DARIEN – Tavaris Binion is running with some extra weight this season.
The Hinsdale South senior sprinter may have added some additional muscle weight with his offseason workouts, but as the defending state champion in the 100-meter dash, he now carries the weight of expectations.
“My confidence level is at an all-time high right now, and I just want to stick to the little things,” Binion said. “Being the state champion is a lot of pressure, but I just want to keep doing the little things to help my confidence – little things are going to help me get the edge.”
And why shouldn’t his confidence level be high? He won a sectional title in the 100 and was second in the 200, punching his ticket to this weekend’s state meet in both events. He false started and was disqualified from the 100 race at the West Suburban Gold race, but even when things aren’t going right, he is still finding the positives.
“The positive I took out of that was that I got out of the blocks really well,” Binion said. “So I’m really confident in my start this year, and that was a downfall I had at state last year.”
Adjusting his block starts and the early part of his 100 races are things he and Hinsdale South coach Dean Norman have been working on since last season ended.
“Everybody has something they can work on, and that’s been his – the first 10 meters of his race,”Norman said. “It’s really been pretty good lately.”
The essence of track and field is speed – be faster than the other competitors. There is no denying Binion has the physical speed, but what sets him apart is his work ethic.
“As a freshman he was the fastest kid in his class. He’s been fast for a long time, but he didn’t stop working,” Norman said. “He has a really, really good work ethic. He’s not afraid to work hard, he’s not afraid of the weight room and he’s very coachable. He’ll do what we ask him to do.”
At times Binion, was asked to run on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. He did so at sectionals, though neither made it to state. Binion will miss running in the same races as his teammates, but focusing on two races gives him more time to concentrate on defending his state title.
“There’s definitely more pressure involved in being a state champion, but what I understand this year is expectations,” Binion said. “There are some meets where I lost the 100 because I was strictly focused on rearranging my blocks, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things now because the biggest thing is downstate in Charleston.”
In addition to Binion’s 100 and 200 races, the 4x400 relay team of Marcus Melancon, Zach Kolar, Greg Danielson Abreon Starks also advanced to the state meet with a second-place time of 3:24.85.