By MICHAEL BURWELL
COLUMBUS — Mason Warnimont doesn’t like to lose.
So it’s a good thing for the Cory-Rawson senior that he didn’t lose at all in the sprints this season.
Warnimont capped his career by defending his 200-meter dash state title in a personal-record 21.75 seconds, and he also picked up a state title in the 100 in 10.91 Saturday at the OHSAA Division III state track and field championships at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
“I set high goals for myself and I like to hit those goals and put in as much work as it takes to hit them,” Warnimont said.
“I’m afraid to lose, I don’t like losing, especially after previous years of winning so much. So coming down here, a little nerve-wracking with the competition because I saw some times coming in, but you just got to keep a clear head.”
Warnimont, who won each of his 100 and 200 races this season, made history as he became the first boys athlete in The Courier’s coverage area to win multiple state 200 titles.
“A lot of pressure,” Warnimont said of defending his 200 title. “Going into it, you just got to look at it as a new year, try not to look back at the past.
“To come in as one of the top dogs is big, you just got to try to keep everybody behind you and remember that there’s guys at state just like you doing as good as you.”
He was also the first area boys athlete to sweep the sprints since 2003 when Old Fort’s Brian Ryman won the Division III 100 and 200 titles.
Although he felt like he peaked two weeks ago at the Findlay District meet, Warnimont saved his best for last.
Warnimont, who will run collegiately for Ashland University, got off to an excellent start out of the blocks in the 200 to take the early lead. Warnimont, along with runner-up Jared McCullough of Independence (finished in 21.97), were the only runners to break 22 seconds.
“That was probably my best start,” Warnimont said. “I was told to hit it hard in the first 50 meters coming out of the blocks and get ahead of everybody and stay ahead. So that’s exactly what I did.”
His time in the 200 beat his previous best of 21.85 at districts. In The Courier’s all-time track honor roll, Warnimont moved to sixth as he passed Findlay’s Tyler Brown, who had a 21.86 in 2013.
“I thought I peaked at districts a little too early hitting that (21.85),” Warnimont said. “But I just kept working during the week and preparing for state, I got into state and I just peaked at the right time hitting that 21.75 and there’s no better feeling than defending my title.”
Warnimont was the only athlete to break 11 seconds in both the 100 preliminary races and the final. He missed his personal-record of 10.82 set at districts, but still made it to the top of the podium in Columbus.
Overall, Warnimont finished his career with three state titles in five top-five finishes at the state meet, five regional titles, seven district titles and 12 Blanchard Valley Conference titles as an individual or part of a relay team.
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By MICHAEL BURWELL