With Isaiah Marc’s injury from Penn Relays on our minds, we/he scratched out of the 100 for safety concerns and out of the 400 for fitness concerns. That left the 200. As the pre-lims approached on Friday afternoon, apparently lightning showed up on someone’s radar (we didn’t see it) and they called off the race, eliminating the pre-lims and moving to a final on Saturday. That’s one less race he’d have to run.
The new track surface at Coatesville looked nice but walking on it felt mushy, like a sponge. And that was in the morning. By the time it heated up in the afternoon, the athletes said they were literally sinking into it. That did not make for fast times. 22.39 for fourth was good enough for the automatic top 5 as well as the state standard of 22.50. He was visibly disappointed coming in with a season best of 21.61, but he lives to fight another day! (I immediately look for that tell-tail leg grab after a race. Was he OK? No motion towards the leg at all! Small victories!)
The 4×4 went cheap as only the top 5 made the cut off of 3:24.03. Healthy, our splits could total 3:21.8. (Grayson 52.0, Chase 49.2, Rowan 52.1, Isaiah 48.6) With Isaiah’s fitness not at 100%, and Chase Bethea’s leg in question, we didn’t have to run 3:21. We had 3 seconds of ‘wiggle room’ but we had to perform.
Lead-off Grayson Ruffner has been sitting around 52.0 since Penn Relays and we hoped he’d crack that but he handed off at 52.21. OK, we’ll take it but we were back in 5th place.
Chase’s job was to get us back into it and at least break 50.00 (49.22 PR from Penn Relays). Down the back stretch, he looked like he was in no hurry to catch up as the gap between us and the leaders widened. Was his leg bothering him?. Apparently not, as he exploded into the turn going wide down the home straight passing only one, but putting us within 1 second of first and only .4 behind second place at the halfway point. Although Chase’s finish sprint looked impressive, the watch read 50.87. That would hurt. (I told these guys before the race: Run as fast as you can. We are racing 3:24.03, not the teams on the track! Winning the heat and beating teams won’t matter if we don’t break 3:24.03!!)
Third leg’s job is to give the anchorman a shot. The whole field pulled away from us down the back stretch and at the hand off we were still in fourth but now almost 3 seconds behind the leader and 1.4 seconds out of third.
I did not want this to all come down on Isaiah coming back from an injury. At full strength, he would be capable of a mid 47 split, but here? Who knows. Isaiah went after it, closing down on the lead group but the distance was too great. 49.19 is pretty respectable after a three week lay-off. Third in our heat, 11th over-all. 3:25.51. 1.48 seconds off the standard.
Going in, I thought 52.0, 50.0, 52.0, 49.0 3:23.0 was certainly doable. Oh yeah, and the Prom Friday night didn’t help.