As I see my 2-year-old daughter, Alexa, sitting in a mesh bin, tossing out mini basketballs, baseballs and other squishy items with her sand shovel pretending she's flipping pancakes, I am reminded to throw out all I've experienced at the state track and field meet.
This year's meet is going to be something special and a first for Trumbull County.
The meet, which begins at 9:30 a.m. today with the Division III girls 3,200-meter relay final at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus at The Ohio State University, features many possibilities. The meet ends Saturday with the Division I running finals.
There are two area boys teams with strong possibilities of winning team state titles - Lakeview (Division II) and Warren G. Harding (Division I). It would be the first time two teams from Trumbull County have won state titles in the same year. However, Class AA teams - LaBrae and John F. Kennedy - each had 36 points to tie for runner-up in 1984.
Harding has two hurdlers, a sprinter in the 100 and 200 and a 400 and 800 relay teams that could all finish in the top three. That should equal a state title.
Lakeview's Ben Moody paces the Bulldogs. He has a shot of winning three state titles in the 110 hurdles, 100 and as a part of the 400 relay. Add two distance runners in Tyler Ames and Heath Harris to the mix and Lakeview should hoist up the state trophy Saturday. It'll be the first for the school since 1970.
Other Trumbull County boys teams to win state were: Maplewood (2000), McDonald (1999), Braceville (1957 and '62) and LaBrae (1995). Runner-ups are: Braceville (1958), Maplewood (2002), LaBrae (1973 and '84), Harding (1919, '20, '67) and John F. Kennedy (1984).
On the girls side, Girard won state in 1980 and Liberty took the crown in 1978. Girard was runner-up in 2005.
Interestingly enough, Harding finished second to Cleveland Glenville in 1967 - one of the teams looking to win the Division I title this year.
Kennedy, under longtime coach Tony Buttar, won six regional boys titles under his tenure - the most by any area team. The Eagles always came close to winning state over the years. It shows how many things have to go right for teams to win a team title. It's almost like a sprinting event - very little room for error.
Harding and Lakeview experienced that perfection as both won regional titles last week, something both teams may duplicate this weekend.
Here are some predictions of possible state champions in individual events: