PDT Sports Editor
COLUMBUS — Ask Zaide Whitley what it takes to suceed and he will tell you hard work can take you a lot of places.
The Portsmouth senior wrapped up his high school athletic career by finishing eighth in the Division II Boys 400-Meter Dash with a time of 50.14 seconds Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Working from behind the pack, Whitley put on a late charge and dove across the finish line to earn a spot alongside the best of Division II at the award podium.
“I feel overwhelmed and overly excited,” Whitley said. “I can’t think of a better way to end my career.”
Whitley’s track career featured two appearances at the State Championships and his basketball career saw just as many appearances in the Final Four. On the football field, Whitley’s elite speed and athleticism earned him a scholarship at Lake Erie College in Painesville as a reciever.
“Hard work definitely does pay off,” Whitley said. “I feel if you are a competitor while you are young then you get the nature of work and work ethic is the key to success.”
On top of his dedication, Whitley credited his success to faith.
“All my accomplishments have been great but, I mean this when I say it, God gets all the glory,” Whitley said. “My motto this year has been APG1, Always put God first.”
He took a leap of faith as he crossed the finish line to earn the final spot at the podium.
“There was a lot going through my mind at that moment,” Whitley said. “I worked hard and I really wanted it. Once I got it, it was a great feeling of satisfaction and I just can’t be more excited.”
Across the street from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, Waverly’s Dylan Dyke competed for his second gold finish in as many days.
The junior, whose main focus is the shot put, competed in Saturday’s Division II Discus Throw and came in sixth with a distance of 163 feet and six inches. The toss came on his fourth of six chances and placed Dyke on the podium once again.
Competing Friday, the Piketon 4x800-Meter Relay team of Kane Dixon, Seth Farmer, Austin Buchanan and Josh Cornett finished 15th out of 16 qualifying teams in the Division II final with a time of 8:28.05.
Also competing Friday was Portsmouth’s Shanice Rollins in the girls Division III Shot Put. The senior’s longest throw was 36 feet and two inches, good for 12 out of the 16 that qualified for the state final.
Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or email@example.com.