ECA sends a program record eight boys to the state meet in a record four events. The Lions also qualified in the 4x800 relay with Jason Channels, juniors Gavin Ford and Jacob Kittles and freshman Jay Connor. Justus Channels also qualified in the long jump and senior Nate Shuler in the high jump.
“We have 50 boys in our high school. The fact we have eight boys going to the state meet is pretty good,” Lundquist said. “They just take to coaching. They listen. If I told them to run the race backward they’d do it. What we say they go out and they execute.”
The 4x800 relay turned in a surprising season for Lundquist. Jason Channels was a late addition to the team, joining after the Lions won the Clark County championship. He said he’d try the event and turned in a 2:04 in his first 800 effort.
“We knew if we wanted to get to the state meet we had to get faster,” Lundquist said. “But we didn’t have anybody (until Channels volunteered).”
Connor, a soccer player, was recruited to run track by Lundquist. He started out as a 4x100 and 4x200 runner before adding to the 4x800 team’s success.
“At the beginning of the year we thought the 4x8 was going to be a weak event for us,” Lundquist said. “I honestly thought it was going to be an event where I put four people in and let them go run.”
In the long jump, Justus Channels set a personal best at the regional meet with 21-1.
“He’s been hovering around 20 feet all year long then he popped that one off at regional,” Lundquist said. “He’s got a ton of talent. He’s a gamer. When the big meet is here he’s going to perform. That’s the way he’s been all year.”
Shuler is a contender in the high jump often clearing 6-2 in practice, but struggling with consistency at that height in meets.
“You put the bar there and something happens mentally and it gets harder to jump that high. He can do it. It’s a matter of executing with the bar there,” Lundquist said.
The state track and field meet is being held at three different sites to meet previously encouraged coronavirus guidelines. The Division I meet is at Hilliard Darby High School, the D-II meet is at Pickerington North High School and D-III is at Westerville North High School.
“They’re a little bummed out we’re not running at Ohio State,” Lundquist said. “We were all kind of looking forward to that. At the end of the day the state meet is the state meet. They just have to go out and execute. A track is a track. … They’ve got lofty goals so we’ll see where they end up.”