By Rob Kiser
It is a day Andy Mayse has dreamed of.
And on Saturday night, the Piqua High School junior will realize that dream when he competes in the Division I state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium.
Mayse is a double state qualifier and will run in both the 800 and 1,600 after winning the 800 at regional and taking fourth in the 1,600.
“It has been a goal since I was a freshman — in both sports (cross country and track),” Mayse said with a smile. “I am doing it. I am running at the state meet.”
And while Mayse is happy about the opportunity — he also knows there is still work to be done.
“I am sure I will be excited (running at state),” Mayse said. “But, you still have to go out and run the race.”
That is music to Piqua boys track coach Scott Kaye’s ears.
Kaye, also a longtime wrestling coach at Piqua, has experienced athletes who are just happy with being there.
Mayse is not one of those.
“You see that at the state wrestling tournament all the time,” Kaye said. “Kids who are just happy with being at state. Nothing good ever comes from that.”
While Mayse goes in with the 13th fastest time in the 800, 1:55.39; and 16th fastest time in the 1,600, 4:23.0; that is no concern to him.
“I looked at the times,” Mayse said. “But, it is really not about the times. It is about the race and where you place.”
And his coach totally agrees.
“Those times don’t mean anything,” Kaye said. “That time Andy ran at regionals in the 1,600 — there is nothing to be concerned about there.”
And Mayse strategy to both races will be pretty similar.
“Get out quick,” he said. “Ideally, I would like to run out front, but you don’t know what other kids are going to do. If someone goes out and tries to run some crazy first lap, then you just have to let them do that.”
Just another reason Kaye has a lot of confidence in Mayse.
“Andy (Mayse) is a smart kid and a smart runner,” Kaye said. “He has studied running. Andy is smart enough that is somebody goes out really fast, he is not going to do anything to put himself in the danger zone. Andy has great instincts and he has a good feel for what he can do.”
Mayse talents are limited to the 800 and 1,600. He broke the school record this year in the 3,200 and was fast enough in the 400 at the GWOC North meet to make the All-Star meet.
“Andy (Mayse) is a talented kid,” Kaye said. “It is not like he couldn’t have made it to state in the 3,200 — and he is good in the 400. But, his goal all along was to be running in June and we felt like the 800 and 1,600 were his best chances for that.”
Mayse would like nothing better than to add two more school records Saturday.
“I am only one second off in one (the 1,600) and two seconds in the other (the 800),” Mayse said. “So, it is not inconceivable that I could do it. Definitely, the 800 (which he has only run three or four times) I am still learning. I take three seconds off every time I run it, so why not do it again.”
Kaye is not surprised about Mayse’s success in the 800.
“First, he is in such good condition, he has a very quick recovery time from the 1,600,” Kaye said. “And for a distance runner like Andy, he just enjoys running the 800 — getting out and running hard and seeing what he can do.”
Kaye said there have been several keys for Mayse’s success.
“First, he has a great family who give him a lot of support,” Kaye said. “They are smart about running and so is he. I think he is bigger and stronger this year and I think running well at the regional in cross country gave him confidence. He is no longer setting any limits for himself.”
That includes Saturday.
“The ultimate goal is to win,” Mayse said. “But, getting on the podium is definitely a goal.”
And Mayse isn’t going to pick up valuable experience.
“Making it to state as a junior is a big deal, first because no one from Piqua has done it since Brandon Saine,” Kaye said. “Yes, it will be good experience, but Andy is not just getting experience, he is going over there to do something.”
And make the day he has dreamed of even more special.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.