BLOOMINGTON — Entering the final event of Tuesday’s Big 12 Conference boys indoor track meet, the Danville Vikings were within two points of first place.
So, coach Steve Luke turned to a pair of seniors, including Johnny Leverenz, the Class 3A state champion in last year’s 800 meters.
Leverenz and Jelani Day did everything they could but the Vikings came across the finish line second to Normal West, but the unthinkable happened. A member of the Normal West team failed to realize the 1,600-meter relay was still in progress and ran onto the track — impeding the anchor runner from Champaign Central.
Meet officials disqualified Normal West, giving the event victory to Danville and it allowed the Vikings to tie the Bloomington Purple Raiders, who finished third in the final event but moved up to second with the disqualification, at 112 points for the overall team title.
“Every year, Todd (Orvis) and I teach our kids about those type of situations,’’ Luke said. “That’s a good example of what can happen when you are not paying attention. We’ve been able to avoid that, because we take it very seriously. It’s a shame for Normal West.’’
And while the finish was a little unusual, it didn’t change the fact that Leverenz, who signed early this year to attend Butler University for cross country and track, had a spectacular indoor meet.
All he did on Tuesday was anchor the Vikings record-setting 3,200 relay, set a new conference record in winning the 800 and he cruised to a league title in the 1,600, while also trying to help a teammate place in the event.
“He tried to bring Jeremiah (Cooley) along to get those points,’’ Luke said. “Johnny is a leader by example. We came in thinking he would get three wins, and then we took a look at the meet records.