Oak Harbor’s Thompson saves his best for the biggest stage

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

After tearing both hamstrings as a sophomore, Oak Harbor junior Tyler Thompson wanted to make the most of his opportunity to get back on the track.
Thompson came back with a force and accomplished one of the most impressive feats in program history and in Division II, finishing seventh in two individual events — the 100 meters (11.14 seconds) and the 200 (22.60) — and helping the 4x200 relay team that also consisted of Wyatt Augsburger, Carson Ridener and Blake Nickel finish seventh in 1:30.05.
It is a performance on par with what former Rocket Hayden Buhro did two years ago at the state tournament. “Tyler deserves everything he gets. After everything he’s been through, and what he had to go through as an athlete. I’ve seen Tyler go through some major adversity, and he made history,” said Oak Harbor coach Andy Augsburger. “Tyler is the first athlete to place in three events at state, and he deserved every bit of it. I’m so happy that he got to have those dreams realized last weekend. He worked extremely hard to get to this point. He wasn’t really happy with his times at Dayton, (but) to place in any of the open events in the state is insane — you have to be really fast. He deserved every bit of it.
“He’s a good kid in the classroom. He was Academic All-Ohio, he does the right thing,” the coach said.
During the offseason, Thompson trained in the weight room, did speed drills and competed in indoor track meets.
“I know what his goals are. I know he really wants to do this in college. I know he would like to have the opportunity to have a chance to get to do that. Track is one of those sports where you have to have the times and the distances. The times don’t lie. I hope someone sees his academics and his athletic (prowess),” said Andy Augsburger. “If somebody were to talk to me, I’d tell them that he’s somebody they should want to talk to. Him being a junior, doing what he did, it’s awesome, that gives him so much confidence moving into his senior year.”
Wyatt Augsburger nearly reached the finals in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles, finishing 11th in both races.
And the 4x400 relay of Ridener, Augsburger, Nickel and Bodee Miller was one spot from advancing to the finals, finishing ninth in 3:25.99, just 0.15 of a second behind Rogers.
The Rockets won the regional meet for the first time in program history and were back-to-back district champions.
Dan Allen helped in the hurdles and Evan Hall finished eighth with a throw of 56 feet, 1.5 inches in the shot put.
“State is tough; we have everyone coming back, except for Danny Allen and Evan Hall. We needed everyone to win the district and the regional,” said Andy Augsburger. “Evan is someone that’s extremely driven and is a very nice person. He helps out everyone in the throwing area. I’m so glad that Slippery Rock College (PA) picked him up, and I think he’ll do well. He was a master mechanic with his throwing technique. I was extremely happy to watch Evan place at state. Last year, I think he was 12th. He deserved every single bit of it, too.”
What does the future hold for the team?
“We’re going to be upperclassmen-dominant. We’ll have some sophomores and juniors, and my freshmen class was phenomenal,” said Andy Augsburger. “What I look forward to is getting better. They know what the program is like. I just want them to remember what they did and lead the team, work out in the weight room, and work on the speed drills that we do.”
Coach Augsburger acknowledged the support the team received from the community and paid his respect to Ed Jordan, a long-time assistant who passed away about a month ago.
“Ed Jordan was a big part of everyone’s lives here. Eddie J. was a big part of the track program,” Augsburger said. “The work the boosters do, and we had a really nice send off for the track team and the softball team at R.C. Waters –the community support was great. They gave the kids letters of encouragement. It’s always great to see the community rallying around the athletes.”


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