CANFIELD - Talking about Niles High School athletics and most will mention the storied past of the football team - the legendary coach Tony Mason, Bo Rein and others that made the Red Dragons so well-known.
However, in the last couple of years, Niles athletics' crown jewel is the track and field team more so the team's sprint relays.
The 4x100-meter relay has went to the Division II state meet three of the past four seasons - the exception was 2009 when the 4x100 fell just short of qualifying out of regionals.
That season Youngstown State punter and sprinter Nick Liste led the Red?Dragons' sprinters and tried to help mold athletes like current Niles senior Christian Brown, who was a freshman in 2009.
"When Nick was there, he taught us all a lot," Brown said. "Now we just practice on our own with handoffs and everything. I've learned a lot of tricks to the trade."
He, along with fellow seniors Dillon Palmer, Darius Harris, C.J. Cicero and Justin Miller have state experience. All five comprise the rotation of the Red Dragons' 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
Brown, Miller and Palmer have been down in Columbus the past two seasons, while Harris and Cicero went down last year.
However, since the Red Dragons placed seventh at state in the 4x100 with Liste, Ricardo Beltran, Alex and Rob Sava, it's been a bit nightmarish for Niles.
In 2010, the Red Dragons took finish 16th in the 4x100 (44.97 seconds).
Last season, Brown was 11th in the 200 (22.56), the 4x100 team was disqualified and the 4x200 team took 15th.
"There's a lot of chemistry on the 4x100 this year," Brown said. "I feel like we want to win this year, more than any other year. Last year, we just wanted to get to finals. We didn't even get there.
"This year, it's all or nothing."
During last season's regionals, the Red Dragons' 4x100 team of then senior Blake Robinson, Palmer, Harris and Brown ran 42.82 and then went 43.08 to win the regional title.
This year's 4x100 expects more from itself.
"We ran 42.9 last Friday," Brown said. "We're not really content with that time at the moment. ... We're running well, but there's always improvements to be made for both relays. Anything can be fine-tuned and made better."
However, what's even better is knowing the sprint relays are a sense of pride for the Red Dragons.
Brown said he and his teammates are approached constantly after meets - wondering how they did.
It's no wonder, because these relays are the best Niles has offered the past couple years.
Doesn't that feel pretty good to someone like Brown?
"Actually, it feels great," he said.
DOUBLE WINNER: Newton Falls senior Shannon Montgomery has had her share of victories this season in both the shot put and discus.
She even came up with two victories in both events in a Fitch-dominated tri-meet Tuesday.
Montgomery threw 122-1 in the discus and 34-0 in the shot put.