BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Anthony Wayne senior track athlete Aiden Green won a 100-meter state championship in the seated track and field tournament at Hillard Darby High School last weekend, even setting a state meet record.
“Speaking of senior seasons, Aiden Green wrapped up his in style,” said AW track coach Kevin O’Connor.
During the first day of competition on Friday, Green won both his preliminaries in the 100 and the 400 dashes; he set a new state meet record with a run of 16.77 in the 100 prelim.
Although Green’s time was a state meet record, it was just one-100th of a second off the all-time state record set by Carrollton senior Jacob Baker, who ran it in 16.76 on April 17 of this year.
At the state meet, however, Green beat Baker, who finished second in 17.23 at the preliminaries and then the two raced it out to a photo finish one day later in the final.
On Saturday, Green won the 100 in what O’Connor called “a super tight, photo finish.”
Green finished in 18.073 and his closest competitor was Baker in 18.078 as the AW senior won by five-1000ths of a second.
As Green and Baker were heading to the finish, the crowd of fans in Hilliard could not contain themselves, which Green says reaffirms what it is all about.
“I like the atmosphere of the crowds and hearing people cheer and just being able to play competitive sports,” Green said.
In 2019 as a sophomore, Green won his first state championship, winning the 100 in 17.69 to beat then-Elmwood freshman Jaydon Jenkins (17.86).
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Green did not get a chance to defend in 2020, but his heart was set on doing it this year, practicing an hour per day for the past four months.
“Obviously, winning my senior year was definitely a goal coming into the season,” Green said.
Later on Saturday afternoon, Green took third in the 400 and second in the 800 to finish his day with the full set of gold, silver and bronze.
In the 400, Green won his preliminary race, beating Jenkins by a split second, 1:00.4 to 1:00.75, but it was a split second that cost him in the final, too.
Jenkins won in 58.31, followed by Baker (58.85) and Green (59.91).
In the 800, Jenkins won in 2:03.4, Green followed in 2:05.29 and Baker was third in 2:06.93.
If you have noticed, the names at the top of the leader board in many events are the same.
While competition is fierce, Green says there is a familiarity and a sense of community among competitors.
“It’s really cool. I know most of the racers – I know them outside of track,” Green said. “I play hockey with a couple of them and against a couple of them, so we are pretty cool.”
Green’s state meet did not begin well, but no one expected that in his first event. On Friday, Green competed in the seated shot put.
“Although Aiden is an experienced athlete on the track, he does not have much experience with shot put,” O’Connor said.
“But he qualified with a fine throw earlier this season, and on Friday he finished fifth in the state and set a new PR by almost 2 feet.”
Green’s throw of 15 feet, 5-1/4 inches put him behind Baker (19-4-1/4), Jenkins (19-3-1/2), Caledonia River Valley senior Bryson Hummel (18-11) and Medeira sophomore Jamie Stanford (16-9-1/4).
Green plays hockey for the Northwest Ohio Arctic Wolves sled team and hopes to continue training to compete in seated events and maybe even hockey someday at the Olympics.
He said becoming a world-class athlete in seated competition means continuing to improve on his skills.
There is a lot to wheelchair racing, and Green says an athlete has to put everything he has into it.
“I think at least for me it is just hand speed, being able to get your hands on the wheels as much as possible,” Green said.
He says AW track coaches O’Connor and Craig Smith have been huge in getting him this far.
“Anthony Wayne means a lot and has helped a lot and the coaches have been great,” Green said.
O’Connor says Green has the work ethic to go far based on what he has done so far.
“Aiden truly had a remarkable career at Anthony Wayne and leaves as a two-time state champion,” he said.