COLUMBUS — Three Cedarville runners. Three strong results.
Two of Cedarville’s three Division III boys state qualifiers finished on the podium, and two turned in season-best times, during Saturday’s June 1 final day of the OHSAA state track and field tournament, at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Indians senior Trey Gruet was one of the slowest qualifiers in Friday’s D-III preliminary round of the boys 300-meter hurdles event as a No. 7 seed out of nine competitors. In Saturday’s final, he’d fallen as far back as eighth in the nine-person field, only to burst into a final sprint down the main straightaway to pass his way to third with a season-best time of 39.50 seconds.
“That’s just usually how I typically run it,” Gruet explained. “I try to go as fast as I can for the first 200 (meters), then I just give it all I’ve got in the 100 meters.
“This is actually just the beginning of my track career. I’ll be running at Cedarville University, just across the street from the high school, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Gruet’s previous best time was a 40.04 clocking at regionals. He led the Ohio Heritage Conference with a regular season-best 40.58.
Moments later, Trent Koning competed in the D-III boys 800-meter run. While he finished off of the podium in 11th place, the Cedarville senior turned in a season-best time of 1:58.14. According to the OHC website, Koning’s regular-season best was a 2:04.08 time, and his regional time was a 1:59.19, so he too bettered his previous best time.
Finally, sophomore Ethan Wallis turned in a fifth-place finish in the boys D-III 3,200-meter run. In a finish similar to Koning’s, Wallis picked off three runners as they headed down the final straightaway to nab fifth.
Wallis said he’d been warned that the two-mile pace at the state meet was really fast.
“So I went out pretty fast, because I was in Lane 1. So I didn’t want to get trapped,” Wallis said. “And I was out in front of everybody and I started wondering ‘What’s goin’ on? This isn’t as fast as I’d thought.’ Going out fast like that might’ve hurt me a little bit, but it was an exciting race.
“I was hoping to get a top-5 finish, so I started kicking. And soon I realized that I was getting pretty close to the runners ahead of me, so I went after another one. I got two early on, and another right at the finish, so I was happy.”
Cedarville was the only Greene County area high school to have athletes in the D-III state meet. Despite having just three competitors, Cedarville scored 10 points to finish in a four-way tie for 20th place out of 78 scoring boys teams in Division III.