Anoka senior Cole Boughner was lured from baseball to track and field by fellow diamond defectors who promised him a good time.
He is returning the favor with good times in competition.
Boughner won the 200-meter dash at the Northwest Suburban Conference and Class 2A, Section 5 meets last season. But suffering from first-time jitters, he placed a disappointing 14th at state and did not make the finals.
Boughner, who said running his section time would have put him in the state finals, expects to square all accounts this spring.
Early times and other indications have Boughner believing he and the Tornadoes are "taking off from where we finished last season." Boughner ran the 200 in 22.2 second at the Anoka Open in late March, a personal best.
Coach Pete Tremaine expects to see more contributions from Boughner in open sprint events and relays.
"He's an outstanding athlete, a natural talent," Tremaine said. "He's one of those athletes who loves to be challenged and invites it."
Adversity met Boughner at every turn last season. Nerves kept him out of the 200 finals at state while a teammate's leg injury ruined the four-by-200 relay team's chance to reach state.
"My friends and I all want to do better this year," Boughner said. "Most of our key guys are back so we're excited."
Boughner also showcased his speed on the football field last fall, rumbling to a 73-yard touchdown run in a victory over Blaine in the Class 5A, Section 7 championship game. He said the run renewed the respect of his track and field peers.
"I'm sure in their minds they were doubting me but I kind of showed them that I'm pretty fast," Boughner said with a laugh.