Rebel relay teams blaze a trail

COLUMBUS — The Crestview sprint relay teams did as much running to the top of the podium as they did on the track Saturday.

Seniors Dylan Huff and Jayce Meredith and sophomores Ethan Powell and Brandon Yanssens won Division III state titles in the 400- and 800-meter relays going away.

“I thought I was feeling good after the first one,” Powell said. “The second one felt better.”

The Rebels opened by winning the 800 relay in 1 minute, 27.27 seconds — a Division III state meet record.

“It’s a great feeling making history,” Powell said.

“It will be exciting to see it next year on the heat sheets,” Crestview coach Greg Woolman said.

The Rebels followed it up by winning the 400 relay in 42.79 seconds.

Both times are school records.

“I congratulated them and they put up a great time,” said Wellsville junior Justin Wright, the 100-meter state champion. “They know they’re fast. They showed it.”

“I didn’t want to jinx us,” Meredith said. “We weren’t trying to be cocky, we were confident.”

The Rebels had been looking for this all year, especially in the 800 relay.

“In the first meet we ran 1:31 in the rain and cold at (the Cope Invitational in Salem) and got first,” Woolman said. “After running that time at the beginning of the year, we’ve looked at every meet and facility record. We weren’t just trying to win.”

Crestview beat out Springfield for the state title. Springfield was the state runner-up in a school-record 1:28.40.

“Once they were in lane 5, I wanted to catch them and take them out of it,” said Powell, Crestview’s leadoff runner.

There was no doubt about it from the start.

“Coming off the curve, it was a whole new feeling,” Huff said. “I knew we were going to get first.”

“That was our race,” Meredith said. “We loved it all year.”

“They’re a good program,” said Springfield junior Garrett Walker, the 400-meter state champion. “They’re good competition for us. We’re good competition for them.”

The Rebels had only minutes to prepare for the 400 relay after standing on the podium to get their first gold medal.

“I wasn’t even tired from that race,” Meredith said. “I really wanted to get to the next one.”

“We kind of fed off the adrenaline of the 4×2,” Huff said.

“I had to come back down to earth and refocus,” Powell said.

They did for less than 43 seconds.

Huff had time to celebrate even with another race on his schedule.

He finished third in the Division III 200 dash in 22.10 seconds.

It almost was like a victory lap after the two relay state titles.

All you have to know is the Rebels dropped a baton in the regional preliminaries and still ran a 1:31.

“We dropped a baton and still got first,” Woolman said. We probably should not have been here. If not for a heady move by Brandon, our youngest runner.”

It may be a while for the Rebels to take off their gold medals.

“This is the greatest feeling ever,” Powell said.

“Now we can all be called state champs,” said Crestview senior Dominic Perry, a two-time state shot put champion. “It’s something we’ll remember all of our lives.”

State notes

¯ Yanssens wasn’t on the track team at the beginning of the season.

“The day before practice I told Brandon’s mom, ‘Make him run track.’ She made him run track,” Woolman said. “Every day I tell him, ‘Aren’t you glad you ran track?'”

“I wasn’t there at the start of the season,” Yanssens said. “Seeing the guys working and their potential, I wanted to be part of it.”

¯ The Rebels’ 800 relay team broke the state meet record of 1:27.86 set by Lima Central Catholic in 2014.

¯ The Rebels relay runners were sporting blond hair.

“We had it for a day, but it came out when we washed it,” Meredith said. “So we did it again.”

Who looks the best?

“We look good always,” Meredith said.