HOWARD — It has been a road of high hopes and bitter setbacks in past few years for the East Knox track and field team.
That makes this year’s berth in the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships by the Bulldogs’ 4x200 relay team an experience to be savored. For the team of Colton Rebel, Levi Myers, Dylan Wears and Alex Casebolt there’s little time for anything else but looking forward.
“We’ve talked about the past and how we would like to rectify that,” said East Knox coach Jason Ewalt.
That past has been filled with heartbreak and regret. In the past two years, two dropped batons and one foot-fault have cost the Bulldogs three slots at state. On Saturday, all went right as the team finished third at the regional final in Lexington, meaning the boys will finally get their chance to shine at the state semifinal race on Friday.
Now, the task is at hand.
“Basically, our best time in the 4x200 was a 1:34.7,” said Ewalt. “Then we got to tournament time and we cut it to a 1:33-flat. That would set our school record.”
All that is left is the continuing perfection of their technique.
“It does take a lot of teamwork,” said Ewalt. “A lot of it is in the handoffs and those guys have been working pretty hard to get to that level that they need to be. They know that the 16 teams at the state will be top-calibur, so they will have to be on top of their game to try to make it to Saturday.”
Incredibly, Ewalt didn’t fully settle on this relay quartet until just before districts. He chose these four with one thing in mind — making it to state.
“I kind of put the best four that I could together,” said Ewalt. “They are not the same four that have really been running together all year.”
Rebel was the final piece of the puzzle for Ewalt.
“Rebel is the newbie,” said Ewalt. “Rebel usually ran in the 4x100 and he had three other events but we switched him to the 4x200. Once we got to the district level, we dropped one of his events, which was the open 400.”
This week, Ewalt has tapered practice and focused on polishing skills.