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The Journal Gazette

Monday, June 04, 2018 6:40 pm

The Extra Mile: Boys State Track Finals Notebook

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON—The boys track and field state finals was weird.

DQ Blizzards would have been more welcome in the heat.

Seven teams were ultimately disqualified in the 400-meter relay for one reason or another including Marion, the regional champion that upset Carroll, false-started; the Chargers were allegedly outside the exchange zone on a hand-off and Woodlan, which was out of its zone.

Another strange occurrence that's a little more common is the fact that the winner of the 800 came from the first heat.

Typically the runners with slower seed times (regional performances) are separated out in some of the middle-distance events, including the 400, 300 hurdles and 800.

It's pretty common for the top one or two from earlier heats to finish on the podium but it's more impressive when the winner emerges from the earlier races. The faster times usually mean the runners took the races out quickly and weren't pushed by competitors to the same degree as those with more similar seed times.

The most talked about instance of this was when Center Grove's Austin Mudd ran the state meet record of 1:49.25 in the first heat of the 2011 finals.

Avon's Keith Abramson ran 1 minute, 54.62 seconds in the first heat. North Central's Jacob Lough won the second heat in 1:54.91, earning second place.

But Lough finished and reacted like he had won. Looking at splits, Abramson went out in 55.015 seconds and closed in 59.605. Lough was the opposite, negative-splitting with 59.132 and 55.774. Lough's race was very atypical of an 800 race strategy.

Made it count

Some positives, though, included Carroll seniors Ben Marano and Connor Goetz finishing on the podium in their first state championship appearances, both in the top five.

Marano ran 38.27 to finish second to Northrop's Shaton Vaughn in the 300 hurdles (winning time was 37.52).

"There's no one else I'd rather be second-best to," Marano said. "Shaton and I are friends, we've trained together over the summers. The race felt good. I think the one thing that motivated me the most, as I was coming down the straightaway, I was in fourth, I just knew my seed time was second and I wanted to fulfill that. I was like, 'I'm not going to get fourth or third, I want to at least get my seed time,' so that's what oddly enough pushed me to get second."

For Goetz, he finished fifth in the 3,200 at the regional as a junior and was one of the few returners this year from the 2016 cross country state championship team on the distance side. Now, he caps his career with another fifth-place finish but this time at the state meet in the 1,600 in 4:14.28.

His motivation for upping his training and, ultimately his success, came from the leadership aspect of pushing himself in training and leading by example for the sake of the team but also untapped potential.

"I think the biggest motivator was last year, I was fifth at regional in the two-mile," he said. "Going in, I had a pretty good chance of making it out but that day just wasn't my day and I wasn't able to do it. I think that played a big part of getting here."

"Mad about being mad"

Snider junior Jesse Hamlin finished third in the 1,600 after leading for about 400 meters in the last half of the race.

He was positioned in third through 800 meters and with 600 to go, as his usual racing style, he pushed to the front.

Cathedral's Cole Hocker and eventual champion Matthew Schadler of Evansville Memorial stayed with Hamlin and eventually outkicked him, both closing the last 400 in just over 58.3 seconds compared to Hamlin's 1:02.91.

Schadler ran 4:07.83, Hocker was 4:08.04 and Hamlin third at 4:12.14.

"The last 200, my left calf started to tighten up. As soon as they passed me, I could really tell that I was at least coming in third," Hamlin said. "Afterward, I feel kind of mad that I came in ranked first and ended up getting third. I also feel mad about myself for being mad at myself for third."

That statement was spoken in true Jesse Hamlin fashion.