This weekend, Edison senior Bryce Ostheimer and junior Joe Eskra will be venturing down to Columbus for the Division II state track and field tournament.
Ostheimer, who played on the Charger football team that reached the state semifinal game for the second straight season and was a member of the basketball team that made it the regional tournament, will be competing in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at the Ohio State University. It will be his second time making the trip, as he placed eighth in the 300-hurdles a year ago.
This will be Ostheimer’s final chance to leave another mark on an already decorated athletic career. In the 2016-17 school year, Ostheimer was named first team All-Ohio in Div. V football and special mention honors in Div. III basketball.
Having all of that experience on the big stage will certainly play a party in Ostheimer’s performance.
“Last year, I didn’t know what I was going in to. It was a complete different setup. They are so much stricter down there. You have only a limited time to warm up, you can’t go on the track, you can’t even walk on the grass. It’s a whole different level and having that experience last year — I was nervous, I was tight. I didn’t know exactly what was going on — but going down now, I know what’s happening and like I said before, I have a whole new confidence level.”
After running a personal best 14.79 in the 110-meter hurdles and a 38.08 in the 300-meter hurdles at the regional tournament, Ostheimer knows one small mistake could be the difference between standing on the podium and returning home empty-handed.
“With the competition being the best in the state, you’re going to have be at top-performance — I’m going to have to be, Joseph is going to have to be — and just all the training that we’ve done throughout the whole year, it’s going to have to be perfect if we want to end up being on top — which is where we want to be. Just the slightest misstep in a race can cost you. Like I said before, running against the top kids in the state, you have to have a perfect race if you want to win and just that slightest misstep, you’re going to have to put in extra effort during the race to make up for that.
“Honestly, I just need to be calm and don’t make it bigger than it is. Yes it’s the state tournament, but it’s still 110 meters, it’s still 300 meters and there are hurdles. It’s been that way the whole season. Just going down and remembering the certain techniques, all the different drills I’ve done and putting it all together and staying relaxed and doing what I do will make the difference,” Ostheimer said.
Eskra, strictly a track athlete, will be making his first appearance at the state level, where he will be taking part in the pole vault.
“The experience itself will be remarkable, being able to go down there with one of my teammates. The experience and the community that has backed me — it’s jaw-dropping.”
Eskra began pole vaulting in seventh grade, but only recently has it become his focal point.
“I finally understand how the mechanics work and how it’s more about getting heights and getting it done. What I started focusing on was my speed coming down the runway, as well as the bigger poles. The higher the pole, the more of a shot I get out of it. Being able to get on the bigger poles and bringing more speed down the runway helping in getting me to higher heights. And plus my confidence. My confidence has been rising each and every time as I’ve competed and I get first and second place. It keeps boosting me up. It’s a great time.”
Eskra noticed the difference in the atmosphere as soon as the regular season ended and postseason began.
“The regular season was more like a time to fine-tune and try to get the mechanics down, where as now it’s time to get it and go. Now it’s time to perfect the art of pole vaulting and give it all I got,” he said.
Having a teammate with the experience and maturity of Ostheimer will be nothing but benefit Eskra.
“It’s really going to help with him having the experience down there, knowing what’s down there and understanding what’s going to happen. I’ve known Bryce since I was like five or six, so being able to make the trip with someone that I’ve known for so long will make it an enjoyable experience in itself,” Eskra said.
“Now it’s show time. Now is the time to perform.”