COLUMBUS — A pair of Greene County-area track athletes ended their high school careers on the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium awards podium, June 3 at the Division III track and field championships. Both accomplished their goals to be there, despite setbacks in their past.
For Cedarville’s Devin Gruet, his troubles began back in eighth grade when he tore an ACL. The Indians sprinter battled back from that initial injury, only to re-injure the knee again while a freshman on the Cedarville High football team. With those injuries in mind, Gruet’s 49.43-second runner-up and subsequent All-Ohio finish in the D-III boys 400-meter run felt like a win.
“It’s been a long journey, two ACLs in all,” he said. “To battle back from that and to come to state and not just to make finals (a field composed of the top-9 sprinters), but to finish second. It means a lot to me, my God and my family.”
Gruet was ran in Columbus last year as well, but failed to get out of the preliminaries with a 14th-place finish.
“It’s been a big jump,” he said.
Yellow Springs senior hurdler Julian Roberts also failed to get out of prelims a year ago. So her fourth-place finish in the D-III 300-meter hurdles final felt just as golden. Roberts’ fourth-place time was 45.64 seconds.
“I’ve never been to a state finals before, and so to place is really amazing. … It felt a little different from last year, when I had competed in the preliminaries, but not the final. So it was a little bit nerve wracking, yeah. I felt like I was still able to execute pretty well. It’s pretty exciting,” she said, still smiling. “(Fourth) feels great! I was shooting for a top-5, so I made it happen.”
Greene County’s other Saturday state competitor — Xenia Legacy Christian junior distance runner Isaac Erlundson — was just over a second from placing eighth and also earning All-Ohio honors. The top-8 in each state final event earned all-state honors. Erlundson placed ninth in the D-III boys 1,600-meter final in 4:28.37.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.