HILLIARD — Erich Rhodeback’s odyssey culminated atop the podium Saturday afternoon at Hilliard’s Darby Stadium.
Rhodeback won a state championship in the 300 meter hurdles on the final day of the Division I state track and field tournament, crossing the finish line in 37.95 seconds.
Earlier in the afternoon Rhodeback was runner-up in the 110 hurdles. He finished in 14.39 seconds, just .03 behind Silas Kayuha of Dublin Jerome (14.36).
For his efforts, Rhodeback finished third in balloting for state meet MVP.
We’re so excited for Erich,” Mount Vernon coach Kathy Thayer said. “He had a great weekend.”
Mansfield Madison’s Isaac Brooks was third in the 300 hurdles Saturday, finishing in 38.32 seconds.
“The Ohio Cardinal Conference has a lot to be proud of,” Madison coach Andrew Saris said. “Isaac and Erich represented the conference well.”
Rhodeback and Brooks duked it out at the Ohio Cardinal Conference meet in mid-May at Ashland University’s Ferguson Field. Rhodeback won that race — along with the 110 hurdles and the long jump —en route to the OCC combined male athlete of the year award.
“That is one of the closest races I’ve had,” Rhodeback said at the time. “For me it’s about confidence. I know I can do better. I just haven’t yet.
“I struggled with that my freshman and sophomore years. I’d get to the big meet and mess up.”
Rhodeback has been on a rampage ever since the OCC meet. He won a district title in the 300 hurdles while finishing second in the 110 hurdles, the long jump and the high jump. The following week at the regional meet at Pickerington North, Rhodeback again won the 300 hurdles while finishing second in the 110s. He also placed fifth in the high jump and seventh in the long jump.
That set the stage for this weekend.
“The expectations was to win the 300 hurdles. That was our ultimate goal,” Thayer said. “I think he would have liked to do it a little more cleanly, but it’s a nerve-racking situation, competing at state.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Thayer said. “It was a great day.”