The rigors of the state track and field meet can bring with it both elation and disappointment.
On Saturday, June 2 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at the Ohio State University, the Triway boys 4-by-100 relay team of senior Austin Davis, junior Dylan Eshler, and sophomores Gabe Diringer and Kyle Sturgin put their speed to the test with eight of the other top relay sprint teams in Div. II.
The Titans stormed to a fantastic third-place finish as they whipped around the track in 43.34 seconds. Warrensville Heights took first in 42.77 while the team from Dunbar grabbed silver in 43.25.
While the finish of third was a thrill, the time was off of their regional effort of 43.19 (preliminary effort). Had they run that time, they would have inched out a runner-up spot, and that left a small pang of disappointment, even as they celebrated their fine accomplishment.
“First, we are All-Ohioans, so it is hard not to be elated with that,” Eshler said of the run. “But if we ran what we did yesterday in the prelims, we move up a spot. We all know what we are capable of running, so not to do that was a little disappointing, but it’s still a great accomplishment. With three guys coming back next year, we obviously have some really big expectations already for next year.”
Eshler and Davis were two of the quartet of Titans who placed third last season at state in the 4-by-200 relay, so the Titans sprinters have found plenty of success in recent years.
For Davis, regardless of whether it was second or third, ending his career with the many greats at state is more than enough reason to celebrate.
“The goal is to always finish out the year down here in Columbus; it is what you work hard for all season long,” Davis said. “When you finally get to come here, competing and running a pretty good race is a thrill.”
Davis said the team has worked diligently not on just improving their speed, but also on perfecting their hand-offs. More than any other race, the hand-offs are crucial in the 4-by-100, and the Titans did a great job of transitioning from one runner to the next throughout the finals.
“There is always a risk involved in each hand-off, and we completed our hand-offs really well, so I was really happy about that,” Davis said.
While his other relay partners return for another year, Davis will head to Ohio Dominican University, where he will trade in his track shoes for a pair of football cleats.
As a wide receiver, he will take his turn at competing at the next level in a different sport, meaning that his final track career race resulted in an All-Ohio performance, and that is the way almost every athlete would love to go out.