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Day 1 at the State Track Meet

June 6, 2014 - Al Stephenson
I spent most of today in Columbus watching the State Track Meet. I will do the same tomorrow morning. It is always a treat to watch high school athletes showcase their talents. It is a bonus when it is local athletes providing the fireworks.

This morning was the Division III running prelims. I watched Calvert's talented sprinters record the best time in both the 4 by 100 and 4 by 200 meter relays. Shane Boeher advanced in the 100 while brother Ren advanced to the finals in the 110 meter high hurdles. Both were part of the relay teams. I am concerned however for tomorrow as Shane Boeher came up limping following the 200 meter race. Hopefully it was a cramp as opposed to a pulled muscle. I will find out tomorrow morning.

In the afternoon I made my way to the shot put area across the street from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to watch Liberty Center's Nick Demaline. Last week at the regional tournament held here in Tiffin, all Demaline did was set a new Divison lll state record by throwing an incredible 68' 10.5". I just happened to be in attendance for that throw. Demaline was rewarded by T.C. officials as they dug up the sod where the ball landed and presented it to him. I said sod because he was several feet into the grass beyond the stoned throwing area.

Demaline took top honors in Columbus though he could not match his record throw of the week before. He still won the competition by several feet (he topped 66') which is incredible because these competitions are usually decided by inches.

Sporting events such as the State Track Meet frequently bring out something special as it did last year when Meghan Vogel of West Liberty Salem had the crowd on its feet cheering as she helped a distressed runner across the finish line in the 3200 meter run. Vogel was last in the event as she hit the homestretch on the final lap and came upon an Arlington runner who had collapsed. Vogel picked her up, supported her and escorted her to the finish line. It was a very emotional scene.

A similar scene unfolded at the shot put competition today. Carey's Jacob Goble qualified in the ninth and last position to make the finals round. On his last throw he needed to uncork one to make the podium. He did just that and the biggest cheerleader was Demaline, who voiced "nice throw" loudly as the ball landed. It was a nice gesture by the champion and made me smile.

The most emotional moment of the day for me occurred before the day's festivities even began. The P.A. announcer asked the crowd to rise for the playing of the National Anthem and pointed out that it was the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The crowd grew completely silent and if they were like me, they thought of those brave soldiers that stormed the beach at Normandy on that fateful day. I must admit my eyes started watering as I saluted the flag.

The view from my seats suggests that when all the elements come together at an athletic event like this one, it just makes you feel good about life. It also makes you appreciate those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can all enjoy moments like today.


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