BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Already in his young life, Eric Board has lived plenty of big days with monumental moments. Few have been bigger than last Saturday, however.
At the Division II regional track meet at Piqua High School, Board placed second in the 1600-meter run and third in the 3200, earning him a spot in this week’s state track meet at Ohio State.
Saturday also happened to be graduation day for Board’s senior class at Maumee. So while the rest of his classmates were at the Stranahan Theater for the ceremony, Board donned his cap and gown on the podium at Piqua and received his diploma from his mother.
“Everyone was saying congratulations,” Board said. “I was doing my cool down (run) and this random lady said, ‘You made me cry.’”
Board’s mom got permission to come down onto the infield to give him the cap and gown. There was a moment when they couldn’t find his diploma, so they were going to use an event program as a stand-in, but his mom pulled out the real diploma.
“I finished the race and my mom came in from the opposite side … she gave it to me as soon as I finished; I still had my spikes on and was in shock from the race,” Board said.
“They just let me go up there with my mom and she was going to hand me my diploma and they were going to make a special announcement.”
Board admitted he was sad to miss his graduation ceremony back in Maumee, but competing in the regional meet and running his way to a state berth in two events made it worth it.
“It didn’t really set in until the day of on Saturday, when I saw everyone’s stories on Snapchat and Instagram, in their caps and gowns at the Stranahan,” he said. “It was a little sad, but the race distracted me.”
Board finished the 1600 in 4:17.31 and he timed a 9:41.03 in the 3200. While he said he goes into each event running to win, the specific place did not matter last week – a top-four finish to advance to state was his goal.
This week at state, though, his sights are set higher. He’s going for a top-four finish in the 1600 and a top-eight in the 3200, both of which would earn him a spot on the podium and an All-Ohio distinction.
“My game plan is to always win, but (at regional), first through fourth is the same, you move on to the next meet,” Board said. “State will be all about placing.
“This is my first time doubling at state. I attempted it last year, but I didn’t have enough gas for the two-mile at regional. I’m really excited to be doubling at state this year.”
Board, who will compete at Xavier University next year in track and cross country, already has an All-Ohio finish this school year at the fall’s state cross country meet.
He also competed last Thursday in the 4×800 relay, along with J.P. Wagener, Vaughn Gugger and Nick Johnstone. They finished 10th in 8:25.52.
The boys 4×200 relay finished 15th in 1:36.47. Relay members were Tim Marshall, Dylan Reichow, Lucas Polkinghorn and Alex Lewis.
Polkinghorn placed 14th in the high jump as a freshman, clearing 5 feet, 8 inches.
Alex Stambaugh came in 13th during the preliminary race of the 300 hurdles, clocking 43.92 seconds.