COLUMBUS "Can I say something else?"
I already had thanked Calvert 800 runner Olivia Smith for her post-race interview in the aftermath of her finish Saturday at the state meet in Columbus.
The senior had finished fourth in the race, after winning it in each of her sophomore and junior seasons.
Calvert’s Olivia Smith (left) runs in the 800 at the state track and field championships Saturday in?Columbus.
But Smith, as cheerful as they come, didn't want to extend the interview to talk about the race, or her two state championships, or the end of her high school career.
No, she just wanted to say thank you.
"It's been fun wearing this Calvert uniform," she said. "Thanks to my coaches, teammates and the Tiffin community for making this such an awesome experience."
That was all. As we walked to find her coach, Stewart Behm, she remarked how it was great that Calvert got a championship Saturday the one recorded by the boys 4x1 team.
With this program, it's all about team. And not just the athletes who competed Saturday, though the boys did record 22 points to finish seventh in the state.
"Contributions from top to bottom, not just from the guys who competed here today, but from the guys every day in practice who pushed those guys," Behm said. "I think that's what important."
On this day, the 4x1 and 4x2 relay squads consisting of Austin Ball, Tyler Long, Ren Boehler and Shane Boehler got the glory. Not only did they win a state title, but they set a school record in the 4x2 and finished second. They only squad better than Calvert in the 4x2 was Lima Central Catholic, which set a state meet record.
For Behm, it's always about the group, not the individuals. He stressed that, even in his word enunciation.
"To have the relay TEAM win a state championship, it kind of exemplifies what I try to coach and what I try to teach is that team unity," he said. "To have this be the culmination of all this hard work is absolutely wonderful."
That's not something that only Behm believes in.
"It's exciting. We're happy; we're happy for Calvert," Long said. "This is probably one of the most eventful years we've had out of Calvert track, and we're happy to be a part of this legendary experience."
In track, we, as writers, focus on the individual. But teamwork always is on display. We see it in relays, in preparation for a race, and in crowd support.
It's what makes this sport fun to watch.
And for the athletes, it's what makes it so rewarding.