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Judge’s call gives FC boys sectional crown

Judge’s call gives FC boys sectional crown
Judge’s call gives FC boys sectional crown
Corydon Central senior Quentin Combs urges on teammate Corey Thatcher prior to running the anchor leg of the 1600 relay at Thursday night's boys track sectional. Combs, who won four events on the night, teamed up with Thatcher, Steven Walker and Billy Saulman to set a new sectional record in the event with a win in 3:26.64. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Last Thursday night’s boys track sectional at Corydon Central had it all: scintillating races, blazing, record-setting times, beautiful weather, and plenty of controversy.
The winner of the meet wasn’t decided for more than half an hour after the final event due to a flap over the finish of the 800m run.
With the top four places already decided in the 800, Floyd Central’s Robbie Gray was closing toward the finish, trying to hold off Tristan Mannix of Graceland Christian. Gray made a desperate attempt to lean out Mannix, but fell a step or two in front of the finish line and laid on the track like a set of starting blocks.
That’s where the controversy began.
Some thought Gray never made it across the line. Others said he crossed but rolled back in front of the line. The $3,000 timing system at the track complex wasn’t able to provide concrete evidence, either. It showed the top of Gray’s head, what appeared to be his shoes, and then an indecipherable blur.
Why the hubbub over a fifth-place finish? If Floyd’s runner had finished, the Highlanders would win the sectional crown by 2.5 points. If he did not cross the line, or crossed it after Corydon’s runners, the host Panthers would win the title.
The starter’s initial ruling was that Gray crossed for fifth place. That decision was quickly appealed by Corydon head coach Kerry Zimmerman.
An appeals board was put together after the final event, and after reviewing the photos of the finish for 20 minutes, it decided to uphold the original ruling.
The win was Floyd’s first sectional since their only previous championship in 1992.
‘I told the guys that they really shouldn’t hang their heads because we ran the best meet we could. We just came up a little short,’ Zimmerman said. ‘We had a lot of great performances and set a couple of records. There’s nothing to be upset about. We just got beat.’
Panthers senior Quentin Combs was a four-time winner that night, scoring both hurdles events, the long jump and being a part of the 1600 relay team (with Steven Walker, Billy Saulman and Corey Thatcher). The foursome set a sectional record: 3:26.64.
Combs also set a new sectional record in the 300s in 39.63 to shatter the old mark of 41.34 set in 2000 by former teammate Jake Wiseman.
Corydon’s two-mile relay quartet of Shaun Kravitz, Corey Thatcher, Phillip Barth and Steven Walker stunned the crowd when it toppled Floyd and North Harrison in 8:21.17. Crawford County was fourth in the event and also moved on to Thursday’s Bloomington North Regional, which begins at 6:30 p.m. (local time).
The 400 relay team from Corydon also won, in 44.67.
Rounding out the winners for the Panthers was Jon Windell, who cleared 13-0 in the vault for the second week in a row.
Other individual advancers from Corydon include Brandon Wood (100, 200, long jump), Adam Melton (high jump), Casey Tuscherer (discus, shot put), and Aaron Dougherty (discus).
North Harrison, which finished fourth with 56 points, had a double-winner in sophomore Ryan Byrne, who won the mile and two-mile events in 4:29.66 and 9:43.31.
Byrne was in third place starting the final lap of the mile but out-dueled New Albany’s Wes Seacat and Graceland’s Mannix down the stretch to pull out the upset.
‘I don’t know where that kick came from,’ Byrne said. ‘I felt pretty good with about 300 meters to go and decided to go for it. This is pretty awesome.’
Teammate Scott Robertson was second in the 3200 in 10:01.5.
Jordan Waiz was third in the 400 to advance for the Cougars; Ben Robertson cleared 5-10 for a ticket to Bloomington, with both the 1600 and 3200 relay teams also moving on.
South Central and Lanesville were among the smallest schools at the meet but both had several outstanding performances from their athletes.
Senior Rebel Aaron Vaught continued his unbeaten streak in the 400 by nipping New Albany’s Jacob Jones at the line in 50.41 seconds.
Fellow Rebel Daniel Newman proved to be a jack of all trades with a fourth in the 110m hurdles (15.9), a fourth in the 300m hurdles (43.92), and a second in the long jump (19-1 1/2). South’s 400 relay team also advanced.
Lanesville’s top performer was David Barr, who raised a few eyebrows by finishing second in the 100 dash in 11.33. He took fourth in the long jump with 18-9.
Crawford County had a pair of individual champions: Adam Conklin won the 800 in 2:04.38, and Kenny Hunt was the area’s best in the high jump at 5-10.
New Albany’s Ronald Stringer set a sectional record in the 200 with 22.52, shattering a mark set in 1994.

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