Van-Far’s boys track and field team was hoping it might make a serious run at a state title this past Friday and Saturday with athletes set to compete in nine events.
Though a couple of unfortunate situations led the Indians to placing 11th (22 points) in the Class 1 State Championships, several individual performances displayed the level of talent that has been developed in the program during the past few years.
“I am extremely proud of the way my boys competed,” said Van-Far head coach Blake Logan.
Van-Far’s 4×100-meter relay team of Sharrod Connor, Nick Barnes, Parker Wallace, and Jacob Garner were just .21 seconds shy of a state title as they placed second in their race to North Andrew with a time of 44.93 seconds. The Indians had the third fastest time in the preliminaries ran the day before.
Their solid finish was remarkable since it came just 20 minutes after the same four runners dropped a baton in the 4×200-meter relay finals to place eighth.
The Indians won their preliminary race the day before and appeared headed for a chance to beat Paris for the second week in a row. The Coyotes squad went on to win the state title.
Logan noted that he was proud of how his four runners responded after the disappointment in the 4×200.
“Jacob and Nick had very good handoffs in the relays,” Logan said. “Nick’s hands will be sorely missed in the relays as he was the glue (for) guys at the second spot in the 4×1, 4×2, and 4×4.”
Logan also said Wallace had a great season and the he looks for him to possibly win conference in the 400 open next year.
Connor, who has been recovering from an injury for most of the season, made an impact for the Indians with three all-state finishes.
Not only did he help the two relay teams, Connor also finished eighth in the 100 meters with a time of 11.65 seconds.
He had the sixth fastest time in the preliminaries as he took fourth in his heat.
“Boomer again earned All-State honors in three events,” Logan said. “He came back from injury to make our sprint relay teams some of the top in the state. He has a chance to be the sprinter of the year in the conference next season.”
In the distance races, Lathyn McMorris placed fourth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10:03.23. He was also all-state in the 1,600 with a sixth place time of 4:40.66. Tyler Robinson was 16th in the 3,200 meters.
“Lathyn did well in both of his races as he was running at less than 100%,” Logan noted.
Josh Hodde had a busy couple of days.
He earned all-state honors with a fifth place finish in the long jump after leaping 19’5.5”. He was also 12th in the triple jump and 10th in the 110-meter hurdles.
In the hurdles race, he had the fourth fastest time in his heat but he didn’t advance to the finals as two runners tied for seventh and eighth and Hodde tied with another runner who received the ninth place finish.
“Josh competed well in his events and I believe with hard work he can become an All-State hurdler in the future,” Logan said.
Van-Far’s Kyle Ebers competed in the discus and finished in 15th place.
Garner failed to qualify for the 100-meter finals after getting a slow start out of the blocks.
Abbegail Robinson was the lone Lady Indian at state. She placed 10th in the long jump after leaping 15’.75”.