The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 24, 2013

Local athletes out in the cold

STAFF REPORT
Commercial-News

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After a gorgeous night for Tuesday’s girls’ regional, the weather flip-flopped for the boys’ version held at Lafayette Jefferson on Thursday.

The temperature was in the mid-to-upper 40’s and the wind was howling and there was no better way to see the impact of the conditions than to look at the high jump.

The wind was directly into the faces of the jumpers and it was so strong that the bar constantly blew off the standards. As a result, the workers were holding the bar until the final step by each jumper.

Sixteen of the 17 jumpers had qualified with a jump equal to or higher than the 6-0 starting height, yet only nine made that height and just five cleared the next height of 6-2 with the winner be the lone jumper to make 6-3.

Two of the jumpers who participated, but did not make the starting height were Kenny Little of Attica and James Foley of Covington.

Asked about wind, Foley said, “I didn’t know what to do. It was unreal.”

If the weather were not enough of a problem, the local regional is one of the toughest in the state as several of the schools participating are among the largest in enrollment in Indiana.

To put things in perspective, Benton Central won the sectional that contains most of the Wabash River Conference schools with 159 points. Second place Tri-County had 99.

At the Lafayette Jefferson regional, Benton Central came in 18th with eight points (versus the winner’s 121) while Tri-County scored two for a 24th place tie.

Despite such odds, the local runners and jumpers could walk away with their heads held high.

Perhaps the most frustrated might have been Wade Harrison of North Vermillion who jumped 21-07.50 for sixth place with his jump just 1.75 inches shy of the state qualifying mark.

It is hard to compare times from the sectional that had good weather to the times at the regional, but given their seeds, the best performance may have come from Cameron Sheets of Seeger in the shot put.

The Patriot senior came in seeded 12th but took 10th with a throw that was into the wind yet was almost six inches better than his toss at sectional.

Damon Hegg and Little ran in the 400 meter run while Hegg also ran in the 200.

After the finals were over, Hegg said this was the worst weather for a track meet in a long time.

“You come around the corner [in the 400] and it hits you like a wall,” he explained. “I was worn out after 200 and even though you get the wind behind you in the end, it’s too late.”

Akis Medrano, a runner from Benton Central, may have summed up the night the best, saying, “I know I could do better than this, but the wind just takes the heart out of you.”

Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at gfphoto@gfphoto-web.com