COLUMBUS - It was a pretty simple explanation for Buckeye Local graduate Jordan Piergallini.
"I'm just blessed, I can't believe I even got here," he said after standing on the podium twice Saturday in the Division II Ohio State Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. "It's just a blessing to be here. It really is. I never thought I'd be here in a million years.
"To go against these athletes two days in a row, just to see them, just to be with them, and to see how they go about their changes in their lives. It's an amazing thing.
"I don't know how I got here. It was in God's hands."
Piergallini finished second in the 100 in 11.04 and later fifth in the 200 in 22.13. Lamar Hargrove of Cincinnati North College Hill won both races.
In the 200, Declan Starrett of Huntington Valley University School ran 22.123, LaTrell Turner of Dayton Dunbar 22.127 and Piergallini and Dominic Ward of Columbus Independence were timed in 22.129.
Piergallini, two years removed from playing baseball at Steubenville Catholic Central, is an all-Ohio track athlete in two events.
"I was a baseball player," said Piergallini. "But I've always, I don't know what it was about speed, but I always had it. I always loved being the fastest man on the field in anything I did. I think I found what I need to be doing. I just love this sport.
"Just being around here and seeing all of this, you don't get to see it every day. This is something I've never seen before, I tell you that. I've never seen anything like this. It just amazes me how many people are here and how many people are involved and how the people really get into this."
Piergallini received a push a few years ago from Post 33 Legion baseball coach Mark Stacy.
"As a coach, you always want to see your players doing the best of their ability," said Piergallini. "I have a lot of respect for baseball."
Piergallini showed well in a sport that it new to him. He surprised a lot of track people. And, surprised himself.
"It's been tough this year," he admitted.
"I was hanging my head after that 100 and I had my coach grab me up as soon as I walked over and he said to me, 'you just took second in the state. I don't know what you're talking about.'"
Piergallini got a great start in the 100.
"With these great runners, especially him (Hargrove), he got out just as fast as I did, but I had that little edge, I just couldn't keep it," said Piergallini. "That just comes with a lot of preparation. If I would have been preparing a little bit more for the 100 this year, I think I might have been able to get that last seven meters on him.
"Best of luck to him next year. Being a state champion isn't something that's easy."
Piergallini now looks forward to running in college.
"I want to make something out of this," he admitted. "I want to go to college and run. It would be a blessing top do that and keep doing this for another four years. It's something that I really want to do.
"It really is."
Steubenville Big Red's Jasmine Ware, Shilynn Crawford, Cierra Macon and Toshchel Demus finished seventh in the 4x100 in 50.37.
For Ware, the lone senior in the foursome, it was a great way to end her high school track career, considering she missed last season with a quad injury.
"Last year was pretty hard because I didn't get a chance to run and this year is so much better because I got the chance to run with my teammates and got the chance to come to states," Ware said. "There was a little bit if pressure, but once you get running, you shake off the nerves.
"I took this whole year in because I was able to run.
"We worked as hard as we could and just put everything into making it here and standing on the podium."