Freet hurdles into LHS history books

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London’s Ethan Freet ran away with the Div. II 300-meter hurdles title in the State Track & Field Championships on June 7.
 
Freet (second from left) was cheered on at the state meet by his 4×400-meter relay teammates (who were regional finalists): freshman Justin Hoosier, junior Jacob Eldridge and senior Matt Kennedy.

Ethan Freet is the first athlete in any sport in London City Schools’ history to win a state championship.

Freet’s sport is track. His event is 300-meter hurdles.

“I had the guys write down their goals for me early in the year. One of Ethan’s was not just to make it back to state but to win in the 300 hurdles,” said Head Coach Kevin Horne.

Freet realized his dream on June 7 at the Div. II State Track & Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on The Ohio State University campus.

The junior’s road to a state title began last spring, when he placed eighth in the 2007 state meet in the 300 hurdles. Freet carried that momentum with him into the 2008 season, along with a school record, which he set during the state preliminary qualifying race.

Freet notched victories throughout the regular season this spring, then faced his toughest competition at the regional meet where he placed fourth and broke the school record again with a time of 39.62.

Despite the record and qualification to state, Horne said Freet’s regional prelim and finals races were sub-par, by Freet’s own standards and those of his coaches.

“He hit some hurdles… He didn’t have the race we knew he had in him,” Horne said. “We knew that if he could put his best race together and stay nice and clean over the hurdles, he would have a shot to win it at state.”

Freet had a good feeling, too, especially after he broke the school record for a second time this season in the state prelims on June 6 with a time of 39.35.

For the finals, Freet knew what he had to do: “I knew I had to come out really fast to make up the stagger… then just go,” he said.

Exactly 38.60 seconds after the gun went off, Freet crossed the finish line with a state title, a new school record, and a place in London City Schools’ sports history books.

“It was just real exciting,” Freet said.

Having been through the state experience once, Freet said he wasn’t as intimidated the second time around by his competition or by the situation in general.

“Last year was a big confidence booster,” he said.

His coach couldn’t have been prouder of the accomplishment.

“With his work ethic and the heart he has on the track, that added up to what happened on Saturday,” Horne said.

“The community couldn’t have a better representative in a state champion with the way Ethan conducts himself on and off the track.”

Besides the 300 hurdles, Freet competed this season in the 110 hurdles, 4×200-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay. He was the team’s leader in points and shares track athlete-of-the-year honors with junior sprinter Jacob Eldridge, a regional finalist in three events.

This summer, Freet plans to participate in track camps to prepare for his senior year and to possibly catch the attention of college coaches. He hopes to earn a track scholarship.

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