As a three-sport athlete, Rhett Myers’ time spent throwing the shot and discus usually was confined to the spring.
But that didn’t stop the Columbus East senior from becoming the best thrower and one of the best track and field athletes in school history. He set school records and finished in the top five at state in both events, and as a result he is this year’s The Republic Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“He was just a real hard worker, and by being a three-sport athlete, he never truly had an offseason,” East throwing coach Jonathan Martin said of Myers. “He knew that in March and April, you’re just working on your form, and in May and early June, you’re throwing your best. He was going to put himself in a position so that he could be winning at the end.”
Although he didn’t win at the end, Myers was tantalizingly close. At the state finals, he broke his own school record with a throw of 180 feet, 2 inches in the discus, then watched as all but one thrower came up short of that mark — the next-to-last thrower in the final round.
On that throw, defending champion Cameron Tidd of Center Grove threw 181-11 to take the lead. Unable to exceed that on his final throw, Myers had to settle for a runner-up finish.
“You want to be performing your best at the end of the season,” Myers said. “With track especially, it’s pretty common because we train from March until the end of May, and not picking up a shot or discus all fall or winter, you can’t expect to be throwing your best at the beginning of the season. You just have to be patient and keep working at it.”
About an hour after the discus was completed at the state meet, Myers finished fifth in the shot put. He had broken his own school record with a 56-1 effort a week earlier in the Franklin Regional.
A couple of weeks before that, Myers swept the shot and discus to lead the Olympians to the Hoosier Hills Conference title.
“I thought it was a pretty good year,” Myers said. “Our team won quite a few of our meets, and we actually were the conference champions, so we met some of our team goals. I achieved my individual goals as well, which were to break the two school records and medal in the state meet, so I think we had about as good a year as we could have.”
Martin said Myers helped everyone else on the team get better, including fellow senior shot and discus thrower Aaron Kruchten. Kruchten missed qualifying for state in the shot by only two inches.
“You always want to surround yourself with hard workers, and that’s what Rhett Myers was,” Martin said. “He brought everybody up to his level.”
That was the case not only in track and field, but in his other sports as well. Myers was a three-year starter at tight end in football and helped East win a Class 4A state title in 2013. Last fall, he also saw action at defensive end.
The past two winters, Myers was a key reserve on the Olympians basketball team.
“He’s the type of kid that could play any sport,” Martin said. “If he played baseball, he’d have been a good baseball player. If he’d played tennis, he’d be a good tennis player. Whatever Rhett Myers put his mind to do, that’s what he would be good at.”
In the immediate future, that will be football. He leaves Friday for the Air Force Academy, where he reports June 30.
Air Force sent Myers a workout packet at the beginning of May, complete with lifts, sprint workouts and some conditioning. Because of his state track finishes, he was invited to compete in the Midwest Meet of Champions, but he chose to forego that to catch up on his obligations with the Air Force workouts.
Myers said he is a little sad that his track and field career has come to an end.
“I’ve always enjoyed all the different sports that I’ve played, so I think I’ll miss it,” Myers said.
Bryce Ables, Columbus North: The senior finished 20th at state in the 300 hurdles.
Alex Algee, Columbus North: The senior finished 22nd in the long jump and ran on the 21st-place 4×100 relay team at state.
Cortez Bandy, Columbus North: The sophomore ran on the 21st-place 4×100 relay team at state.
Mitchell Burton, Columbus North: The junior finished fifth in the long jump and ran on the 21st-place 4×100 relay team at state.
Cole Chudy, Brown County: The senior finished 17th in the 1,600 and ran on the 11th-place 4×800 relay team at state.
Jaylen Flemmons, Columbus North: The sophomore ran on the 21st-place 4×100 relay team at state.
Collin Hoskins, Brown County: The senior ran on the 11th-place 4×800 relay team at state.
Job Lawson, Brown County: The junior ran on the 11th-place 4×800 relay team at state.
Rhett Myers, Columbus East: The senior finished second at state in the discus and fifth at state in the shot put.
Steven O’Neal, Columbus East: The senior finished 25th at state in the 200 meters.
Triston Perry, Columbus North: The junior finished 23rd at state in the 110 hurdles.
Chandler Steward, Columbus North: The senior finished 16th at state in the 800.
Wyatt Wyman, Brown County: The sophomore ran on the 11th-place 4×800 relay team at state.
Brown County: Zion Bunge, Tyler Lanfair, Jackson McPheeters, Austin Russell; Columbus East: Paul Bean, Shaunak Deshmukh, Alex Galle, Jamon Hogan, Aaron Kruchten, Kolby Mitchell, T.C. O’Neal, Caleb Pettit, Isaac VanCurren, Cam Wilson; Columbus North: Elijah Brooks, Alec Embry, Grant Fehribach, Eli Fischer, Harley Huser, Brigham Kleinhenz, Robert Pflueger, Ben Rankin, Drew Schoeberl, Ahaan Singhal, Coleman Tennyson; Jennings County: Matt Cornett, Isaiah Ertel, Alex Hendrix, Ricky Hendrix, Adam Jackson, Konner Logan, Franklin Sanders, Aaron Smiley.