Wildcats fuel up for state track run

Springfield senior Jacob Yost (right) is part of Springfield’s state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
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Springfield senior Jacob Yost (right) is part of Springfield’s state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy are more than breakfast food for the Springfield High School track and field team. That combination is a big plate of fuel.

Wildcats coach Mike Davis took advantage of school being out for the summer and invited his team over last Friday for a mid-morning feast. That evening in the Division I regional at Wayne, the Wildcats qualified for five events at this weekend’s D-I state meet at Ohio State.

Senior Quincy Scott, who will compete in four events at state, did not know his coach could cook.

“To do that really took our mind off the meet,” Scott said. “I was just having fun and laughing with my friends.”

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Davis was thanking his team for a great season that included a district championship the week before. And he knows they like hanging out together.

“It’s a really, really close group this year and they’ve bought in to what I was trying to get,” said Davis, who is in his second year as coach. “I’m kind of hard on them, but they take everything I throw at them and get better and better.”

The Wildcats did not win a meet until the district. They finished third at the regional behind Wayne and Centerville.

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“That was our inside joke because the goal all year was we wanted to win the big meets, whether it was districts, do some damage at regionals and the goal now is to win state,” Davis said. “That has been our goal since indoor and that has not changed.”

Davis put the Wildcats through a more difficult schedule. His slogan: pressure busts pipes. He told his athletes to be the ones who rise, not fall, when the pressure busts through during high-stakes competition.

“I wanted to make sure that we were seeing state-level competition week in and week out,” he said. “Our kids rose to the challenge every week, and they got better and better.”

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Scott is the big star. He won the regional 100 meters, was second in the 200, third in the long jump and anchored the runner-up 400 relay. Scott’s relay teammates are Mike Brown, Austin Tyree and Jacob Yost.

“It was just getting him to believe in himself and buy into everything that we needed to do, and he did that,” Davis said. “And it paid of and carried over and became contagious to the rest of our kids.”

The relay team finished a close second to Wayne.

“We know if everybody comes together and we’re all on the same mission, everybody’s heads are right, we all do our jobs, we can shock the state of Ohio,” Scott said.

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Tyree would not have been on a preseason watch list of hurdlers to make it to state. He didn’t make it out of the district last year.

“A lot of people thought he came out of nowhere, but we had high expectations for him,” Davis said.

Tyree placed third at the regional (38.34 seconds).

“I did more conditioning offseason so that I’m not trying to condition in the season,” Tyree said. “I came in ready and prepared to run and it’s shown.”

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Tyree’s goal at the regional was to beat his PR of 38.2 and break 38 seconds. A run like that at state should put him in the top eight and earn his team points.

“I’ve always had a goal of making it to state and making some noise when I get there,” he said.

• Tecumseh sophomore Kylee Mastin passed a runner in the stretch to finish fourth at the regional and grab the last qualifying spot in the 800. Her time of 2:14.73 set a PR by over two seconds.

“I was more nervous for (regionals) just trying to get there,” she said. “I’m just going to have fun with (state) and hope for the best.”