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Mayle sets sights on NCAA Championships

by Rob Peirce

SPORTS WRITER

ATHENS, Ohio -- Scott Mayle was recruited by Ohio to play football. As a freshman, he can win a national title -- in track and field.

Mayle won three state titles last year as a Philip Barbour senior. Now, he has literally and figuratively jumped onto the national scene in just three outdoor meets. He owns two Mid-American Conference titles, and starting today, he hopes to add something a little bigger.

Mayle has qualified for the NCAA Championships, held today through Saturday in Sacramento, Calif., on the campus of California State University. He'll participate in the long jump, where he finished fourth in the Mideast Regional meet last week in Columbus. Preliminaries are today, and if he makes the cut, he'll advance to Friday's finals.

"It's pretty exciting," Mayle said. "I'm trying not to think about it right now so I don't get nervous."

His regional finals jump of 25 feet, 10 inches seeds him 14th among 27 competitors, the highest ranking of any freshman in the event. It's also the second-best mark in Bobcat history.

While at Philip Barbour, Mayle won four total state titles and 12 in the Big 10. He's already building a college collection with MAC indoor and outdoor championships in the long jump.

He figured he could do well in the MAC. But his performance in the NCAA Regionals surprised him.

"I didn't think I'd be going to nationals," Mayle said. "It was a little hard at first (this year). As the year went on, it got easier. Coming out of high school, there's not a lot of competition, but when you get to college, everybody has the same speed as you and the same ability."

The regional meet was just his third of the outdoor season. He pulled his hamstring during the indoor All-Ohio meet, an invitational exclusive to various schools around the state of Ohio.