AKRON - Fitzgerald Toussaint looked at his teammates from the bleachers during last year's Poland Invitational during outdoor track and field season.
Toussaint, who is attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship, had a nagging hamstring problem that kept him from qualifying for last year's Division II state meet in Columbus. His hamstring has been bothering him the last two track and field seasons.
This year, in preparation for the outdoor season, Toussaint ran two indoor meets and qualified for the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches indoor state meet inside the Stile Field House at the University of Akron. The top 25 distances and times in each event during the indoor season advanced to the state meet.
March 21, Toussaint pulled away from the competition and won the Division II-III 60-meter title in a time of 6.96 seconds.
"We told him he could either play basketball or run during the indoor season," Liberty track coach Jay Cripe said. "I told him, 'Let's gain some strength in that hammy before the outdoor season.' He chose to do the indoor season.
"Congratulations to the young man. He did very well."
Cripe said football coach and athletic director Jeff Whittaker was concerned about Toussaint's hamstring injury, having him see a physician in Mineral Ridge.
"Coach Whittaker got Dr. Terlecky out of Mineral Ridge to work with him even before football and gave him some things to do as far as stretching and his diet, which he's been very regimented with," Cripe said.
The hamstring is feeling fine heading into the outdoor season.
"He's got a lot of confidence in his hamstring," Cripe said. "He's in the shape he needs to be for the indoor.
He's got a lot of goals set. He's a very hard-working, determined young man."
Toussaint has high expectations for this season, which started at March 21 state indoor meet.
"It's just a start. I have way more work to do," he said. "This is prelims and outdoors is semifinals and finals.
"It feels good, but I ain't had enough yet."