|Division II State Track: Rossford's Durden 2nd in high jump, Eastwood boys 400 relay finishes 8th (6-2-12)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Saturday, 02 June 2012 14:53|
But the Rossford High School sophomore changed his mind and said he decided to join the team just “a couple of practices before the start of the season.”
The decision turned out to be a good one. PHOTO GALLERY
Durden finished second in the high jump Saturday morning at the Division II state meet in Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
Durden’s performance was one of two All-Ohio efforts by athletes from Wood County high schools in Division II. Eastwood’s 400 relay team of Isaiah Conkle, Kyle Dierker, John Rogers and Brennan Seifert finished eighth.
The top eight finishers in each event stand on the awards podium and earn All-Ohio honors. MEET RESULTS
Durden cleared 6-5 to finish as the runnerup to Columbus Bishop Watterson sophomore Joe Mankovecky at 6-7.
“I was going to be happy getting on the podium and to be the runnerup in the state is great,” Durden said. “I didn’t expect to be state runnerup.”
Durden eventually decided to try track after some encouragement from his friends.
“I really didn’t like track, but once I tried it, I liked it,” Durden said, adding he originally was going to concentrate on the workouts for his other sports (basketball, football) during the spring.
“I told my coach I didn’t want to come out for the team and he left me alone about it, but people started giving me motivation to do it,” Durden added. “So I wanted to try it and I started liking it. My friends do it and have a good time, and I wanted to have a good time, too.”
Durden struggled at first with his event, clearing only 5-6 and 5-8.
But he quickly improved. He eventually made 6-2 and 6-5, and won the Northern Buckeye Conference championship May 12 with a jump of 6-7. He also cleared 6-7 to finish second in last week’s regional.
“Midway through the season is when I really started to improve,” Durden said. “I still don’t have the greatest form, but it’s getting better and I still have room to improve.”
Durden was pleased with his jumps Saturday, except for his third and final attempt at 6-7.
He said the sole of his shoe ripped off on his approach to the bar.
“I felt I like I was going to make that attempt,” Durden said. “But when I was building my momentum to jump, it ripped right off. I jumped well today. Everything felt really good.”
Durden already was looking forward to returning to Columbus immediately after his competition.
He’s the son of former standout Rossford athlete Manny Durden, and his uncle is Lazelle Durden, another former great athlete at Rossford.
“This makes me more hungry for the next two years,” Durden said. “I’m looking forward to this again and getting two more shots at (a state title) would be great. The crowd and the environment were great. I love this type of meet.”
Eastwood’s 400 relay had a time of 43.52 for eighth-place.
“We placed pretty well, but we wanted to be higher,” Conkle said.
The Eagles tied for the fifth-fastest time during Friday’s semifinals.
“The race went pretty well. We left it all out on the track,” Dierker said.
Three of the four members of the relay will return next season. Conkle and Rogers are juniors and Seifert is a freshman. Dierker is the only senior.
“We need one more guy to step up next year,” Conkle said. “Today motivates us for next year. Our number one goal is to be back here next year.”
Conkle also finished ninth in the 100 with a time of 1142.
Also for Rossford, sophomore Jessie Pietrasz finished 12th in the girls 800 with a time of 2:22.14, and junior Ryan Clay was 13th in the boys 800 with a time of 1:59.83.
|Last Updated on Monday, 04 June 2012 11:21|
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