Written by Evan Doolittle
There is a phrase used to describe the Morgan indoor track team that will without a doubt be repeated throughout the state this week, “Morgan Hallways Make Hurdlers.” This is because while other larger schools have race tracks to practice on, Morgan has produced two formidable hurdlers from its dusty, narrow hallways. After an amazing finish at Saturday’s Class S State Championship, a first place victory by Will Teas and a commendable third place finish by me, Morgan will be well represented at State Opens this weekend. In four years of running hurdles at Morgan, I have never participated as close a race as the finals last Saturday. The finish line photo speaks for itself. It is nothing less than a “photo finish.” In third place is me, reaching towards the line, trying to gain a few milliseconds over my opponents, in second place is Daniel Santalla of Northwestern, and in first is Will Teas who fell across the finish line after tripping over the final hurdle. The finish time is determined by when the runner’s head and shoulders crosses the line, but as the dust settled on the finals it was unclear who had won, Will or Dan. Will, unsure of whether or not he won, examined the road burn going up the side of his arms and his legs and waited for the times to appear on the display, but it would be a while before a definite time was given. The timing officials examined the finish line picture and deliberated for nearly 45 minutes, but in the end it was decided that the class S state champion was Will Teas of Morgan, by .01 seconds.
As a senior I had hoped to win States this year, and have my name hang on a banner in the gym for decades. It’s a hard thing to manage, especially when looking at the finish line picture, seeing a state championship literally just out of my reach. But in a race that comes down to hundredths of a second, one just has to hope that luck is on their side. Technical skill and speed can only take a hurdler so far, but it is truly luck that puts a hurdler in first place. Will definitely had the skill to put him at the front of the race, but I think that last hundredth of a second was a matter of impeccable luck. But I don’t say this begrudgingly, because every hurdler has a race where luck seems to be on their side, it’s just how hurdling goes. To any hurdler who crosses the line scraped, bruised and bleeding, it is a well earned victory and I admire that.
Will and I have pushed each other persistently up until the state championship and at Opens this Saturday, we will be the only two hurdlers from the same team. Coaches often describe us as complimentary runners. When racing one another, Will has the advantage of speed between hurdles, while I have the better form going over them. Before the beginning of the preliminary race at last Saturday’s class S championship, I asked Will what he does to prepare for a race. His response was “The more nervous I am the better. It’s the adrenaline that makes me run faster and I rely on it.” My reply was the complete opposite. I need to be calm and collected before a race or else I’ll misstep and knock into hurdles. While Will is pacing back and forth getting psyched in the minutes before a race, I’ll be sitting on the ground collecting my thoughts. This is why the competition on Saturday for Will and I is so unique, two hurdlers from the same school, who run in completely different styles, competing against each other at State Opens. There must be something special about running in the Morgan hallways.
Will Teas and Evan Doolittle finished their indoor track season strong. Teas placed 9th in the state with a time of 8.12, and Doolittle followed closely, placing 11th with a time of 8.22