HILLIARD — A member of the Miami Trace High School graduating Class of 2021, Jaden Haldeman took his hurdling skills all the way to the Division I State track and field championships at Hilliard Darby High School Friday.
After a partly to mostly cloudy morning, there was a whole lot of blue sky to be seen on an afternoon that saw the temperature reach into the mid-80’s.
Haldeman qualified to the State meet in the 300-meter hurdles with a fourth-place finish at the Regional meet at Pickerington North High School.
His fifth-place time in the 110-meter hurdles at the Regional was good enough to earn him one of two at-large bids to the State meet.
A field of 17 of the best hurdlers in the state from schools two or three times the size of his alma mater awaited Haldeman at the pinnacle of the sport of high school track and field in Ohio.
Haldeman remained undaunted, stepping up to the challenge of moment.
In his first event of the afternoon, the 110-meter hurdles, Haldeman ran a time of 14.83, placing 11th out of 17 competitors. (One of the student-athletes had a false start and was disqualified.)
After a couple of hours to find some shade and rest a bit, Haldeman was soon back out on the track for the start of the first of three heats of the 300-meter hurdles.
Of the two events, this was the one head coach Brent Noes looked to as Haldeman’s better chance of coming through to Saturday’s finals.
Haldeman placed 10th out of 17 contestants with a time of 39.18. (One of the competitors did not start in the first heat.)
The Record-Herald spoke with Haldeman only a few minutes after his 300-meter heat.
“At this point, not many emotions are going on at the moment,” Haldeman said. “I guess we’ll see what my time was and see if I got a PR (personal record). If I got a PR, I’m fine with that.
“I’m just proud I made it to State,” Haldeman said. “That’s all I can ask for. It was nice running with some of the best people in the state, some of them even ranked nationally.
“It’s about the experience,” Haldeman said. “This is just going to make me better.”
Haldeman will be attending Mount Vernon Nazarene University beginning in August. He will be a member of the Cougars’ track and field team.
“I want to thank all of my coaches,” Haldeman said. “My parents, especially my mom, (Sarah) who always pushes me to eat better, do better and just, in general, be better.
“I also want to thank all of my friends and, most importantly, God, for giving me the talents that I have,” Haldeman said.
“He started the day in the 110’s,” Noes said. “He finished in 11th place. He ran a good time. He ran just .03 of a second slower than his PR, so, we’re tickled with that. We just didn’t get it done.
“We knew we had the 300’s still to come and that’s more of his race,” Noes said. “He finished 10th here in the 300’s out of 18 in the state of Ohio in Division I.
“We’re pleased with Jaden,” Noes said. “Not only with today’s results…obviously, we didn’t meet our goal, but, that’s okay. When you look at the kind of young man Jaden Haldeman is, you know he’s going to work and he’s going to have tremendous success at the next level. Whatever he does in his life after that, he’ll be successful.
“We’re proud of his work ethic and we’re proud of the career he’s had at Miami Trace,” Noes said. “He showed that he belonged up here in Division I with the best of the state. We’re proud of him. He’s had a fantastic year for us.”
Haldeman was undefeated in the 110 hurdles until the Regional meet, where he finished fifth and earned the above-mentioned at-large bid to State.
Haldeman set a new Frontier Athletic Conference record (14.86) and a new District record (15.13).
During the regular season, Haldeman won all of his 300-meter hurdle races, except for the Miami Trace Invitational, where he stumbled and fell, Coach Noes recalled, and still finished second.
He also won the FAC in the 300 with a new record (39.20) and he was District champion in that event, as well.
Haldeman has been named the Division I track and field Male Athlete of the Year in the Southeast District.
Haldeman, along with teammates Libby Aleshire (discus) and Jana Griffith (300-meter hurdles), will be recognized next week at the District banquet.