BY CHAD DARE
The dark clouds over O’Brien Stadium had a silver lining for a pair of Vermilion Valley Conference individuals.
Salt Fork senior Alec Dutton and Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac freshman Jon Davis collected second-place medals at the IHSA Class 1A State Track and Field Meet on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
For Dutton, getting second in the discus finals, finishing behind Villa Grove’s Ryan Pearce, was just a little bit short of his goal.
“To be honest, I didn’t come there for second — I wanted to win,’’ he said as his toss of 161 feet, 7 inches was 6 inches short of Pearce’s winning throw (162-1). “From last year, getting sixth place to now, getting second, it’s a big jump, but I still wanted that title.’’
In the cold and wet conditions on Satuday, neither Dutton nor Pearce improved on their prelim throws from Thursday.
But the Salt Fork senior thought his second toss might have been enough, but it just landed a few feet out of bounds.
“Today wasn’t the best day to throw, but I just didn’t quite have it for this meet,’’ he said. “I’m definitely not disappointed in getting second — I just wanted to be first.’’
While it wasn’t the gold medal he was looking for on Saturday, Dutton still became the first Salt Fork boy with a second-place finish at the state meet.
And with his fourth-place finish in the shot put, Dutton became the first Salt Fork boy to place in two events at State.
“It’s nice to make a mark in Salt Fork history,’’ he said. “All of my hard work paid off today.’’
While Dutton came into this year expecting to be in the state finals of his two events, Davis have very modest goals for his first season with the Comets.
“I was just expecting to get a decent time. I didn’t ever dream of getting into the 4:20s or getting a state medal,’’ Davis said.
Well, he did both on Saturday.
Davis passed four runners in the final 150 meters to take second in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes, 27.84 seconds.
“This season has been very successful, above what I thought I could ever do,” he said. “I was very honored to be in the finals, and very happy with the results.’’
And Davis, who is first Oakwood/A-P athlete to finish second in state since Travis Mitchell was the runner-up in the 400 at the 2005 state meet, admitted a few photos on the walls at Oakwood Township High School were his motivation.
“There are pictures on the wall at school of the great athletes in Oakwood history,’’ he said. “I pass by them every day and I hope that my photo is up there someday.’’
With a second-place finish in his freshman season, it sure seems like that is a good possibility.
“This just another stepping stone for me,’’ he said. “I hope to get better next year and the year after that.’’
One of the runners that Davis passed in those final 100 meter was Schlarman Academy’s Jesse Hahne, who wound up fifth after being second with 400 meters left.
“My goal was to medal today,’’ Hahne said. “I put myself in a position to finish second, but I locked up in those final 100 meters.
“It was kind of painful to see people run by me and to know that I couldn’t do anything about it.’’
That fifth-place finish in the 1,600 came just about 90 minutes after Hahne took sixth in the 3,200 with a time of 9:31.85.
In his sophomore and junior seasons, the senior from Schlarman Academy was 10th just missing a state podium finish.
“To be on the podium this year made it worth it,’’ he said. “I was hoping to be a few spots higher in both races, but the time in the 3,200 was about what I was expecting.’’
Hahne is just third Schlarman athlete to medal in two events in the same state meet.
Scott Krapf did it in 2006 and Kyle O’Brien accomplished it in 1998.
“Those are both great names in Schlarman history — it’s nice to be up there with them,’’ Hahne said.
Also earning state medals from the Vermilion Valley Conference on Saturday was Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman freshman Tyler Owen, Salt Fork junior Nick Hedges and Westville senior Nick Woods.
Owen finished in a tie for seventh in the high jump. Hedges was eighth in the 100 and Woods was eighth in the shot put.