POCA, W.Va. -- Buffalo runner Dylan Rich excelled as a junior with two individual state track titles, including one state record, and now as a senior, Bison Coach Richie Wyant said Rich's best lies ahead.
Last season, Rich captured the individual Class A state title in the 800-meter run, set a new meet record in the mile (4:23.18), and ran anchor as part of Buffalo's first-place 4x800 relay squad. This year, Rich started the season strong defeating Class AAA 800 reigning champ Jacob Burcham, of Cabell Midland, and continued his momentum at Poca's Dick Darby Invitational on Tuesday evening.
At Poca, Rich swept his regular schedule of events: the 800, 1600, 3200 and 4x800.
"I tell him all the time he doesn't know what he's capable of yet," Wyant said of Rich, "because he's a super athlete all around."
Rich proved his potential in his first meet of the season when he faced Burcham in a matchup of two of the state's best distance runners. The two met at the Carlos Akers/Doc Hale Memorial Invitational at Cabell Midland on March 29.
Rich opted to race in the 800 and 4x800 in his first meet of the season, instead of Rich's regular full-meet schedule of events.
Rich joined the track team late this season, because of his participation with the Buffalo basketball team's run to the State Tournament.
"That really helped him out, because he was super fresh," Wyant said. "The whole idea of him running against Burcham was he wanted to get a good, early time. I think he surprised himself, how well he did."
Rich finished the 800 in 1:55.9, Wyant said, defeating Burcham on his home track.
"It felt pretty good," Rich said. "That's one race that I've been looking forward to since last year, since the Cabell Midland race last year when I got third to him - but it felt pretty good. That was a big goal that I wanted to do this year."
It was an exciting race to witness, Wyant said, though he laughed and added it nearly felt wrong to watch Rich win on Burcham's turf.