Trevor Wesley's track and field debut last spring started out to be little more than a workout routine.
Heading into his senior year, the Ironwood Ridge wide receiver figured he'd use track to stay in shape for football, with a possible side effect of having fun.
But then came success. Success led to passion, and passion has transformed to full-blown fascination.
Wesley and his 400-meter relay team won a 5A-II state title last season, and now the squad is preparing to defend.
"Last year I was doing it for football, but I really ended up liking track," said Wesley, who has signed to play wide receiver at South Dakota State next year.
Winning a state title "definitely made me look at it like, 'Hey, we're pretty good.' We've been talking about it in the off-season that we want to win the state title again this year, and all of us are working really hard to do that."
It's not the first time all of them worked really hard at something.
The relay team is an extension of Ironwood Ridge's football team, which made it to the state semifinals this past December.
Of the team's four members, three played football in the fall. Wesley was a wide receiver and defensive back, as was sophomore Tyler Williams. Senior Tyler Grammar was a safety and running back.
Even the fourth member of the relay team, senior Phil Satterfield, is a football player. He went through summer workouts before sitting out the season for disciplinary reasons.
The relay team is coming off an impressive win at last month's UA-hosted Willie Williams Classic and is looking ahead to sectionals and state. The four spoke about their work ethic, their drive to repeat and how their football camaraderie has helped in track season.
First leg: Wesley
Besides speed, what makes this relay team so good?
A: "I think it's the time we put into it. We put a lot of time into our 4x100 team. Coach (Rob Clouse) will be like, 'OK you guys have this amount of handoffs you guys have to do.' And after we're done we'll look at each other and be like, 'Hey, you guys want to go one more?' It's because we know what it takes to win, and we want to win a state championship again."
Second leg: Williams
How does being teammates in football help on the track?
A: "Football, starting in June, we literally spend every hour of the day together, from 6:30 in the morning until 11 at night, six days a week. And those are basically my brothers. I spent more time here with them than I did at home. Just being close with them kind of developed that chemistry, and it really carried over to track."
Third leg: Satterfield
Did you feel like you missed out on anything by not playing football with them?
A: "I played my sophomore and junior years, so I know these guys and they know me. I got in trouble so I couldn't play last year, but I was there for most of summer. It was kind of hard at first, but we just picked it right back up, and it's been going really well."
As the track veteran of the bunch, how do you view track differently, and how does your experience help you?
A: "I actually started track in sixth grade to get in shape for football. I just became more and more in love with track so it became more of a second sport, or a tied sport. It helped me a lot with football, but I had my own achievements in track, too."