This is a two day meet, but I wasn't able to get down to Columbus soon enough on Friday to see the events I really wanted to see--the 4x800 relay finals of each division and the D-I boys' shot put. The latter event only interested me because I'd never yet seen Jimmie Pacifico, the nation's #1 shot-putter. I saw his first few attempts in the discus, where he was a heavy favorite.
But Chris Littleon of Harrison had a huge day, putting up his best four throws of the year while Pacifico threw "only" 179' 4". This would have to be considered one of, if not the, biggest upsets of the meet.
I went over to watch the Division II running events, where Mantua Crestwood's Cassandra Schenk was attempting an impossible 1600m-800m-3200m triple in a 75-minute time frame. She came close, with two wins and a second. Amongst the pleasant surprises was Sandusky Perkins' Cory Leslie:
Back in the pack for the first several laps, he ran his last 600m in dominating fashion and came within a few tenths of the meet record...and school record. When you're getting close to Scott Fry's marks, you're getting somewhere.
After D-II was over, I went back to the discus area for the Division III girls' competition. Although her school is only 20 minutes away from my house, I'd never seen Emily Pendleton throw.
Her best is only 5 feet off the national high school record and I was hoping to see a big mark. Her second throw did establish a D-III meet record of 163' 4", but this year that's a very average day for her.
Then back to the track for the Division I running events. First off, I totally underestimated Glenville's quality, which was apparent right from the first event. Second, the big day I'd hoped Toledo would have didn't quite happen. We got a first, three seconds and a third.
The heart-breaker of the day was Central Catholic's Sam Hogue. He had been running much better than the rest of the state for a month, and led into the final hurdle...which his trail leg caught and he hit the deck.
Most of my event-by-event predictions were wrong. I was exactly right about the two events I've paid the most attention to, the boys' 1600m and 3200m. So I guess I've been not enough of a fan.
A lot of people don't like the D-III meet beacuse the standards of competition aren't as high. First of all, I think that's crap. Look at this:That's Stephanie Morgan with 80 meters to go in the 1600; second place is just entering the curve.
Secondly, the most interesting thing at a track meet is not the clock but the athletes fighting to win. Whether they're fast or not is secondary. And these small schools represent the best part of high school sports. An entire town will turn out to see one kid run, and they're immensely proud of them no matter how they finish.
My pick for the most exciting race of the day: D-III boys 300m hurdles. Columbus Grove's shot at the title was based on two athletes, thrower Cory Muelmann and hurdler/vaulter Heath Nickles. The two already scored 28 points and this was the last event they were in. Nickles ran like a scared rabbit in lane 8 and was behind until the very last step, after which he took a face-plant on the track. Everybody watched the scoreboard because we couldn't tell who actually won; the ten or so seconds we waited for the results seemed like they took forever. At the time I thought it sealed a win for Columbus Grove (site of the ever-popular Beer Bottle Open) but I hadn't counted on Dayton Christian having basically a perfect meet--in four distance races they were only beaten by Samuel Borchers, which is essentially like four wins.
And then on the way home I got to hear A Prarie Home Companion. A perfect ending to a great day.