No boys team from Eastwood High School has ever won a state championship, and track coach Gary White isn't about to dance around the fact that his Eagles have that opportunity this weekend.
"I've been honest with the kids," White said. "We didn't talk about it all year until Monday. That's when we laid it all out. It was in the back of their minds. We showed them every event and what needs to be done. If they do those things, it's a possibility and that's all we can ask for.
"If we can perform, if things go well, we should be able to score enough points to be the champions. It's nice to talk about, but the reality will have to wait until Saturday."
The Eagles will compete in eight events during Friday and Saturday's Division II state meet at Ohio State University's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Eastwood took second in the state last season.
Last Thursday and Saturday at Lexington, Eastwood scored 77 points to capture the team title at the regional meet. The top four finishers in each event qualified for the state meet.
Eastwood senior Crosby Schemenauer, who cleared a school-record 15 feet, 4 inches to win the regional pole vault title, had the top vault heading to Columbus. Schemenauer also took second at regionals in the 110-meter hurdles (15.0).
"His goal right now is to be in the top four in his (hurdles) heat to try to make it to Saturday," White said. "He's got the fifth-fastest time in his heat, but it's really close. In the vault, another kid in our region also went 15-4, but Crosby is a bit more consistent than this kid and that gives him a leg up."
Junior Justin Welch, the defending state discus champion, repeated as regional champion with a throw of 194-2. He threw 198-6 earlier this season to set a school record. Welch also advanced in the shot put, taking third with a throw of 55-9 3/4.
"He's been pretty consistent this year," White said. "He has not thrown real well in the discus and is capable of throwing two to three more feet. He's capable of throwing 58 feet in the shot. He's thrown 61 feet this year, so it's in him. I just hope it comes out on Friday."
The Eagles' 4x100 relay team of sophomore Taylor Depew, seniors Josh Hoodlebrink and Matt Schlumbohm and junior Cody Seifert won its regional event in 43.03 and is rated second going into the state meet.
"You can't be quite as confident with relays, but they've been real solid," White said. "We'd be disappointed if we weren't in the top four."
Eastwood's alternate runners for that relay are Zach Conkle and Zach Lawniczak.
Seifert is also competing at state in the 100 dash following his third-place finish (11.15) at regionals.
"That was not a real good race for him. He knew that," White said. "He's kind of our biggest question mark in that I think he's fast enough to be in the top three or four. He's run as fast as the fastest guys. If he can put that race together, we could see some really special things out of him."
Josh Hoodlebrink finished second in the long jump with a season-best leap of 22-9. Has the second-best long jump heading to Columbus.
"He jumped 23-3 last year," White said, "and we hope he gets up to the mid-23s this year and puts pressure on the leader."
The Eagles' 4x400 relay team of seniors Jason Faykosh, Lucas Hoodlebrink, Josh Beaudoin and Josh Hoodlebrink took third in 3:23.43 at regionals. That relay has one of the top six qualifying times at state. Depew and Conkle are the alternates.
"On Friday they will run all 16 teams and take the top eight times to the finals on Saturday," White said. "I'd be shocked and disappointed if we weren't in the top eight times. We need to get to Saturday and just do the best we can."
Genoa senior Marcus Vicars and the Comets' girls 4x800 relay team will also compete at the Division II state meet.
Vicars placed second at regionals in the shot put, with a throw of 58-3 1/4. The 4x800 relay team of sophomores Angel Kuron and Tiffany Wright, freshman Nicole Kraemer and senior Alyssa Wolff finished fourth in 9:51.48.
Oak Harbor's 4x100 relay team of sophomores Kelly Bryant and Kayla Diefenthaler, freshman Morgan Turnow and senior Sam Scott also advanced. The relay placed third at Lexington in 50.53.