Austin Hylander wins free tuition 2010.02.10

Written by David Green.


austin_hylander.2009.jpgIt probably seemed like a good risk to officials at Ohio State University. After all, what are the odds that someone is going to come out of the audience at the Value City Arena and throw a basketball through the hoop from mid-court?

Don’t talk to Fayette’s Austin Hylander about odds. Just look for the smile on his face and the dollar signs in his eyes.

Hylander made the shot, and as a reward, his tuition at OSU is free next year.

The freshman walked into the arena lobby  Thursday with some friends to watch OSU’s womens team play Minnesota, coached by Fayette native Pam Borton.

When asked if they wanted to participate in the half-time shooting contest, his friends turned down the offer for fear of embarrassing themselves in front of the crowd.

Hylander volunteered. He was one of Fayette’s top players last season and he figured he had a shot.

Here’s how the game works. The shooter has 30 seconds to show what he or she can do from four positions on the floor.

First comes a lay-up. Make that and receive a $50 gift card to Big Lots, sponsor of the Big Shot contest. Then comes a free throw which increases the winning to $100. Next up is a three-pointer for a $500 prize. If all three of those shots go through and there’s still time remaining, you can try for the half-court bomb.

“I missed my first lay-up and thought to myself that I was just going to embarrass myself,” Hylander said, “and then I air-balled a three pointer!”

That was after his free throw went through and after missing his first three-point attempt.

He moved to half-court and missed his first two tries. That third attempt was something else.

“You could tell just by the arc of the ball that it was going in,” Curt Phillips of Fayette told Hylander’s mother later. Phillips was among the 3,300 people in the stands.

Hylander said he was told there were about three seconds showing on the clock, but he wasn’t paying attention. He was busy running a lap around the arena collecting high-fives. The announcer on the television broadcast said something like, “I’ll bet someone even more excited are his parents.”

Hylander hasn’t yet received details on the tuition payment, but he said a typical course-load costs nearly $9,000. That’s just a bonus—a very big bonus—to the thrill of participating in the event.

“I didn’t even expect to make the shot,” he said. “I just wanted to say I got to shoot at half-time of an Ohio State basketball game.”

He became the first person in the four-year history of the event to win.

Hylander can’t remember ever making one of those last-second desperation shots from half court when he played in high school, but does recall a similar event from elementary school.

“I made a buzzer beater once in fifth grade to win against Pettisville in double overtime. That I still remember, but nothing like this one!”

Now he has something to take the place of his fifth-grade feat.

“This was absolutely incredible,” he said.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016