- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
Columbus -- One blossomed when it mattered most.
The other may be just getting started.
Such is the case for Hudson track and field athletes John Brandon and Gavin Gaynor.
Brandon, a senior, concluded his career with a trip to the podium at the Division I state track and field meet.
The competition concluded June 7 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Gaynor, a sophomore, also competed at the state meet.
Brandon finished eighth in the discus with a throw of 159 feet, 8 inches.
"It was a great way for John to end the season," Explorers head coach Dave Caplin said.
Gaynor placed 15th in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4 minutes, 23.22 seconds.
"It wasn't Gavin's best race, but he has all kinds of talent," Caplin said. "I'm looking forward to him having a strong season next year."
In the team standings, the Explorers finished in a four-way tie for 24th place with nine points at the Division I state meet, which concluded June 7 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Glenville won the competition with 40 points and Pickerington North (34) and Cincinnati St. Xavier (32) finished second and third, respectively. A total of 71 teams scored at least one point.
Although it wasn't his best effort of the season, Brandon was just happy to participate at the state meet for the first time.
"It feels awesome," Brandon said. "I'm glad I made it here. I never really thought I would go this far when I was a freshman and that's what makes it awesome for me.
"When I was a freshman, I would try to look around and see what the other freshmen in the state were doing. I started out a little weaker and then as the season went on, I got better and better and I started liking it more and more and I got more competitive."
Brandon came out of the Austintown Division I regional meet as the discus champion with a toss of 170-7.
Brandon also won a district title with a school-record throw of 177-5.
Brandon had hopes of winning the state title, but he came up short.
"It was kind of a rough day," he said. "It wasn't really coming out right. I guess it was good enough for eighth, but I just wasn't really on."
Although he expected to end his season and high school career on more than an eighth-place finish, he closed things out without any regrets, hanging his hat on the accumulation of the hard work he put in across four long years.
Brandon said he will continue his education at Miami University in Oxford. While he is undecided whether he will continue his throwing career at the college level, he will always have the memories he made at the state meet.
"It was a good experience being here," Brandon said. "It's great to come out and compete with a lot of the best kids in the state. It was also nice to have some teammates down here.
"I got a lot closer with a lot of my teammates because I don't see them that much during the regular track season. That was really nice."
Editor's note: Frank Aceto contributed to this report.