Too fast to back down

Winter Track strides to State

Senior+Adam+Lucken+passes+the+baton+to+junior+Jonathon+Hedrick+in+the+1600+meter+relay.+Lucken+pulled+a+hamstring+during+his+800+meter+race+at+the+M-F+Invitational+at+the+University+of+Findlay%2C+but+the+relay+still+qualified+for+the+Indoor+State+Track+and+Field+Championships.+Lucken+is+determined+to+be+healed+enough+to+compete+on+Saturday.

Becky Menyhert

Senior Adam Lucken passes the baton to junior Jonathon Hedrick in the 1600 meter relay. Lucken pulled a hamstring during his 800 meter race at the M-F Invitational at the University of Findlay, but the relay still qualified for the Indoor State Track and Field Championships. Lucken is determined to be healed enough to compete on Saturday.

Tori Swart, Broadcast Editor-in-Chief

The hard pounding of feet couples with loud shouts from various coaches, teammates and parents. This is the normal environment of an indoor track meet, and on the evening of Feb. 27, the tension was especially palpable.

As the final meet before the Indoor State Track and Field Championships, only a select number of people from the winter track team traveled up to the University of Findlay to participate.

“Everyone was there for one reason: to make it to State. I was definitely feeling the pressure of the fact that it was the last chance. I wanted to go to State more than anything,” junior Jeremiah Hunter said.

Hunter qualified in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.99 seconds. He also qualified in the 800 meter relay with sophomore Brenden Archer, junior Clarence Dawson, and senior Trey Gentry.

“I was angry and pumped for the relay because I didn’t qualify in the 60 meter dash. I didn’t want to leave the meet without knowing I was going to State. It was a really close race, but we won in the last meters,” Archer said.

“Afterward, we had to wait to see if our time qualified. I was really jittery as we waited, but when I found out we had made it, I couldn’t stop jumping around because I was so excited.”

The boys team also had competitors in the pole vault, 55 meter hurdles, 1600 meter run, 800 meter run, 3200 meter run and the 1600 meter relay.

During the 800 meter run, senior Adam Lucken felt something pull in his hamstring- a spot that had been irritating him since the cross country season. He was carried off the track and into the trainer’s room.

He was supposed to be the fourth runner for the 1600 meter relay, after Hunter, sophomore Joshua Glauser and junior Jonathan Hedrick.

“I was unsettled because Lucken is a major part of our relay. We all were sad at first, but we didn’t give up because senior Che’z Grey stepped up to try and help us qualify for State,” Hunter said.

The relay stood at nineteenth, just outside of qualifying position, until Wed., March 4, when dropouts moved them into qualifying position. Glauser will also be competing in the open 400 race.

As for the girls side, three athletes have qualified, all with times and heights from previous meets. Seniors Rose Menyhert, Lisa Ruffin, and Victoria Swart qualified, Menyhert in the 3200 meter run, Ruffin in the high jump, and Swart in the pole vault.

“I actually wasn’t thinking about it when I jumped my qualifying height. I had just jumped four foot 11 inches, which is a personal record, so I was already pretty excited. My coach just told me to do it again,” Ruffin said.

The track team has only been going to the Indoor State Championship for two years, with qualifiers only from the girls team. For the 2015 season, three girls and twelve boys have qualified, making history for the boys team.

“A few months ago, I was on crutches with a torn MCL and the doctors weren’t even sure if I was going to run winter track. Now I’m going to State. If that’s not God’s work, I don’t know what is,” Archer said.

The team will drive up the evening of March 6 to stay in a hotel in Wadsworth before competing the next morning at the University of Akron. Field events begin at 9:30 am, and running events begin at 10:00 am.