Talk about finishing in style.
The Elyria boys 4x200 relay did just that last week at the Division I state track meet. Seniors Tayvion Benton, Jayvion Benton, Aaron Frost and Sinquae Grant left their mark on Lorain County track and field history with a county-record run of 1:28:16 on Friday night in the semifinals at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Although often overshadowed by the 4x100, the 4x200 broke the 49-year-old record of 1:28.4 that was set in 1970 by Elyria and equaled by the Pioneers in 1976.
Lenore Lemar, Ike Maxwell, Tom Harris and Rick Nelson were members of the 1970 Elyria relay, while Harrison Thrist, Curtis Helm, Ricky Hoskin and Eugene Wilson made up the 1976 team.
The 4x200 was the oldest county boys track record on the books.
“It means a lot,” Tayvion Benton said. “It’s a special feeling. One thing that helped us last Friday is that we have to talk about our race before it happens. (Specifically) we talked about our last three steps (before the exchanges). We just had to run through (the exchanges) and get our stick through and made sure that our last three steps were our most powerful. I guess that’s how we did. And run hard, of course.”
The 4x200 finished with the eighth-fastest of nine qualifiers to advance to Saturday’s final where it finished ninth (1:28.76). The relay’s previous fastest mark was 1:28.55 at the Amherst regional.
“When we made it to state our coaches (Tony Brown and Jerry Chizmar), who we committed to, they told us about the importance of those last three steps and emphasized to us that we really needed to do it,” Tayvion Benton said.
The relay members had a little extra time to think about their races. A three-hour, 40-minute rain delay which started at 3:10 p.m. pushed their scheduled race time of 6:10 p.m. to almost 10 p.m.
“It’s an honor to break it,” Frost said. “We broke the 4x100 county record last year. We sometimes don’t worry about the times. We just want to run.”
Frost, Tayvion Benton, Aaron Lucky-Baker and Spencer Titus ran a 42.03 at last year’s Amherst regional to break the 4x100 mark.
“It’s an honor to break that record,” frost said of the 4x200. “When we focus more on our running, that’s when we seem to break records. I was just amazed by it. We were just thinking about running. We weren’t thinking about records. We were just thinking about breaking our own time (of 1:28.55). Stickwork is key. Speed is, too, but if you don’t have good stickwork it will catch up with you.”
The relay members aren’t finished running together, either. All four are headed to Bryant and Stratton College in Liverpool, N.Y.
“It feels great,” Jayvion Benton said of beating the record. “It wasn’t something that was planned. We didn’t know anything about a record. It was just something that happened. It gives us something to be excited about. It’s something that just happened out of the blue.”
Rain delay or no rain delay, the Pioneers just wanted to take care of business.
“We were just being patient with it,” Jayvion Benton said. “We were ready for whatever was thrown at us. We also wanted to make sure that it was a special night for Adaveon Drummer, our junior that was on our 4x100. We wanted to make it the best year for him and for us, as well.
“I feel that we’re one of the best teams to come out of this school. I think that some people thought that we were good but now they see how good we really are.”
The 4x100 record set last year broke the mark of 42.2 that was on the books since 1986.
“We’ve got the chemistry because three of us have been together for so long,” Jayvion Benton said.
Grant and Frost are cousins. Grant has known the Bentons since the seventh grade. Grant dropped track after seventh and eighth grade to focus on football and basketball but came back this spring.
“It feels good,” Grant said. “It’s really a blessing for the whole team. We really worked hard throughout the season. We were talking about stuff like this before the season even started. To make it reality is really a good blessing, to make that and achieve that.
“That’s really awesome (all four going to college together). What I say is all the glory to God.”
- High school state track and field: Elyria boys 4x100 wins semifinal, gets third seed; 4x200 qualifies to final as eighth seed
- Division I state track and field: Avon Lake's Danny Lambert and Justin Wirtz top expectations; Elyria's boys 4x200 takes fourth
- Elyria boys relay teams shake off injuries to qualify to state track meet
- High school track and field: Benton brothers lead Elyria boys to title at first Midview Shipwreck Invitational
- Boys High School Track 2019: Elyria's Benton twins focused on returning to state while also honoring memories of those they lost too soon