They’ve long been called some of the best fans in the land, but Ohio State students might also have earned the title of some of the fastest in the land.
With many current and formers Buckeyes looking on, 41 Ohio State students showed up to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Wednesday, looking to compete for a chance to race against sophomore running back Dontre Wilson and senior wide receiver Devin Smith at halftime of OSU’s Spring Game April 12.
Once the competitors toed the line and went back in their stances, the onlookers were more than impressed.
“Believe it or not, some of the times that we have here are even faster than we had when we did this at (the University of) Florida. It’s pretty impressive,” Fernando Lovo, OSU’s football operations coordinator, said following the event. “These kids were unbelievable. It was really impressive.”
While Lovo would not reveal the names of the competitors who advanced to the next round — which is set to take place at OSU’s Student Appreciation Day April 5 — he did reveal some of the 40-yard dash times that impressed him.
“We had a 4.4 (seconds) — that was our fastest time,” Lovo said. “We also had a 4.51, 4.53, 4.52 and a 4.6, so there were some great times.”
After hearing whispers in the locker room, Wilson made his way to the field size up his future competition. While he was also impressed with what he saw on the turf, the sophomore couldn’t find anyone who would beat him.
“It’s possible,” Wilson said, who has been clocked at 4.33 seconds in a 40-yard dash since joining the Buckeyes. “But I’m not going to let that happen.”
Despite being noticed as one of the faster runners in the competition, Colwyn Headley, a fourth-year in microbiology, agreed with Wilson in his prediction.
“Dontre is probably like a world-class sprinter,” Headley said, with a big smile on his face. “I’m just a poser if anything.”
John Findley, a second-year in sports management, however, thought he had a real shot at the speedy sophomore.
“I’m going to give 110 percent,” Findley said. “Dontre is a really nice guy, but I really want to try to beat him.”
Marcus Perry, a second-year in aerospace engineering, echoed Findley’s confidence, saying he too had a legitimate chance beating Wilson in Ohio Stadium.
“I was a sprinter in high school, so I have a decent chance,” Perry said. “I just hope I get a decent start. I’m a little bit out of shape, but I’m hoping for the best.”
While he was focused on the task at hand, Findley wanted to take the time to appreciate the opportunity coach Urban Meyer had afforded them.
“Coach Meyer is an awesome coach,” Findley said. “Every day you don’t get to meet the fastest running back or wide receiver on the Buckeyes or even get to watch a practice on this field. It’s pretty awesome.”
The students who are set to run in the next round of races April 5 at OSU’s Student Appreciation Day will be notified privately in the coming days, Lovo said. He did not say whether or not their names would be made public before the next set of races.