Blake Osborn

Benton senior Blake Osborn, an eight-time State track qualifier, saw his high school career end last month and is already looking ahead to his college career with Hawkeye Community College.

Blake Osborn has spent his track career at Benton Community on a mission. The senior sprinter wants to know how far he can push himself before he can’t anymore. He has medalled on the Blue Oval the past three seasons, including three times last year and finishing runner-up in the open 400m.

But ask him what was on his mind after his junior season and he’ll answer his senior year. The coaching staff knew 2020 was a big year for the program as they returned enough athletes to compete for the WaMaC title and even to place highly in Class 3A.

“We’re just going to find combinations of relays and individual events which would give us the best chance this year,” Osborn said. “We had a lot of guys in my class that either have been to State before or were ready to have good seasons.”

Bobcat track wasn’t positive on what they had in terms of relays this season. Osborn had been part of the 4x400 and sprint medley teams which had qualified for State last season. The open 400 was a given and the 200m dash was a possibility given he finished seventh in 3A. According to Osborn, everyone was certainly ready to find out their roles as practices began, until news of COVID-19 in the country spread faster than the virus itself.

“I first knew something was wrong when all the college started getting out,” Osborn said. “At that point, I didn’t really see our season getting canceled. I thought maybe we wouldn’t have an indoor meet. I just thought we’d go out later and compete.”

The WaMaC Indoor Meet was indeed cancelled, but then the rest of the season was postponed as the virus made its way into Iowa. Osborn watched the news and continued to train in hopes of reaching State one last time and achieving a difficult task in medaling all four years of his high school career. By April 16, however, projections of the virus’s peak prompted the cancellation of all spring sports.

“I just heard on the news and I accepted it,” Osborn said. “I’m lucky enough that I have the opportunity to run in college, so I have that to look forward to. My friends knew this would have been a good year, but they also knew they’ve had three good years already.”

Osborn’s track career is over as a Bobcat after qualifying for State eight times, but his running days will continue as a RedTail at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo later this year. The Newhall native signed with the program last month and will study Police Science.

“I felt this was the best option for me because I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in at first,” Osborn said. “I didn’t want to commit until I had that figured out. I really liked the coaches and talking with them. I’m probably going to be floating around the same events, like the 400s.”

Curiosity pushed Osborn to make the decision much like it did through high school? How far can he push himself? Where’s his limit? The next level of competition is where he hopes to find that answer in college. This weekend was supposed to be the date for the State Co-ed Track Meet in Des Moines, and the Blue Oval holds memories dear to Osborn.

“The whole place is something that you just don’t forget,” Osborn said. “But there’s always going to be something greater next and I hope I can achieve that in college.”