NEW HAVEN – The championships of the NHC Track and Field Meet belonged to Carroll – the boys won with 170 points and the girls with 147 – but the moment of Friday night belonged to New Haven’s Adam Hoffer.
After winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.37 seconds, ahead of teammate Austin Feipel (51.57), an emotional Hoffer screamed, high-fived and hugged seemingly everyone in the vicinity.
“My whole family is here watching me and I’ve been wanting it for so long. I just thank God for everything,” he said. “I can’t believe it. I knew I had a shot. But I didn’t know what would happen. I just knew I could do it.”
He led New Haven to a third-place finish with 90 points, 71 behind Homestead.
“Everyone told me they knew I could do it and my dad, he drew a line at the last 100 (meters) and he put a 13. He said, ‘You can do anything for 13 seconds.’ And in those last 13 seconds, I ran as hard as I could,” said Hoffer, who set a personal record and followed in the footsteps of his father, Troy, who won the event in high school.
“I was running straight through the line. I wasn’t giving up. I wanted it so much and that’s what helped me, because I’ve been dreaming about it for so long.”
It was a windy night – gusts were about 26 mph – and that created an interesting dynamic for the runners.
“It kept us really bunched early on because the wind was a lot stronger than we thought. I didn’t think it would be too bad, but it was pretty strong,” said Carroll’s Alex Hess, who won the 1,600 in 4:30.85.
Carroll’s Eric Claxton won the 800 in 2:00.46. Kaleb Johnson won the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches. Tony Armstrong won the pole vault at 14 feet.
Homestead’s Brayden Law won the 3,200 in 9:24.2.
“I knew I was mostly saving it for the kick at the end, the last 150 or 200 there,” Law said. “Lots of speed work. I don’t feel like in running a two-mile race that you want to give it up in the last 200 (meters).”
Teammate Trevor Stanley won the 100 in 10.88 and the 300 hurdles in 38.45. John Lark won the 200 in 22.53. Jordan Davis won the 110 hurdles in 15.09. Zach Swarts won the shot put with a throw of 50-05.
In the girls’ meet, Carroll was led by Kara Eck’s victories in the shot put (40-11) and discus (120-06). Sara McKeeman won the pole vault (12-03). And Olivia Hippensteel won the 1,600 in 5:16.11 and the 800 in 2:21.96.
“The last 200, the motto with our team is, ‘Whatever you have left, leave it on the track,’ ” Hippensteel said after winning the 1,600. “I don’t know where (the last sprint) came from, but it was a blessing to run with those girls because if I’d been on my own, I don’t know if I could have run that well myself.”
Bellmont’s girls finished second with 131 1/2 points, led by Alexis Harvey’s victories in the 100 (11.91), 200 (24.56) and 400 (59.18). Bailey Beery won the 3,200 in 11:08.33. Holly Hankenson won the 100 hurdles in 15:20 and the 300 hurdles in 45.39.
Columbia City placed third with 76 points, led by Carlee Hearld’s victory in the high jump (5-04).