By MICHAEL BURWELL
COLUMBUS — Bluffton’s Trevor Bassitt finally met his match as the defending state champion in the 110 high hurdles.
But the Pirates’ senior bounced back in a big way in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
Bassitt bolted to a personal-record 37.94 seconds to win a state title in the 300 hurdles and finished second in the 110 hurdles in 14.26 to finish his high school career at Saturday’s OHSAA Division III state track and field championships at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
“I was sad about it for a little bit, then I was like ‘I got to move on, have one last race in my high school career,'” Bassitt said of finishing second in the 110 hurdles to Smithville’s Cole Smith (14.20). “So I have to give it all I got and if you saw the facial expressions I was giving, it was all I had.”
Bassitt’s 37.94 not only beat his previous best mark of 38.66, it moved him to the top of The Courier’s all-time track and field honor roll as he passed Columbus Grove’s Heath Nickles, who had a 38.50 in 2008.
The final hurdle was the deciding factor in the race.
Bassitt was in second place right behind Grandview Heights’ Jordan Beight entering the last hurdle. But Beight tripped over the hurdle and stumbled to the finish line while Bassitt cleared the hurdle without clipping it to get the state title.
“You never want to see someone fall, which I’ve talked to him. He’s a great kid,” Bassitt said. “I still think that I was going to be smoother over the last hurdle judging from it, so I thought I got him in the end. But that definitely helped, but you never want to see anyone fall or have anything bad happen to them during the race.”
Immediately after crossing the finish line, Bassitt went to console Beight, who finished second in 38.36.
“I turned around, I saw he was on the ground at the finish line,” Bassitt said. “I went up to him, I wanted to make sure he was OK, and I told him ‘Hey, I got second in the 110s, I was right where you were. You can be sad for a little bit but you got to move on.’ I really just wanted to make sure he was OK.”
Bassitt nearly notched a personal record in the 110 hurdles (ran a wind-aided 14.20 at the Lima Bath Ehresman Invitational on April 7).
Smith, who had the top preliminary time (14.55), held on at the end to narrowly deny a second 110 hurdles title for Bassitt.
“Right out of the blocks, Cole Smith ran an amazing race from start to finish and I knew that I would be able to catch up later,” Bassitt said. “I wasn’t able to catch up as much as I wanted to and he just edged me out at the end “¦ Obviously, I wanted to win but he’s an amazing hurdler, great athlete so if I would lose, I’d rather have it be to him.”
At last year’s Tiffin Regional meet, Bassitt failed to qualify for the 300 hurdles finals after he fell into a hurdle in the final 100 meters.
Coming back to win a state title in the event a year later, though, was rewarding.
“To be able to go from that a year ago to come out training hard and to win the 300s with what I think’s a pretty fast time, it’s really amazing,” Bassitt said. “It’s truly a blessing.”
Bassitt, who will run at Ashland University next season, scored 18 of Bluffton’s 21 points as he led the Pirates to a fourth-place finish in the Division III boys final team standings.
It was Bluffton’s 15th boys top-10 finish at state in its long and storied track history.
Bassitt’s career, meanwhile, featured three trips to the state tournament, which included qualifying for state in the 110 hurdles and high jump his sophomore year. His second-place finish in the 110 hurdles was the only hurdles race he didn’t win this season.
“Looking back on it, a few kids make it to state through their whole careers and to be able to say I made it three years in a row, won two state championships and got state runner-up in another event, it’s incredible,” Bassitt said. “I’ve ran for such a great community, I’ve ran against such great guys.
“The support Bluffton gives, there’s a ton of people here in Columbus, plenty of people taking times out of their day. It’s great. I’m going to miss Bluffton, but it’s on to the next level.”
Send an E-mail to Mike Burwell
State Track: Bluffton’s Bassitt bounces back in 300 hurdles
By MICHAEL BURWELL