COLUMBUS – Nothing went quite as planned for any of the Champaign County track and field athletes competing in the Division III championships on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but the mood was overwhelmingly positive following the races.
Each of the four event participants finished just a spot off the podium, earning 9th place.
In the 4×200 relay race, Mechanicsburg’s Dustin Knapp, Bryce Waring, David Harvey and Jared Butcher finished in 1:33.49 – running slightly slower than the time that got them into the championship round.
In the 1,600-meter run, West Liberty-Salem’s Joey Adams finished 9th after a runner was disqualified from the race. Adams finished the race in 4:28.19 after getting tripped up by a competitor.
Adams was vying for the lead and doing some physical jockeying for position on the third lap when an opponent cut sharply across his heels.
“I kinda tripped up a little bit. Someone wanted to take lane two and I was on the outside of lane one,” Adams said. “He cut across aggressively and clipped my heels. I kinda stumbled and for whatever reason, couldn’t regain my pace after that.”
Despite the misfortune, Adams was gracious following the race.
“I definitely wanted to be here. God really showed a lot of grace in me and helped me develop into a decent miler,” Adams said. “I’m running alone in theory, but I’m definitely not running alone when I have God and the people He’s given me to support me.”
“Our school and coaching staff is extremely proud of Joey and all he has accomplished at WL-S,” said Tiger Coach Joe Taylor. “Joey has been a great leader, competitor and role-model for our community. Joey set a new PR on Saturday in his last race of his high school career and we are proud that he was able to make his fastest race his last one.”
In the 400 dash, Jared Butcher was 9th in a time of 51.89. It wasn’t the finish nor the time that Butcher was expecting, but he tamed his disappointment.
“I thought I started faster, but it’s hard to start fast when nobody’s in front of you,” Butcher said. “But I got to add two more races to my high school career. That’s pretty cool. Not many people get to say that. And I’m the ninth-fastest in the state. Not many get to say that. And I’m going off to college. Nothing to be mad about.”
In the 200 dash, Bryce Waring was 9th in 22.65. He too, was optimistic, summing up the trip to state in his own words.
“To experience this is a blessing. I never actually thought I was going to make it to state. I got to the district and finished top four and I thought ‘OK, maybe.’ And then I got to regionals and won that and I was just blown away,” Waring said. “It was a dream come true. I never thought I was going to be able to do that. I never thought I was going to be able to break the school record. I’m honored to be here and it’s an awesome experience.”
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.