CALEDONIA – Bailey Cole was the man in the spotlight, the runner who had to deal with the pressure.
The River Valley High School junior enjoyed that role, and as a result, he and some of his teammates had an enjoyable 2015 track season.
Cole is the son of Mike and Lisa Cole and the co-winner of the Fahey Bank’s Male Athlete of the Month award for June. He shared the honor with another track standout, Kyle Galyk of Pleasant.
Cole did the majority of his work as the anchor man on the Vikings’ 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams this spring.
In addition, he ran in the 400, 100 and 200, and he also high jumped and long jumped.
His biggest success came in the 4×200. He and fellow runners David Blanton, Greg Perez and Efren Silva, who ran all three Viking relay events in which Cole was involved, finished third in the state in the Division II Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet.
That group was timed in 1 minute, 29.46 seconds at the state. Cole ran the last leg as usual and, as usual, helped his team to a fine finish with a solid late rush.
“There are not a lot of people who can catch Bailey,” Silva said after that race.
Cole was happy the light shined on him in the anchor position.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It gave me a lot of motivation. I like to play catchup because it gives you a lot of respect.
“Everyone relies on you, and it’s the exciting part of the race.”
When Cole was looking for a sport to play when he entered the seventh grade, he decided to concentrate on track.
“I did not play baseball because it was not my thing,” he said. “I thought I was good at track, so I thought I might as well continue in it.”
He admitted the open 400 is the roughest race for him since there is so much competition in that event from district to district.
He also mentioned the 400 because he runs the 4×100 race right before the 400 in meets, and running back-to-back races can be tough.
Cole said the coaches he has had at RV have helped him along.
“They pushed me through the workouts and help me recover and train,” he said.
Another benefit was running with teammates he has known for a long time on relay squads.
“We know our chemistry, and we know how we can run,” Cole said. “We are not afraid to speak our minds and get problems fixed.”
Cole had few problems this season in compiling an impressive resume.
He really got cranking late in the season.
He and the 4×100 and 4×200 teams set meet records and he finished first in the open 400 in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference meet.
Cole then led the 4×200 team to a Central District title and a first-place finish in the regional meet.
He showed his versatility in the regular season by twice winning the long jump, the 100 and the 200 in the same meet.
During those meets, he twice went 20 feet, 4 3/4 inches in the long jump, was timed in 11.3 and 11.4 seconds in the 100, and was clocked in 23.4 seconds twice in the 200.
Cole recorded wins either individually or with relay teams in 15 regular-season events and runner-up finishes in seven events.
Cole is looking to repeat his 2015 state appearance, and more.
“My goals for next season are to go undefeated in every race. I think I can do that,” he said. “I also want to go to the state meet in all of my events.”
Kyle Goings, Marion Harding track
Noah Haynes, Elgin baseball
Alex Eldred, Ridgedale baseball
Zach Pytlarz, Pleasant baseball
Bailey Cole provides some insight into his track success in a video which can be seen at www.marionstar.com.