Yesterday made for a long day on the track. The boys were ready to get to the track and compete against the best in the state. The 4 x 800 relay was first to go. Peter ran a great first leg...the team sat in a group of teams 5th through 12th. Mike ran the second leg and that is where the relay fall behind. Mike has only been training for the 800 for about a month now. Unfortunatly that is right were some kids that go from a "true" sprinter (400 meters or less) can hit "a wall". Mike's hamstring tighten up on lap two and he fell to about 15th. Matt and Steven ran really good third and fouth legs of the relay. They did end up finishing 15th. We thought they would finish no less then 10th.
Next on the track was the 4 x 200. Alex had a wonderful lead leg. Derek, running the second leg, took off a little early and had to slow down in the exchange zone, which cost us some time. Derek came down the straight away into a strong head wind and put in a 22.1 split. Derek handed it to Brandon, who ran a great curve and then slowed down the back straight away. We found out later that Brandon's hamstring was tighten up on him. He got the baton to Seth for the anchor leg. Seth pushed us into second place in our qualifying heat. We made the finals and will be in lane 3 this afternoon.
The 4 x 100 was up right after the 4 x 200. Again Alex looked like he was shot out of a canon on the first leg....great hand-off to Odis...who put us into first place. Odis handed off to Seth right in front of me...another great exchange of the stick. Seth came of the turn to hand off to Latwain. Latwain left early and hand to almost come to a complete stop....something you can't do in the 4 x 100 relay. All sixteen teams coming in were seperated by .5 of a second!!! We finished 3rd in our qualifying heat and will have lane 1 for the finals.
On to the hurdles and Derek. This is the toughest hurdle field, depth wise, the state meet has seen in a long time. All sixteen hurdlers came in all running under 39 seconds in the 300 meter hurdles!!! Derek was in the first of two semi-final heats. I was on the turn by hurdle four. Derek had a great start to the first hurdle and cleared hurdle two in perfect stride and was in 3rd place (top 4 in each heat make finals). Hurdle three became his nemisis once again. Twice this year his hurdle three during races was set at the wrong height...39" instead of 36". This time the hurdle was at the right height. Derek came off the hurdle and had a slight lean to his left. His momentum caused him to get on the outside of his left foot and he rolled his ankle. He regained his balance/running form, but a this level one mistake and your out of the money. Case in point...Tyson Peoples, from Glenville, who was second in the state last year, did the same thing as Derek did and will miss running in the finals as well. I held back my tears as best I could. We always want the best for our kids.......
Seth was running in the open 200 meters. Many considered Seth the 'wild card' to place in the top 4 this year. He ran a great turn, but finished 5th. He was only .03 of a second out of fourth place in his heat.
Last was the 4 x 4oo relay. Brandon reinjured his hamstring and could not run. So Coach Mann put Seth in to replace him. Seth's calf cramped up on him after running the 200 meters and could not run. So Coach put Derek in. I had to tell Derek he was our only option left to run, while he was sitting on a bench icing his ankle he rolled during the 300's. He said if Coach needs me to go...I'll run. Cam lead us off...Derek ran second and ran a 52 second split. Brandon and Seth usually run 49-50 second range. That 2 extra seconds put us in the back of the teams. Derek handed off to Mike and then to Steven. We came in with a qualifying time of 3 minutes 20 seconds...today we ran 3 minutes 26 seconds and did not make the finals.
This was a lot of drama today. And of course I found myself trying to be a buffer between coaches and athletes...parents and coaches......etc. It got to me today....I even snapped at Dawn. She did nothing wrong, but I let my emotions speak......I told her I was sorry.
We did all have a pretty good time last night out at Olive Garden. The boys sat a one table and the Coaches and our wives and the parents sat at another table. We had some good conversation and food.
We have two relays to celebrate with today. I'll be happy just because they will finish no less then 8th in the state of Ohio today...not many teams can say that....yeah only 8 in each event.