Last year, Emily Akin just missed qualifying for the Division I state track and field meet in the 400-meter race.

Heading into the 2018 season, the Hudson senior got some surprising news.

She was told she had to ditch the 400 and focus on the 800 instead.

"During the the fall in cross country, my coach (Lady Explorers assistant coach and assistant track and field coach Megan Petraska) decided the 800 would be a better fit," Akin said. "I had more endurance."

Of course, it wasn’t the least bit shocking for Akin to be somewhat apprehensive toward the move.

"It was a little bit of an adjustment," she said. "The workouts are different compared to the workouts in the 400. I had a lot more fun. I ended up enjoying it more."

It turns out the proof is definitely in the pudding.

Akin concluded a stellar season after placing seventh in the 800 at the Division I state meet, which concluded Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. She ran a personal-best time of 2:11.88.

"I was really excited to make it," Akin said. "It’s such a blessing to get there and make the podium."

Akin also joined seniors Cameron Bujaucius and Kalli Barrett and freshman Brenna Beucler on the 3,200 relay team, which finished 12th with a clocking of 9:25.3 Friday.

It was Akin’s second trip to the state competition. She was on the seventh-place 3,200 relay team in 2016.

"I always hoped to make it individually as well," Akin said.

Although she ran a personal-best time, Akin felt she had a few more miles in the tank.

"I was hoping to do a little better," she said. "I got out slow. I sort of got boxed in. I was ninth after the first lap.

"But when I got on the podium, I could hear my teammates cheering for me. It was a dream come true."

As of result of her performance, Akin has been invited to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet, which is scheduled to take place June 15, 16 and 17 in Greensboro, N.C.

"Emily is one of those athletes you see every 20 years," Lady Explorers first-year head coach Jeff Hildebrand said. "She was new to the event, but she’s smart. She wanted to find a place on the podium and she knew the 800 was her best chance."

Akin won’t stop running any time soon.

She is planning to continue her academic and track and field careers at the University of Kentucky. Akin plans to major in kinesiology and minor in statistics.

She also considered Miami University in Oxford and the University of Cincinnati.

"Kentucky is such a powerhouse in track," Akin said. "The campus is so nice and the facilities are high grade. Miami had a good academic program and I loved the campus in Cincinnati. Initially, Kentucky blew me away."

Before she heads to Lexington, Akin will spend plenty of time reminiscing about her days at Hudson High School, which has been known for producing quite a few middle-distance and distance standouts.

"Running for Hudson has been so amazing," she said. "It’s an honor to represent Hudson. It’s such a blessing to run for a school that has had so many great distance runners. I’ve also had great coaches."

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, or @FrankAceto_RPC.