COLUMBUS- The wait has nearly come to an end.
Six members of the Edison track teams are making their way to Columbus today to take part in the annual walk-through prior to the Ohio State Track and Field Meet which will be held Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Five girls and one boy make up the Wildcat contingent headed to the state capital. Four of the six athletes made the trek to Columbus last year and participated in the state meet.
Edison’s Kylie Long and Oak?Glen’s Megan Collins run during a relay race April 28 at the Brooke Classic. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
The six Wildcats qualified for the state meet by finishing in the top four in their respective events at the Ohio Division II Region 7 Track Meet held last Thursday and Saturday down in Athens.
"The kids are ready to go," Edison head coach Jamie Evans said. "We had a good day at practice. We have had a good week of practice. The kids are excited.
"We are leaving early tomorrow to get up there for practice so the kids can get used to the surroundings. We have got some kids who have been there before, but they are still extremely excited about it."
The Wildcats will be competing in four events at the state meet.
Sophomore Ashley Borsch leads the way as the only two-event qualifier of the group. Borsch qualified in the 300 hurdles and as a member of the 4x100 relay team. Borsch is joined on the 4x1 team by freshman Bethanie Bube, sophomore Kylie Long and senior Nhung Tran.
Sophomore Katelyn Pollock is the fifth girl who will be making her way to Columbus. Pollock was the first Wildcat to qualify for the state meet as she finished as regional runner-up in the high jump last Thursday.
Pollock will get some practice jumps in before the team heads off to Columbus.
"We are going to head up there for the athlete walk-through and practice," Evans said. "Katelyn Pollock will take a couple of jumps early in the morning with or high jump coach who won't be able to make it to Columbus. She'll do that, and we'll just have a little practice. We are going to be doing some fun stuff. We are going to let them walk around and stuff like that."
Senior Kyle Minger is the Wildcats lone representative on the boys' side. Minger qualified in the 400.
Bube and Minger are the two team members who have not competed at the state meet. Borsch, Pollock, Long and Tran all qualified last year as member of Edison's 4x200 relay team. The foursome finished in 15th place at the state meet.
The foursome was joined in Columbus by Keely Drabick. Drabick, who graduated last year, qualified for the state meet in the high jump and in the long jump. Drabick placed sixth in the high jump, and she placed eighth in the long jump.
Though the four girls have experience competing at the state meet, Evans said he expects them to be a little nervous when they get to Columbus.
"I imagine the nerves will kick in tomorrow, especially when we get to the athlete walk-through," he said. "At the walk-through, they are going to be able to see all of the kids that are there. They are going to see the big stadium. They are going to see the grass. They are going to see the huge scoreboard. They are going to see the whole deal.
"I think they will be nervous tomorrow, but then they will kind of relax. Then, they will wake up Friday pretty nervous."
The athletes and coaches will also spend time in Columbus away from the track.
"We just try to stay as loose as we can," Evans said. "We are going to take them out to dinner and treat them to whatever they want. We might take in a movie if they want to. We will let them dictate what they want to for the weekend.
"Obviously, we want to compete as well as we can, but it is a very-special weekend for them. We want to treat it that way."
The athletes are not the only ones who will be nervous at the state meet. The coaches also get nervous on the biggest stage of them all.
"I get extremely nervous," Evans said. "I usually don't get nervous leading up to the meet, but I do get nervous the day of the meet. I get pretty nervous, but I try not to show it to the kids. They can always hear me yelling and screaming, and they know I am right there with them."
Many of the athletes competing at the state meet are Ohio State fans, and it is a real pleasure for them to be able to compete in the land of the Buckeyes.
"I'm sure they are fans," Evans said. "I'd say most of them are. It's always great for them to go there. They get to see the Horseshoe and the whole deal."
This season, the six Wildcat athletes are looking to end their season and in the case of Minger and Tran end their careers on the podium.