The Nordonia boys track and field team is looking for more than just a couple of 12th-place finishes this year at the Division I state meet.
These Knights have state championship aspirations.
Sterling Brabson, Jordan Nobles, Brandon Truett, Denzel Ward and Brandon Wilson traveled to Columbus last year and left with no medals.
Brabson, Truett, Wilson and Nobles finished 12th in the 800-meter relay preliminary and Ward was 12th in the long jump.
The same five athletes will make the trek to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University this weekend to compete in the state meet, and will be joined by three others to give Nordonia a group of eight state qualifiers.
Nordonia will be represented in the 800 relay, the 400 relay, the 1,600 relay, the 300 hurdles and the long jump.
“We just want to go down there and run our best,” Nordonia coach Scott Barwidi said when asked of his expectations for his Knights. “If we run our best times of the season at this point and whatever happens, happens, then we will all be OK with it. Our goal is to improve.
“With the 4x2 and the 4x1, when you beat [Cleveland] Glenville and [Austintown] Fitch in the regional you are thinking you might have a shot at it, but we know, hey, they are going to come back fighting too. We are going to try and just do our stuff.”
Nordonia won the 800 relay in 1:26.57 and the 400 relay in 41.95 seconds Friday night in the regional at Austintown. The Knights’ 1,600 relay was fourth in 3:22.18.
“This is a blessing,” said Truett, a senior who be on all three relays.
“Ever since the beginning of the season we knew we were going to be doing something, but we never expected to be going in three relays. We were trying to go for the 4x2 originally, but then we realized that with the depth we have on our team we would be able to push ourselves a lot farther than that. Now we are going down to state with three relays. It is just an unbelievable experience. It is wonderful.”
Junior Dylan Mabin joins three seniors, Brabson, Nobles and Truett, on the 800 relay. The 400 relay consists of two juniors, Wilson and Ward, and two seniors, Truett and Nobles.
“Last year we made it to state and didn’t do as well as we thought we should have,” Nobles said. “I feel like we are going back to Columbus this year with a chip on our shoulder knowing we can do a lot better and possibly be one of the fastest teams there.”
The Knights’ 1,600 relay features Mabin, senior Theo Washington, Truett and freshman Daniel Banks.
“Coming into the season, I expected one relay to get to state, but I never knew we would have this many people going to state,” Mabin said. “It is kind of crazy.”
Ward is qualified once again in the long jump and Washington is entered in the 300 hurdles.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.