. In face, I’ll have to have her back off because she will do too much. It’s fun to work with someone like that.

“She is very intelligent. She takes coaching well. And she’s fun to be around – that’s every day.

“She has a volleyball background, and she kind of outgrew that. She came to me with an athletic skill set that a lot of young girls who want to throw don’t have. She’s strong, she’s put together real well and the weight room is her favorite place to be.”

Vlk will compete in both events in the Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. next month. But before that, she will compete in the Tennessee Meet of Champions at Brentwood High School on May 31-June 1 in which the top 24 marks throughout the state in all events in all divisions and classifications will vie for best in state.

It was the start of a busy day for Wilson County’s three large-school track teams at MTSU. While Vlk was winning the shot put, Lebanon’s Nathanael Green finished fourth in the boys’ triple jump with a distance of 43-4.5

It was especially busy later in the afternoon when the running events got under way.

On the boys’ side, Lebanon’s Tyson Kelley came closest to taking gold when he finished second in the 400 meters in :51.05, .45 second behind winner Jeb Martin of Franklin County. His Blue Devil teammate, Spencer Lowery, was seventh in his heat in the 300 hurdles in :40.13. Aiden Britt finished fourth in the 3,200 meters in 9:30.07.

Mt. Juliet’s Colby Martin was eighth in the 100 meters in :11:35 and also eighth in the 200 in :22.31. The Golden Bears were third in the 4-by-100 relay in :42.1.

On the girls’ side, Mt. Juliet freshman Meghan Grimes, competing against Vlk in the discus, was fifth with a throw of 117-9. Jordan Stromquist was sixth in the 100 meters in :12.34 and seventh in the 200 meters in :25.89. The Lady Bears’ 4-by-100 relay team was seventh in :49.22 while the 4-by-800 was 12th in 10:18.55.

Wilson Central’s Morgan Bailey was 14th in the 100 hurdles in :17.2.

MJCA’s Hylick wins two state titles, Collier one

MURFREESBORO — Mt. Juliet Christian had one TSSAA state championship in its history coming into last Wednesday’s Division II-A state track and field meet at Dean A. Hayes Stadium at Middle Tennessee State.

Darius Hylick tripled that number by lunchtime, and teammate Logan Collier made it four later in the afternoon.

The Saint senior took the state shot put championship with a throw of 49-11.5. A couple of hours later, he added the discus gold medal with a throw of 136-8 despite fouling on two of his attempts.

“I started out kind of slow, my first throws,” said Hylick, who hit the winner on the third of four tries. “And then, it just came upon me as I threw.”

Collier won the 200-meter run in :22.37 and was part of the 4-by-100 relay team which finished fifth in :44.86.

Hylick, who ran for over 4,700 yards in football, has been doing the shot put since seventh-grade. Before receiving his championship medal, and before adding another title in the discus, what he had accomplished in matching MJCA’s girls’ doubles tennis duo of Victoria Reed and Crystal Harwell in their state title season of 2005 hadn’t yet hit.

“It doesn’t seem real yet,” said Hylick, one of the most decorated athletes in MJCA’s history. “It’s been very special. It’s unreal. It’s just a great school.”

Collier, Hylick’s fellow football teammate who will join him on Lindsey Wilson College’s team this fall, finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 20-3.25. He was also fourth in the triple jump early Wednesday afternoon with a distance of 40-1.25. He also finished fifth in the state decathlon the week before at Nashville’s Franklin Road Academy.