Ignoring the injury

LaBrae sprinter Ervin tries to forget 2018 state meet

Tribune Chronicle file photo / John Vargo LaBrae’s Dynesty Ervin, left, qualified for last year’s Division III state track and field meet in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Ervin, a senior, wants to make amends for not qualifying for state finals last year in either race. She tweaked a hamstring in the 100 state semifinal, ending her season.

Dynesty Ervin felt the pain in her right leg again. She brushed it aside. It was there for about a week prior to her getting in the starting block.

Ahead was 100 meters. The start’s gunshot (there are blanks inside) signified the start of the race. Leaning forward, it was the end for Ervin in the 2018 Division III girls 100-meter dash preliminary state race, finishing in 14th place out of 18 competitors. She failed to make the top nine to advance to the state finals the next day.

The 200-meter dash, for which she qualified as well, was eliminated with a tweaked hamstring in her right leg, as Ervin’s season came to an abrupt end.

Next week, at the Division III Cuyahoga Heights District meet, her road to this year’s state meet begins. Division I and III district track and field competition begins Wednesday, while Division II starts Thursday.

“As soon as I pushed out of the blocks, I felt like I’m not going to be able to finish,” said Ervin about her final race of 2018. The sprinter, who is heading to Cleveland State University next season, did finish, crossing the line in pain in 12.98 seconds — slower than normal.

The anguish, pain was something her father and sprint coach, Anthony Johnson, has never seen before from Ervin.

“It was painful to see her in pain,” Johnson said. “I’ve never seen her that much in pain before. I was disappointed. That was the painful part, watching her.”

Johnson greeted her soon after the finish. He gave some sage advice on her upcoming senior year.

“I told her some things you can’t control and you can’t control injuries,” he said. “That’s part of the game.”

Hurdles stretches followed in the weeks after the early-June state meet in Columbus.

The hamstring pull was caused by her hip forcing that muscle. Ervin began to do hurdle stretches, working out that part of her body. She remained in therapy and continued exercise, something the LaBrae High School senior does to this day.

Speaking of hurdles, will Ervin run that event this year?

“Oh, no,” Ervin said emphatically.

She’s a sprinter, although Ervin dabbles as a middle-distance runner. She has run just under 59 seconds in the 400-meter dash.

It helps her prepare for the 100 and 200, her two events for this year’s postseason. Johnson said Ervin is sticking to the sprints because it’ll be easier on her hamstring.

“Hopefully in college she’ll get stronger,” Johnson said.

Ervin, ranks in the top two in the Division III Massillon Perry Regional, in both events. She’s looking to go 12.2 in the 100 and in the 24s for the 200.

When she steps into the blocks at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, she’ll not think about those events which led up to the 2018 race.

She’s more prepared this time.

“I’m going to put that behind me and not even think about it,” Ervin said. “This is my last year and I want to leave something behind.”