By Rob Kiser
HUBER HEIGHTS — Appropriately enough on a rainy night, Piqua junior Andy Mayse was thinking nautical after an amazing performance at the D-I district track and field meet at Wayne High School.
“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can change the direction of your sails,” Mayse said.
And he was “sailing” all night, winning the 800 and 1,600 and finishing second in the 3,200 to advance to the regionals in all three events.
“My focus won the 1,600,” Mayse said. “Once I won that, the other two races were icing on the cake. The plan now is to make it to state in the 1,600 (next Friday) and run the other two and see how I can do in them.”
Piqua coach Scott Kaye was impressed by what Mayse did.
“He is running at a state level in both the 800 and 1,600 and that is pretty rare,” Kaye said. “He has worked hard and he really had a great night.”
It started with the 1,600, where Mayse was running against Tippecanoe’s Mitchell Poynter. Poynter had finished second at the Division II state cross country meet.
And it became clear early in the race it was a two-man race.
“We were out in front of everyone else,” Mayse said. “Mitchell Poynter is a great runner and I knew it would be tough to beat him.”
Mayse used some strategy throughout the race.
“I had him (Mitchell Poynter) on the outside the first two laps,” Mayse said. “I made him run a little harder than he normally does.”
Mayse won the race by a second, crossing the finish line in 4:18.51, while Poynter was clocked in 4:19.51.
“That was the race I was really focused on,” Mayse said.
Next came the 800.
“Everyone knows about Andy (Mayse) in the 1,600 and 3,200,” Kaye said. “He has had the (school) record for the 3,200. And he is within a couple seconds in the 1,600. The 800 was something we had in our pocket and it is kind of nice to be able to pull that out.”
Mayse was a clear winner in 1:58.32, while Ethan Shade of Northmont was second in 2:00.83.
“The 800 is just a really fun race,” Mayse said. “Nobody really pushed me in the 800, so I was able to conserve some energy for the 3,200.”
Mayse easily made it three trips to the regional in his final race.
While Steven Jones was impressive with a winning time of 9:20.43, Mayse was second in 10:00.52 to finish off an impressive night in the rain.
“Running in the rain doesn’t really both me,” Mayse said. “I don’t think it is really any different. The rain doesn’t affect me when I run.”
The regional meet gets underway Wednesday at Welcome Stadium with Piqua’s Tristen Cox throwing the discus and Ashley Ho competing the girls high jump.
Then, Mayse will take center stage Friday.
Mayse admits his big focus will again be on the first race of the day.
“Before my goal was getting to regionals, but now there is a bigger goal in sight,” Mayse said. “My plan is to run the 1,600 and hopefully make it to state — then run the 800 and 3,200 and see what I can do. I know the 3,200 field is really loaded.”
Nothing he does surprises his coach.
“Andy (Mayse) has worked really hard and is peaking at the right time,” Kaye said. “It is impressive to see what he is doing.”
And there is no question he is “sailing” in the right direction.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.