But in the end, Norwalk’s Trey Leroux did enough to not only recover, but essentially throw to his seed.
The junior narrowly made the final nine participants in the Division I state track and field shot put championships on Saturday. His final three throws went much better, and the 6-foot-8, 335-pound Leroux finished on the podium in seventh place as an All-Ohioan at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
“I was honestly upset with what I was throwing in the prelims,” Leroux said. “But once I very luckily made the finals, I was a little more hyped up because of that. No matter what shot I was throwing, I was going to throw it further through anger.”
The day started ominously when Leroux’s shot he was using all season didn’t pass inspection. It had been dinged up from season-long usage and OHSAA officials determined it could not be used.
Forced to use a new one, Leroux opened with throws of 53-feet-9-inches, 53-3 and 52-4.5.
“I don’t know, it just wasn’t a good day for me,” he said. “With the weigh-ins and not being able to use the shot I was throwing all year, the day didn’t start in my favor.
“My first few throws weren’t the greatest, but as I got more comfortable with it things started to go better,” Leroux added.
In the finals, Leroux again had a tough start, faulting on his first of three throws. But then he threw his best of the day at 54-feet-9 to move up to sixth place. His last throw was 54-feet-5. He was passed on one of the last throws of the competition when Avon Lake’s Justin Wirtz threw a half-inch further (54-9.5) to bump Leroux down to seventh.
Leroux entered with a 55-feet-8.5 mark from the regional, which was good for the sixth-best throw among the 18 competitors entering Saturday. Even being just a tad short of that, Leroux had thrown right to his seed until being bumped by a half-inch at the end.
Even had Leroux thrown his personal best of 56-2.25, it would have been sixth place on Saturday, as the fifth-place competitor went 56-feet-3.5.
“I definitely think I could have done better,” Leroux said. “It was a very nice day weather-wise to throw. The conditions were good. I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked … it didn’t work out that way, but it’s still a good end to the track season.”
Despite it being his last track and field meet of his career, Leroux again noted the finality of the event didn’t hit him on Saturday. The three-star left tackle recruit for the Ohio State football team also spent the weekend getting a better feel for the city he will soon call home.
Leroux committed to OSU on March 11, and will also early enroll at the school in January 2020. That means football at Norwalk as a senior will be his final sport, as his last classes at NHS will be the final day before Christmas break in late December.
“It felt like home this weekend,” Leroux said. “That felt really good. I knew where I was going and what I was doing the entire time. I got to visit around the main parts of the campus and the city on Friday night, and it’s been an amazing experience.”
With his commitment, it will also be a less hectic summer for Leroux. Other than maybe going to an OSU camp, he will just be focused on the Truckers’ summer schedule of offseason workouts.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m ready to move on to football and have a somewhat slower summer.”