To smack the last hurdle and end up face down on the track, dazed and confused, is… human.
But to bounce back from a near catastrophe like that and blow away the competition in the finals of that same 300-meter hurdles event, and running away with the 2B State crown, well, that’s gotta’ be… devine.
By all accounts, it is.
“I’ve never seen someone so happy,” Head Coach Darrin Scheffer said. “He was beaming.”
Friday Harbor senior Willie Blackmon crawled across the finish line to place third in his preliminary heat, good enough to qualify for the finals, where he then turned in the top time among a field of eight, 40.96 secs, to earn the title of 300-meter state 2B champion at the finals of the 2B state championship, Saturday, May 30, at WSU, in Cheney.
Not his fastest time, (Blackmon holds the school record, at 40.34) but the four-year track team veteran didn’t appear disturbed in the least, Scheffer said.
“He said to me, ‘Coach, it’s not my fastest time but I guess it’s good enough to win’,” Scheffer said.
Blackmon is one of three Friday Harbor athletes to qualify for the 2B state competition.
Sophomore Sarah Rist finished fifth in the javelin, with a 116-feet 11-inch throw, and junior Nick Armstrong placed 15th in the 800-meter run, at two minutes, 13.29 secs. Armstrong and Rist were newcomers to the Friday Harbor Track & Field team this season.
A year ago, Blackmon missed the chance to compete at the state championship after suffering an injury in a post-season regional meet. He competed at the Division 1A state championships as both a freshman and sophomore. His first-place finish at the state track and field championship is the first for Friday Harbor since Nate Smith won the long jump and high jump in 2002, as a junior.