Bryan’s Tyler Manon has been used just about everywhere in the running and hurdle events throughout his career in track & field.
But even through league titles, district championships and successful trips to the regional and state track meets as part of talented Bryan relay teams, he’d yet to find an event to specialize in as an individual.
That is, until this year, when Manon found a niche in the 400-meter run.
During the last month of the season, Manon won Northwest Ohio Athletic League and Division II district titles in the event, placed second at a Division II regional in a school record 49.18 seconds and ended with a fifth-place All-Ohio finish at the OHSAA State Track & Field Championships — all accomplishments that helped him earn the distinction of Bryan Times Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
“I’m proud of what I accomplished,” Manon said. “It’s definitely not something I expected out of this season. ... Showing out in the 400 was definitely a pleasant surprise and I’m proud of the work I put in, I’m proud of how far I took it. ... But now I care more about what I’m going to do in the future and my last season in Bryan.”
After a sophomore year in which he advanced to the Division II state meet as a member of Bryan’s school record-breaking 4x400 and 4x800-meter relay teams, Manon said he was nervous about proving himself again as a junior, especially after his relay teammates had all graduated.
Manon said he knew he had the talent and work ethic to make some special things happen, it was just a matter of what event. In years past, Manon had focused on the 300 hurdles when the postseason rolled around, only to fall short against the heightened competition at the regional meet.
However, after coasting to an easy victory in 50.70 seconds at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League Championships in Bryan on May 10, Manon — who was holding back to save himself for the 800 two events later — knew there might be more there.
“He looked at me and said, ‘How about I try the 400 in districts this year?’” Bryan track coach Rich Will recalled. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’”
And what a decision it was, as Manon went on to break the school record and earn All-Ohio accolades.
Even with his success, Manon isn’t satisfied. With another year left of high school, he’s already started thinking about goals for his senior year.
“My goal is to work even harder,” Manon said. “I don’t want to ever peak. I don’t want to be that guy who ever peaks in high school. I want to keep on going and breaking my PRs.
“And I’d like to get more guys to regionals on relays next year. ... Because I think we’re going to have guys like Travis Baughman and Connor Pelland and Josh Taylor really step it up next year ... and I’m going to try to get them to the level I’ve competed at.”
After high school, Manon hopes to continue his track career at the collegiate level. He says his ultimate goal would be to run at a service academy and go into a career in the military. If he’s not able to hit the times the high-ranking service academies require, though, Manon said he’s open to competing at a smaller school and joining its ROTC program.