When looking back into the history of early Hillsboro athletics, the name Ed Ayres can often be brought up when it comes to the upstart of Ohio track and field in the early 1900’s.
Ayres grandson, Chris Duckworth, came across some of his grandfather’s high school relics while going through his family memorabilia.
Ed was apart of the second state track meet ever held and accomplished something that no Hillsboro High School team has ever matched in any sport. The year was 1909 and with only two participants, Hillsboro finished state runner-up to Toledo Central.
Ayres was inducted into The Times-Gazette Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame class.
Ayres finished first in the pole vault and high school and second in the long jump. His height of 10-1 in the pole vault set a high school and collegiate Ohio record at the time, and was not far off the world record, according to Duckworth.
Ed Ayres was apparently a very good boxer along with being so talented track and field.
Though Ayres never went to college he managed to receive his pharmacy license in 1914 and bought a share in the drug store. He purchased it outright in 1925 and kept the name the same for many years until finally renaming it the Ed B. Ayres Drug Company. The large mortar and pestle he placed in front of the business still stands in front of the location.
Duckworth said that after the 1909 state meet, Ayres entered an invitational in Cincinnati that included high school and college track stars, he believes. Ayres high jumped 5-8.25, pole vaulted 9-6, and later cleared 9-11.
“Try that sometime with a wooden pole and no planting box. His pole did have a spike in its planting end, but I believe that sometimes he had to jump without it. Sprinters, of course, had no starting blocks and simply dug holes in the cinder track to launch themselves.”
Ayres was also a noted sprinter in the 100- and 200-yard dashes.
Ed Ayres was born Feb. 3, 1891, Ayres died on Aug. 16, 1964
“He was always incredibly proud of his athletic accomplishments. It didn’t take much to get him to talk about it,” Duckworth said.
Reach Tate Erkenbrecher at 937-402-2572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.