In his final track meet of his prep career, Freddie Lenix of Glenville High School earned two first-place finishes, along with a second-place and a fourth-place finish at the state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this past weekend. For Lenix, however, his stellar performance at the state meet was somewhat of an ordinary finish to an extraordinary track career.
"My overall day was good. I started off bumpy but I finished out with a bang," said Lenix who was a member of the 4X200 relay team that broke the record that the relay team he was on last year set.
"In the 100 I was real disappointed. There was a false start in the first one and I gave my all. And then in the second start the box slipped back a little but I'm not going to use that as an excuse, I still ran a good race. In the 200 I ran my race, it just came down to who wanted it more in the footrace. That was a good race. In the 4X200 my mind set was just to get it to my teammate. We all had the same mind set to open it up and take the record. And in the 4X400, we just came together because we made some last minute adjustments and we pulled out with it."
With a time of 1:25.09 Glenville's 4X200 relay team broke the record that their 4X200 relay team set last year at 1:25.11. Lenix and Andre Evans (far left) were on both squads.
Lenix, known more so for his football prowess, has also been such an integral part of the Tarblooder track team who won their third consecutive Division I track championship and 13th team track title in the school's history on Saturday. The All-State linebacker and Ohio State football recruit has been a main cog of the school's track team since he turned in lightning fast times in the 100 meters as a freshman.
According to one Glenville assistant track/football coach, Lenix trained harder than he ever had in his senior campaign in order to be at the top of his game in both sports.
"I trained real hard this year. In the past years I really slacked off," said Lenix who admitted that he relied more on his natural talent early in his career. "But I knew it was my senior year and I had to work hard and be the best. I had to get bigger, stronger and faster, and that's what I did. And it showed. It showed on the track and it showed on the football field. And I was real proud of myself this year."
And for his effort Lenix was rewarded with a scholarship offer from Ohio State to continue his football career at the next level. It seemed to take forever but Lenix finally got that much-coveted offer from OSU shortly after his football season ended in a semifinal loss to Canton McKinley. He would be able to stay close to his son Fred Lenix Jr. and play football for the Buckeyes.
But the plan changed late in the school year when Lenix learned that he wouldn't be able to get through admissions to enroll at Ohio State in the fall. He still needed some work to do academically and his football scholarship would be on hold until January.
The 4X400 relay team that Lenix was on also took first place in a time of 3:16.58.
"When they first told me it hit me real hard. I was really disappointed," Lenix said. "But if I want to stay close and take care of my son like I want to then I'll go through with this. So I have the right mind set going into this and I'm going to pull out with it."
As it stands now, Lenix will enroll at Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College in the summer and remain there through the fall.
"My son is what's really important to me and I need to keep my focus through the summer with this thing that I'm going through with Ohio State," he said. "I just have to keep him on my mind knowing that if I take care of all of this summer school stuff at Tri-C then I can get down here and get on the field so that I can take care of him even better."
Lenix will grayshirt in the fall and enroll in the winter quarter with five years still remaining to play four. Of course his academic situation will have to get to where it needs to be in the interim.
"I'm going to go to school from July to January at Tri-C and I'll start my scholarship at O-State in January," Lenix said. "I'll have a Monday class, a Wednesday class and a Friday class and they're all transferable to O-State."
But it will be a fall without football for Lenix.
"It's going to be real disappointing because football is me," he said. "It's going to be hard just watching it knowing that I can't get on the field. And I can train for it but just knowing that I can't train with my team is going to hurt me. But I'm still going to cheer and in my heart I'm still a Buckeye."
If things go well, Lenix will be back on the field with his teammates at Ohio State for spring football.
"I'm going to work hard and hopefully when I come back down I'll go through the spring camp hard, real hard, and hopefully I'll get on the field the next year," he said. "I got my mind set that I'm going to work hard and pull this out. I'm going to work hard, not only for me but for my son."
The excitement and his focus is back again. It left him for a short while when he first found out the news.
"The excitement left me for a minute because it hurt so bad," Lenix said. "But now that I have my mind set on it, the excitement comes back more and more. So when the time comes I'll just have to show everyone what I was training all summer and fall for."
And he'd still love the chance to play linebacker if that scenario ever came to fruition at Ohio State.
"That's what I have a nose for. I got a nose for playing linebacker, hitting up in the holes and knocking them back," Lenix said. "But when it comes down to it I'll go wherever they want me to just to get on the field and show them that I can play."
What he might lack in physical size to play any of the linebacker positions, he easily compensates for with a lot of speed and an very large heart.
"My size or speed don't really matter to me, it's all about heart," Lenix said. "I got a lot of heart and if they put me on the field I can show it."
The results speak for themselves. Lenix was probably the most valuable player on both the football team and the track team this year. He accomplished more athletically than he ever imagined he would when he first came to Glenville.
"I'm real happy today. I took my senior year out with a bang. Three state championships is unthinkable. I never thought I would be doing this," he said. "But I pulled away with it and I'm real proud of myself because I came a long way. And it's not going to stop here, my heart is going to keep me going. I know what I have to do and I know what I'm going to do."
A lot of Ohio State fans will be watching, albeit from a distance, and waiting.