Blanchester graduate Regan Ostermeier pursed her lips, then let out a big sigh of relief.
She knew she’d made it.
When her penultimate attempt last week at the Region 8 Track & Field Championship shot put competition hit gravel, Ostermeier knew it was good enough to punch her ticket to Columbus and the OHSAA Division II Track & Field Championship.
“I knew it was my best throw,” she said of her 38-0 effort that put her comfortably in third place which was good enough to qualify her for state.
Up to that point in time, though, Ostermeier had not been able to better 37-0 in the regional meet. Even though she was fourth going into the final flight, Ostermeier was unable to breath easy with so many good shot putters in contention.
“Oh, gosh, I knew I was sitting in fourth place and I knew it was now or never,” she said. “I missed it (state) by six inches last year and I thought, ‘Regan, it’s your year. You have to make it. You can do this.’ It’s kinda like a head game when you get out there. It was a matter of who was going to perform the best.”
And with some help, Ostermeier was good enough.
“I’m all self taught,” she admitted. “I just do YouTube (videos) and that’s about it.”
Which is good enough most of the year. To get to Columbus and the shot put ring in the shadows of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, it takes a little extra.
“Thanks to (Eileen Grosse) the Wilmington High School track coach,” Ostermeier said. “She actually told me I was landing left-right with my feet and it should have been right-left.”
Grosse is a member of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame, having coached numerous league, district, regional and state champions during her legendary WHS career.
Like a dancer practicing right before going on stage, Ostermeier went off to the side and worked with Grosse to fine-tune her steps.
“With shot put, moving fast through the ring, that’s what you want,” said Ostermeier.
With Grosse working on the lower body, Ostermeier’s brother Evan took his turn at working on his sister’s mind.
“My brother … he calms me down but he hypes me up,” Ostermeier said. “I knew I needed to hype myself up, get my heart rate going. He does that.
“I focused on that right-left movement. Sure enough, my coach got a video of it and I landed right-left and it just clicked right there with a 38.”
Making state has been a goal for the now BHS graduate. She’s dominated regular season meets since she was a freshman but always managed to come up short of making the trip north.
“My freshman year I came in to high school with goals,” she said. “I missed finals by quarter of an inch. I made it to championship (flight at regional) my sophomore year but didn’t make it to the podium. My junior year I said ‘OK, Regan, you have to make it to podium’ and I did. I got fifth place.”
Ostermeier plans to attend Ohio State to major in agri-business and management. Wilmington College also was a possibility for Ostermeier’s collegiate future. At WC she would have been a member of the track and field team. At OSU it’s unlikely now but she said she might walk-on the track team.
For Saturday, though, Ostermeier will enjoy her time in Columbus representing the blue and white of Blanchester. She’ll will be the first thrower when competition begins 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Division II state shot put.
“I was like ‘You deserve this; you’ve worked so hard all year. It was my time to do it’,” she said.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports