Armand Austin and Jordan Rispress had different vantage points when they competed for the Ohio State men's track and field team at the NCAA Division I outdoor championships.
Austin, a sophomore, was making his first appearance in the national meet while Rispress, a senior, had competed in the event as a sophomore when he attended Clemson.
Austin and Rispress joined Javon Walker and Lamar Bruton to finish 15th in the 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 7.69 seconds to earn second-team All-America honors at the meet, which was held June 11-14 at the University of Oregon. Rispress also competed in the 400 hurdles, finishing 16th (51.48) for second-team All-America status.
"It was a great experience because I had never been to the University of Oregon and everyone loves track up there so much and they are so excited about things," said Rispress, a 2009 graduate of Hilliard Darby High School. "The setup was beautiful and it was packed with a crazy crowd. I have never been to a track meet like that."
In 2011, Rispress ran on the 1,600 relay for Clemson (20th, 3:11.39) in the national meet at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I have run so many (1,600 relays) that I don't even get nervous anymore. I just concentrate on going out and giving it the best that I have," Rispress said. "Being (at the national meet) before, I wanted to make sure (my teammates) kept their heads on straight. There's a lot of pressure on you individually, especially if you're a freshman or sophomore who is there for the first time. I wanted to keep them grounded and take their minds off of the pressure."
Austin, a 2012 graduate of Thomas Worthington, said the experience was nerve-racking, but in a good way.
"I was nervous, but it was a good nervous," he said. "It was a big change for me this year. I had a hard time adjusting as a freshman and didn't travel to a lot of meets.
"I think just going to the meets was the biggest thing -- the atmosphere of being at the regional and national meets, seeing that competition and seeing that many people who are so fast. Next year, I will feel like I've seen that before and might not be as nervous."
The 1,600 relay finished third (3:07.37) in the Big Ten meet held May 16-18 at Purdue to qualify for regional. Rispress was fifth in the 400 hurdles (51.86) to advance.
In the NCAA regional May 29-31 at the University of North Florida, Rispress was eighth in the 400 hurdles (personal-best 50.86) to reach the national meet and the 1,600 relay was fifth in 3:04.15, the fifth-fastest time in program history.
"I always have loved running relays because of the team aspect of the event," Austin said. "You're there with three other guys and you're always so close. I always have been more of a team-oriented guy and I have always been able to run faster in relays than in open events."
Austin said he has learned a lot from Rispress about preparation.
"(Rispress) was a senior (in high school) when I was a freshman, so I didn't really know him until I came here," Austin said. "We have been good friends and I have learned a lot from him. I have really good bonds with all of the guys on the relay."
Rispress said coming to Ohio State from Clemson was a great move for him.
"I wasn't running as fast as I would have liked (at Clemson) and I decided to come back home," he said. "The move was good for me. I learned a lot down (at Clemson), but it was great to be back home."
Rispress has a few classes remaining to complete his degree in sociology, and he wants to continue running competitively.
"I want to keep running and training and would like to see where it goes from here," said Rispress, who will help out with hurdles and sprinters as an assistant at Darby next spring. "I'm running better than I ever have and would like to drop another half second or so. I'm not far from that, and if I get a little stronger and get more technically sound, I have a chance to do that."
Austin also runs the 200 (personal-best 22.35) and 400 (personal-best 48.35).
"(College) training is a lot different than in high school," said Austin, an economics major who was an academic all-Big Ten selection in the spring with a 3.45 GPA. "We didn't lift (weights) much in high school and now we lift all of the time. We do so much more.
"The five-day workouts are different. You don't have days off, and that was a big adjustment. But this year I knew what we needed to do and it was easier as far as workouts. I enjoyed practices a lot more and was able to get more from them."