During the season, it’s always tempting to head up the turnpike to test ourselves against the East Coast’s best on the banked tracks of Ocean Breeze or The Armory. We like to keep things under wraps staying within the association, treat indoors like pre-season for outdoors (which it is), and drop some big PRs at States, feeling good heading outdoors. This year was true to form as the squad competed in 6 events and came away with 9 personal records. Even with all the good news, we still had a couple of “should’vs, would’vs and could’vs”.
Darien Williams had been off and on all season with nagging injuries, often preventing him from doubling back on a relay. It looked like more of the same in the 200. As he came off the final turn even with the leaders, he appeared to wince and faded just slightly but enough to drop him back 5 places. His 22.11 (6th) is an indoor PR and school record BUT…turns out the ‘wince’ was due to clipping his calf with the other foot. No injury (good news), but he definitely WOULD’VE broken 22.00 and moved himself into second or third place.
Ethan Dolberry-Wescott’s hurdling has improved steadily all season, his 8.44 PR ranked him 12th coming in. He had work to do if he was to make the final 8. His pre-lim run lasted 8.55 sec. to move him into the semi’s, but down to 13th. In the semi’s he improved slightly to 8.52 moving him to 11th and out of the contest. 8.44 WOULD’VE placed 8th.
Andy Harman had been chasing that sub-2 800 performance all season. He came close on a flat track (2:00.45 at MOC) so no reason why he couldn’t do it here. Being a little too polite at the gun, he ran from behind for most of the race (heat 1 of 3), gradually moving up but would place no better than 5th in his heat. Though his 1:59.71 met his time goal, the competitive nature of this event saw him in only 18th out of 24 when the dust cleared.
Yondell Dudley’s quick rise to local fame (tops in the Philly area) in the shot may have happened a bit too fast, as his confidence didn’t keep up. Of course when you’re stepping into the media circus which has surrounded this event lately, its hard not to let it get to you. Jordan Geist, the nation’s top thrower (72-6) was the focus of the announcer and the crowd throughout the competition. In the flights, Yondell fouled, had a shaky 47-4.75 on his second attempt and then fouled again on his third, relegating him to the sidelines. None of the other competitors seem to do well either. Yondell’s PR 55-8 WOULD’VE nabbed him a 4th place medal.
On to the relays. As mentioned earlier, we really had not put the 4×2 together all season due to various reasons, but felt we could ‘shock the world’ if things went well. Ranked 13th and running from the 3rd of 5 heats, we could get in front and run clean from lane one. Shamere Dunswell did a nice job at lead-off (22.6) handing it to Darien about 6 yrds behind Upper Darby and 60HH state champion Mason Weh. Darien (21.6) ran him down like he was standing still but Ethan didn’t take advantage as he was a statue at the exchange. Darien almost came to a dead stop 5 yards from the middle of the zone and would have split 21.2 if he was able to keep moving. Ethan (22.7) managed to get the lead back, as Darby used their best runners 1-2. The last exchange HAD to be better, right? Rahsheed Wright (22.7) got antsy and took off waaay to early and again, the baton came to a screeching halt as he had to stop himself from running out of the zone. We won the heat and the clock stopped at 1:29.88. Fastest time in the state so far, and a school record. No one had broken 1:30.00 all year. The time wouldn’t be topped ’till the fastest heat and only by the first place team (Downingtown West 1:29.30). We probably left a full second on the track with the bad sticks. Arrgh!