When the Class 2A state track and field finals begin Saturday, a couple of athletes from Wiregrass Ranch won't be involved despite having great seasons.
That was the biggest thing that depressed Bulls boys track coach Tim Light. It wasn't so much that his team didn't qualify at last week's region meet, but that the athletes who expected to advance and had great seasons didn't.
Among those was Justin Williams. The senior set a school record this season in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.36 seconds. He didn't make it to the state meet for a variety of reasons.
One, of course, was the stiff competition at the region meet. The other was a quirk in the seeding system.
In postseason meets where there are multiple heats for a race, the runners who advance are determined by how they place in their heat, not how fast they ran.
If the finalists were determined by their times, Williams would have advanced to the finals, but he was not among the top runners in his heat, so he did not quality for the state meet.
"He finished eighth in times, but ninth in the heats," Light said.
Light didn't want to complain about something he couldn't control, but he wasn't exactly a fan of the seeding system.
"It's what the state does, you just have to go with it," Light said.
Not only does Williams hold the school mark in the 110 hurdles, he is also the first boys track district champion in school history.
Light was also bummed that his 4x400-meter relay team also did not make the state meet. In a matter of days, the foursome had shaved three seconds off of its time, but it wasn't enough to get over the hump to qualify for state.
Next year, Light expects the team to get to state.
"They are young, and for being young they are very composed," Light said. "They are mostly freshmen and sophomores, and they ran their hearts out."
Gabe Vurgos, who anchored the 4x400 relay team, nearly qualified in the 400 and 800 run. His leg in the relay team was clocked at :51.6.
JUST VAULT: Ridgewood pole vaulter Morgan Rasmussen should make it to the state meet. She has been clearing 10 feet in practice, and she consistently vaults 9-6 in meets.
But Rasmussen has had trouble with distractions. She joked earlier in the year that new equipment doesn't bother her, but people milling about leading up to her jump does.
Rasmussen's coach, Sue Vien, has a simple solution:
"The world isn't going to stop for her," Vien said of other vaulters walking around as Rasmussen prepares to vault.
If Rasmussen can learn to ignore others, the sky is the limit.
"She has what it takes," Vien said. "Her jumps this year have been awesome."