Many people would be quite satisfied to stand on the podium at the state track and field meet and bask in the warm glow of appreciation from the huge fan base. Many runners would rejoice in earning All-Ohio honors.
Most people aren’t Brayden Chaney. While Chaney was excited and honored to experience both of those accomplishments, he isn’t about to let that be his defining moment.
A junior at West Holmes, Chaney may have entered the Div. II state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as a bit of an unknown entity, but he isn’t leaving as one.
Chaney sped around the track in the Saturday, June 3 state finals of the 400 and churned his way to a fifth-place finish and All-Ohio status.
The reason Chaney may not have been on a lot of people’s radar is because he has only been running the 400 in the latter part of this season.
A natural 200 sprinter, Chaney has learned to extend himself, and his gains in the 400 late this season will undoubtedly make him someone to watch next season when he gets a full year of training under his belt and will not come into the season as an unknown entity.
“I definitely think I surprised some people because it does feel a little bit like I came out of nowhere because I haven’t been running the 400 very long,” Chaney said. “My time wasn’t really out there, so it was fun to surprise people.”
Chaney’s 48.82 was his best run of the season as he dipped below the 49-second mark.
“Coming into a meet like this, you just have to come out, run your race the best you can and hope for the best,” Chaney said. “You’re here competing against the best athletes in the state, and you can look at all of the heat sheets you want to for times. The fact is you never know what anyone is going to run here when the pressure is on.”
Chaney said he knew he was going to have to do something special to win but felt he would have an opportunity to medal if he ran his race. He did so in the prelims, moving into the finals, and ended up chasing down a podium spot.
“I actually felt pretty good, all things considered,” Chaney said. “I was pretty nervous, so both of my times were pretty decent. This was really awesome to run here. It’s a great weekend. Our coaches, administration and all of the fans did a nice job of making it special for all of us.”
Chaney said the size of the crowd didn’t really affect his running. He noted that once you get down in the blocks, you learn to wipe away everything else and focus on the task at hand.
Chaney went on to note that the Knights’ coaching staff did a great job of preparing him for the meet and for the season of change as he transitioned into the 400.
However, not even a fifth-place finish, a medal and All-Ohio status stopped Chaney from thinking even bigger for next year. “Fifth place isn’t really my thing,” he said with a smile. “It’s cool to be here for the first time, but this is only going to make me work that much harder to do even better. I don’t want to be satisfied with this.”