His brother, J'Abneb, finished sixth and both placed in the 100 meter dash.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- Warren Harding High senior Benja'Lan Provitt entered the blocks before Saturday's 200-meter dash carrying the disappointment of last season, the frustration of his earlier third-place finish in the 100, the hopes of the Raider faithful and the realization that two years of hard work would come down to a 20-second race.
That's a lot to carry. Fortunately, he's got big shoulders.
Provitt finished first in the event at the Division I state meet at Jesse Owens Stadium, capturing the school's first state title since the Raiders' football team in 1990.
"I wanted it real bad and I was determined to get it," said Provitt, who will run at the University of Akron next year. "It was a lot of hard work and it paid off."
His time of 21.52 was just one-hundredth of a second off the winning time of last year (21.51), run by Cleveland Glenville's Ted Ginn, Jr.
"I just tried to get out on the turn and run my hardest," Benja'Lan said. "I wanted to win."
His brother, junior J'Abneb Provitt, placed sixth in both the 100 and 200 after failing to qualifying for the state meet in either event last year.
"It feels good, especially after not making it last year," said J'Abneb. "It's good to come and place. I'm a little disappointed, but next year will be the year. It's gotta be the year."
Had extra motivation
Benja'Lan qualified in the 200 last year, but failed to make it to the finals, giving him extra motivation for this season.
"I thought about that a lot," he said. "This is a big relief."
Earlier in the day, he placed third in the 100, which would have been a good finish for most people. Not Benja'Lan.
"You always want to get first," he said.
And while J'Abneb would have liked to finish higher, he was happy to see his brother at the top of the podium.
"It's real good," J'Abneb said. "He's a great athlete and I'm going to miss him next year. I'm just going to try and finish where he left off."
The Raiders, district champions in 2004, would also like for people to mention their track program in the same breath as the football and basketball teams.
"We're trying to put track back on the map," J'Abneb said. "We want people to recognize a sport other than just football and basketball."