BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Eric Board received plenty of advice and information when weighing where he will go to college and continue his running career.
Few pieces stood out more than, “pick a school, not a program,” however. It’s one of the biggest reasons that Board recently signed a letter of intent to run cross country and track at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
“It was the hardest decision of my life,” Board said. “You want to go to every school, but you can only go to one. You really have to make that list of pros and cons and see what’s best for you.”
Board picked Xavier over The University of Toledo, University of Findlay and University of Charleston in West Virginia.
He completed his illustrious high school cross country career at Maumee last fall at the OHSAA state meet. He earned All-Ohio honors by finishing 19th in the meet in 16:14.5.
Last weekend in Geneva, Board finished seventh in the 3200-meter run in the Ohio state indoor track meet, crossing in 9:36.1.
Board took his visit to Xavier on October 25, the day after he won the Division II district individual title, spending two days on the university’s campus.
“As soon as I got there, the team and the coach were waiting for me – it was an awesome feeling,” Board said. “They didn’t mention running or anything, it was just a really good connection. I felt comfortable there.
“Even being on campus and not a part of the team, I just felt at home there.”
Xavier is a Division I school that competes in the Big East, against schools such as Georgetown, Connecticut, Butler and Villanova. While he’s excited to compete against some of the top competition in the nation, Board said the fact that Xavier is a NCAA Division I school didn’t play too much of a role in his decision.
“The great thing about running is, it’s just running. You can compete at any level and there will be high talent at any level you go,” he said. “It just happened to be that I felt at home at a Division I school, and that’s super neat and I’m stoked about it.
“I’ll be running against some of the top guys in the nation every day, trying to get better, trying to get faster. Just knowing I will have to compete against them will motivate me to get better.”
In talking with the Xavier coach, Board was told that he will be a contributor and to put in the work to get better and faster.
On his application, Board listed secondary education as his field of study, but he admitted he’s now considering something in the communications field and possibly ending up on television in broadcast journalism.
Board has one more season of outdoor track yet to go at Maumee, beginning with the Genoa Invitational on Saturday, March 26.
While the realization that his time running for Maumee is coming to an end hasn’t hit him yet, Board knows it will soon. But the lessons he’s learned during his years running for the Panthers will carry him into a successful college career.
“Success is not given, success is earned, and that’s really stuck with me since freshman year, even eighth grade,” Board said. “It’s been really cool to represent Maumee the last four years by putting in hard work and loving what I do. That’s prepared me for the next four years at Xavier.”