COLUMBUS - Steubenville Catholic Central's Doug Maslowski and Monica Rigaud have a lot in common, not the least of which is standing on the podium Saturday after their respective hurdles races at the Division III Ohio State Track and Field Championships.
Considering where they started the season, to finish the year on the podium at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University is a huge accomplishment.
Maslowski, a junior, was clocked in 14.85 to finish .05 behind state champion Dakota Conkle of Findlay Liberty-Benton.
The sophomore Rigaud took fourth in 15.85.
"I was kind of disappointed because I didn't run my best time, but it's OK, second is good for now," said Maslowski, who started the season competing in the shot put, long jump and 100 before running a competitive race in the 110 hurdles. He won the race at the Jefferson County Relays on April 15 in 15.4.
"I've cut at least a second off my time. I'm happy with it, but I'll work to improve."
He qualified in three events (100, 110 hurdles and long jump) for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships and finished second in the hurdles in 15.02 in the final. He ran 15.03 at Newcomerstown to win the districts and then ran 14.82 to win the regional at Navarre.
"I was surprised by how I did this year, but Teddi kept pushing me to do better," he said with a laugh. "I have to listen to her."
That would be five-time state hurdle champion and big sister Teddi Jo Maslowski, who just finished her freshman year at Duke University. Big sis was in the stadium, face painted and all, admittedly far more nervous watching little brother compete than when she was competing herself at the same venue.
So, how did little brother improve in the past 45 days?
"Coaching," he said. "I've worked on technique and speed, something you have to work on every day."
It was his fifth visit to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but the first time he stepped onto the track as a competitor.
"I really wanted to get here," he admitted. "I kept pushing the whole season because I wanted to make it here, just like my sister, trying to follow what she did.
"Hopefully, next year I can be here in two or three events.
"The goal at the beginning of the season was just to finish the season at regionals or something. I really didn't have a goal at the beginning of the season.
"But, I kept doing better at meets during the season and thought, 'Well, I'll just push for the win, now.'
"I came close."
Rigaud admitted her experience in Columbus last year as an alternate helped her this year.
"I feel it helped me a lot this year because I have been here before," she said. "Last year I came as an alternate and just that was nerve-wracking. But, it also prepared me for this year because it didn't seem as big which is good."
Rigaud 16.78 at Martins Ferry Relays on April 10 and 16.3 at Jefferson County Relays on April 15. She later false-started at the OVAC championships, won the district meet in 15.81 and took second in the highly competitive Navarre region in 15.57 to Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Taylor Looby, who finished in front of her Saturday.
"I'm really excited (about finishing fourth), but it was really nerve-wracking the whole time," said Rigaud. "It was more nerve-wracking today. It rained yesterday and I love the rain and I love running in the rain. So, yesterday didn't bother me having to run in it. I think the rain actually helped me yesterday."
Rigaud made it to the regional final a year ago, but did not qualify for Columbus.
"My goal was to get here this year because I almost made it last year," she said.
"Finishing fourth is not disappointing. I thought I could have done better, but then I realized that I am a sophomore who finished fourth at states. That's pretty good. I have two more years to get better. It's going to take a lot of hard work year-around and a lot of mental preparation, because I know that helps a lot."
Five of the eight placers in the 100 hurdles are sophomores or juniors.
"I know there is a lot of hard work in front of me because there are a lot of girls who could be coming back who will also work really hard," said Rigaud.