Greenon sophomore on track event she’s the favorite to win state in: ‘The 400 is basically a death mission for your body’

Greenon sophomore Delaney Benedict, setting a Division II district and school record in the 400-meter dash at Graham High School in 55.69 seconds, enters the state meet as a favorite to win the 400 state title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
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Greenon sophomore Delaney Benedict, setting a Division II district and school record in the 400-meter dash at Graham High School in 55.69 seconds, enters the state meet as a favorite to win the 400 state title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Last season when Greenon High School sophomore Delaney Benedict first tried the 400-meter run at her coaches’ request, she said “the 400 is basically a death mission for your body.”

These days, Benedict likely prefers a minute of pain – or 55 seconds in her case – compared to assistant coach Eric Brickson’s exhausting workouts.

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“Turn your body on and turn your mind off,” Benedict said of Brickson’s advice when attacking those grueling workouts. “Even though you’re in pain you have to keep your body moving.”

Benedict has done that, sprinting into the Division II state track and field championships Friday and Saturday in Columbus. Benedict enters the preliminaries with the fastest D-II time in the state at 55.69 seconds, set during the D-II district final.

She also posted the fasted qualifying time from all four regional meets this past weekend with 57.56. Washington Court House sophomore Rayana Burns (57.92) and Van Wert senior Megan Braun (57.79) joined Benedict as the only runners from regional to post sub-58 second runs in the finals.

Benedict might be considered the favorite to win the Division II state championship in the 400. The pressure, though, is on the field.

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“I love competition. I love seeing other really good girls run,” Benedict said. “I want to be like that so it makes me want to be faster. I could care less if I lose at state as long as they make me better. That’s all that matters.”

That’s also why Benedict endures those demanding workouts with Brickson, who also serves as Greenon’s cross country coach. A typical workout might consist of four 200-meter runs at a rep pace – “quick but not deadly,” as Brickson describes it – one 400 at rep pace and one 500, one 400, one 300 and one 200 all at a faster, closer to sprint pace. All with little rest in between.

“I joke with (head coach) Greg (Fenwick) that I’d hate to run for me,” Brickson said. “As a coach you need to expect a lot out of the kids to get much out of them. She has done everything I’ve asked. It’s her willingness to commit to the process early on that has reaped these rewards. She has worked extremely hard to get where she’s at right now.”

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Benedict already holds the Greenon girls track records in the 100 (12.38), 200 (25.54) and the 400 (55.69). She set the 400 mark while establishing a new district meet record, lowering the 57.49 set by Eaton’s Leslie Johnson in 2001.

At regionals last weekend she won the 400, but tweaked her hip. She finished second in the 200 by 0.01 seconds.

“That was cruising,” Brickson said of the 400. “She did something in that race which is why in the 200 she ended up getting beat. We’ve been nursing that ever since.”

Benedict isn’t running the 200 at state so she can concentrate exclusively on winning the 400. A week of workouts and rehab on her hip should have her primed for a run at the state title.

“It’s definitely harder running against yourself,” Benedict said. “I love running against girls better than me. I like to chase them and target them like, ‘I’m coming for you.’ It pushes me to go faster.”

DIVISION II area state track and field qualifiers:

BOYS

Kenton Ridge: Justin Peterman, junior, high jump.

Northwestern: Adam Riedinger, junior, discus and shot put; Korbin Spencer, sophomore, discus.

Shawnee: Cyres Cooper, senior, 4x200 relay; Robie Glass, sophomore, 4x200 relay, 200 4x400 relay, high jump; Dylan Holland, senior, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay; Matt Jarzab, senior, 4x200 relay, 4x100 relay, Jack McCrory, senior, 4x200 relay, 4x100 relay; Balin McGhee, junior, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay; Jaren Weller, junior, 4x400 relay.

GIRLS

Greenon: Delaney Benedict, sophomore, 400.

Shawnee: Miah Desantis, senior, 4x800 relay; Grace Holmes, senior, 4x800 relay, 1600; Tyra Huxley, senior, 4x800 relay; Jace Mitchem, sophomore, pole vault; Olivia Warax, sophomore; 4x800 relay, 3200.

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