June 05, 2019"Sometimes you conquer the mountain, and sometimes the mountain conquers you."
That's pretty much how the day was for runners, jumpers and throwers at the boys' state track finals at the Indiana University track and field facility Friday afternoon. For some, they conquered and made it to the podium. For most, however, the mountain savagely won.
Floyd Central's Cameron Sturgeon found himself being one of those thrown off the mountain. Sturgeon's first throw went short for 127 feet, 6 inches, with the disc slipping out of his hand on the release. On his second attempt, Sturgeon made a better throw of 141 feet, 6 inches but was still well short of others in the preliminaries. The senior fouled on his last attempt and finished 20th overall.
Floyd Central's David Heinemann (front) took the baton from teammate Colin Edwards to finish the second of the 3,200 meter relay. The Highlanders finished 14th in a time of 8:02.35.
"I would have liked to have been the worst kid with the best guys rather than being the best guy," Sturgeon of his flight assignment. "It's just the way the flight worked out. Everybody was throwing bad in that flight except for that one throw (166 feet). It wasn't very inspiring. I didn't get the inspiration for myself either. I'd say a lot of people, especially in the first flight, are disappointed in their performance."
The state finals ended Sturgeon's sports career with the senior going on to St. John's University next fall in New York to study environmental science.
"I want to help save the planet," Sturgeon said.
"I'd say I was really satisfied with my junior year," he said. "Junior year, I worked really hard in the pre-season and came out and threw well a lot of times. I got a lot better from sophomore year to junior year. This year, that just wasn't the case. There was just distractions off-season. I should have known I wasn't going to make the same jump and, since I didn't make the same jump from year to year, I kind of psyched myself out with it."
At the other end of the pendulum, Highlanders' pole vaulter Devon Montgomery found his way to the podium with an eighth-place finish. The Floyd Central senior passed on 12 feet, 6 inches then was perfect from 13 feet through 14-6. Montgomery couldn't get things to work at 14-9 but still finished with some hardware around his neck as an All-Stater.
"I felt perfect; I felt great," Montgomery said. "It was a great meet. I got a medal. I got in the top nine. That's what I came here to do. I upset a lot of people. I was seeded like 20th. It was a good day. This was my whole high school goal."
The senior, who will attend Western Kentucky University, said staying with the same routine and feeling positive was key.
"I was pumped the whole day," Montgomery said. "I woke up, took a shower, did my routine then ate a good breakfast. I came here, and I just had a good day. I'm happy. It was my last high school meet.
"It's just all practice," he said. "I've worked so hard being consistent. I jump all the time and, at the end of the day, it just all came through. I didn't miss a single height until 14-9, so that's key to where I'm placing today.
Perry Central's Cain Hohne finished on the podium of the high jump with a height of 6 feet, 7 inches for 8th place.
"I'm hoping to get stronger, faster, better (at Western), but also work on my academics, and being a part of the team is going to help me a lot because they're going to have tutors," Montgomery said. "I'm going to have mandatory study time, so it's mainly to help me push through."
During the Evansville Central regional meet, the Highlanders suffered a near disaster during their last hand off that had David Heinemann hitting the ground hard then reaching the baton up to anchor runner Ross Ellis. This time, however, the squad of Nicholas Gordon, Colin Edwards, Heinemann and Ellis had three perfect hand offs to finish in a fast time of 8 minutes, 3.35 seconds. Even though they were off the podium, the foursome felt good about their run.
"Ever since I came back, it's just better times," Heinemann said. "I also had a week of training, but it's just to be out here and do it all for them, my teammates."
"We keep track of our top 10 in all the events and, last year, our team got second," Ellis said. "Our 4 by 800 team got top 10 of all time for us. So, hopefully, we were coming in and beat it or get really freaking close. It was an 8:02-something, and this time we ran an 8:03, so we were right there."
Heinemann said the team didn't work on hand offs as might have been expected.
"We did like four run-throughs, but that's all," he said. "We were really just hoping we wouldn't mess up that bad again. We were all very ready for this. Having more than a week to prepare, it was perfect. Every day at practice we were just ready for this one moment."
"Me not taking off too early and paying a little more attention this time," Ellis said of the team briefing. "I was thinking a little more about it this time. It's a good way to end the season. We did what we set out to do, so we couldn't have ended it much better."
Floyd Central's Jon Gunn was another one of those who got kicked off the mountain in the preliminaries of the 100-meter dash. During his warm ups, Gunn's block starts had gone just like he wanted. In the race, however, when Gunn pushed off with his left foot, the blocked moved and his foot and leg went sideways. That left the Floyd Central senior back in the 21st spot in a time of 11.21 seconds and out of the finals.
"That's really annoying," said a disappointed Gunn, who will attend Western Kentucky University. "It's happened before. I did a block start before the race, and it was perfect. It stayed in place. Then, in the actual race, it slid, so I have no idea what happened. I didn't do anything different from the (practice) start to the actual race. I had a perfect start in them at the beginning of the meet too."
Perry Central's Cain Hohne was one of those who left the mountain with a smile and some hardware to take home after finishing eighth in the high jump. The senior was perfect on his first jumps from 6 feet, 2 inches through 6-6. Hohne missed on his first attempt at 6-7 but cleared the bar easily on his second try. Hohne missed on all three attempts at 6-8 but still made the podium.
"I would have been happy with 6-6, but I was hoping to get 6-8 after I cleared 6-7," he said. "I'm eighth on the podium right now. I made it to state last year, so it's two years in a row now. I'll be jumping at Purdue Fort Wayne for high jump. I think I'm already beating Purdue Fort Wayne's high jump record that they currently have. I'm hoping to get at least 7 foot in college with no problem."