Austin Hylander wins free tuition 2010.02.10

Written by David Green.

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.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017