The 6-1, 212-pound Saine committed to Ohio State on May 3, picking the Buckeyes over Michigan, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska and a host of others. He was back in Columbus on Friday as he began defense of his 100- and 400-meter Division I state championships from a year ago.
And, to complicate matters, he is also seeking a title in the 200-meter dash. That would be a rare clean sweep of the three signature sprint events in the state's big-school division.
Saine noted that the finals, set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at OSU's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, could be easier than the prelims. There are no prelims in the longer distance events, so all of the sprint events are compacted into a tighter time frame for the prelims.
"It's pretty hard," Saine said. "You have to be tough mentally. You always have to know what you're doing. All of the heats are stacked. You can't slack off at all. You just have to come over and try to do your best, especially to try and win all three."
Saine won his prelim heats in the 400- (47.08 seconds) and 100-meter dashes. His 100 time of 10.43 seconds would have been a meet record, but it was wind-aided. He also won his prelim heat in the 200-meter dash in a quick 20.74 seconds.
When asked which event was his favorite, he said, "Probably the 400. I like it because it's not an easy race. You feel good about yourself after you've finished."
Saine is ranked as Ohio's No. 4 football prospect by Ohio High. As a junior, Saine rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. He also had 300 receiving yards in 2005. He played last year at 205 pounds is now at 212, where he hopes to be for the fall.
"It is hard keeping weight on when you're going for speed," he said.
As for why he chose Ohio State, Saine said, "It was just the football program in general. I was impressed with them big-time, more than any other school."
OSU assistant John Peterson handled Saine's recruiting and the back also got to know OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel well.
"I went down for a basketball game," Saine said. "I was the only running back there. I had a lot of one-on-one time with (Dick Tressel) and I liked him a lot."
The Buckeyes have a number of talented backs, including freshman Chris Wells. Saine wants to give running back his first shot, but knows his speed and athletic ability would serve him well if he needed or wanted to switch positions.
"I can play a lot of positions," he said. "I don't start on defense, but I have played there some. I have also been at wide receiver a lot in our offense."
Saine has one more year at Piqua, though, before he will be trying on the Scarlet and Gray.
"I'm just ready to get there and prove myself," he said. "It's a relief that it's over."