Buffalo's Rich to run in UK showcase today
WINFIELD, W.Va. - It was a good evening for a flannel shirt, but you wouldn't run a 3,200-meter race in it.
And Dylan Rich, Buffalo's multiple distance champ, was sporting flannel Friday evening when the 3,200 went off at the Winfield Invitational. He all but received the night off, only donning a uniform to run in the 4x800 relay.
But Rich isn't taking it easy, for today he is taking on his biggest assignment - the Heart of the Bluegrass Classic at the University of Kentucky. He is scheduled to run in the high school 800 and mile races.
UK is showcasing its brand-new track and field complex, which Rich wants to call home next year.
"I talked to UK's coach a couple of weeks ago about going to college up there," Rich said. "He invited me to come down, so I signed up for it and I'm going to be running tomorrow."
If not UK, Rich is planning to run at a big-name school somewhere - "I've talked to Clemson's coach, and Pittsburgh's coach. Still looking around."
He won the 800 and 1,600 state titles last year in Class A, and also helped the Bison defend its title in the 4x800. All three victories came with room to spare, leading some to wonder how good he can be.
Rich delivered an answer in his first meet of the season, when he defeated Cabell Midland's Jacob Burcham in the 800, on Burcham's home track. While Burcham is headed to Oklahoma more on his strength in the 1,600 and 3,200, he does have the Class AAA state meet record in the 800.
Rich's time of 1 minute, 55.99 seconds is the state's best this season in any classification. It came in his first meet - his start of track season was delayed by Buffalo's run to the state basketball tournament.
"His first meet, the 1:55, I don't think anybody expected that," said Buffalo coach Richie Wyant. "He doesn't know what he's capable of yet, and I tell him that all the time."
Rich owns a 4:27.43 time in the 1,600, only trailing Burcham. He is not as proficient in the 3,200, where he finished sixth in the 2012 state meet, and is 61/2 seconds behind teammate Hayden Harrison so far this spring.
"My 32, I haven't really run a competitive 3,200 yet, so we'll see about that when Gazettes comes around," Rich said, referring to the April 26-27 Gazette Relays.
Rich leads a 4x800 team that easily owns the best time in Class A, an 8:35.21 that could place in AAA. Rich's regular teammates include Isaiah Robinson, Glenville State-bound Tyler Torman and Connor Lamb, who replaces Evan Childers. Friday night, Torman was temporarily replaced by Andrew Hasen.
Childers is now running the steeplechase at Morehead State. "He loves it. He started out as a hurdler for me, and so did Dylan," Wyant said.
Yes, Rich came to Buffalo as a hurdler. Cross country helped hook him on distance races, which eventually brought him to where he is today, running a highly visible meet in Lexington.
"I think a lot of it has to do with his maturity and confidence," Wyant said. "Those are the two big factors right now. He's always been a hard worker, always been a gifted athlete, but I just don't think he realized what is potential was. He had a rough sophomore year with injuries and that sort of thing.
"Last year was his coming-out year, and he's carrying that on and he's getting better this year."
Another top distance runner, Jefferson's Ryan Graf, recently signed with the Air Force Academy. Other Division I signees, as reported by runwv.com:
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.