One of the events that helped mold Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Riak Reese into a Division I state champion in the 100 meters and 200 occurred several years ago when he still was new to the sport.
At the 2009 state meet, Reese remembers watching as Gahanna junior Blake Heriot won the 200 and 400 and took second in the 100, leading the Lions to the team championship.
That came at the end of Reese's first season competing in track, when he was an eighth-grader.
"I remember being in eighth grade coming to the state meet and I saw Blake Heriot," Reese said. "He just beat everybody. I said, 'I want to do that someday.' I came out my freshman year and my sophomore year and I wasn't very good, but I just worked hard in the offseason. I told people a couple years ago I was going to win the state, and I kept my word."
During the preliminary race of the 100 on June 7 at Ohio State, Reese just missed the Division I record of 10.38 seconds set by Piqua's Brandon Saine in 2006 when he ran a state-meet and Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium record 10.41. Heriot formerly set the state-meet and stadium record of 10.47 in 2009.
On June 8 in the final, Reese finished in 10.68 to edge Solon senior Khoury Crenshaw (10.75) for the title.
Reese then joined seniors K.J. Jackson, Mark Daniels and Eric Buckner on the third-place 400 relay (41.98) and won the 200 in 21.53.
The titles by Reese and the points earned in the relay helped Gahanna finish seventh (26) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (62) as 62 teams scored. St. Edward also won the title last year.
On June 7 during the first heat of the 200, Reese ran 21.13 to set a stadium record.
"The (100 final) wasn't my best time, but I was going into a head wind," Reese said. "I concentrated on staying low so that the wind didn't catch me.
"I wasn't necessarily thinking about the competition (in the 200). I was just trying to get to the line first in that one."
The 400 relay won the regional championship May 31 at Pickerington North in 42.32 and again turned in the best time among central Ohio competitors at state. Cincinnati Northwest ran a stadium-record 41.28 and Trotwood-Madison was second (41.85).
Buckner and Jackson were joined by sophomores Jordan Burns and Theo White in the league meet, and White joined Buckner, Jackson and Reese while winning the district title in 42.38 on May 25 at Hilliard Darby.
Daniels replaced White at the regional meet.
"I felt like I had one of my better starts this year (in the state final)," Jackson said.
"We broke 42 seconds, which is a really good time," Daniels said. "We would have loved to have gotten first, but we can't complain."