Cardinal senior Brandon Wicks achieved two goals in the finals of the 300-meter hurdles at the Division III regional track meet at Navarre High School on Friday.
Wicks finished fourth in the race to qualify for next week’s state track meet and his time of 39.71 seconds set a new school record.
“It’s absolutely amazing right now to be able to go to state,” Wicks said. “I have worked so hard. I’m just speechless.”
Lance Fisher set the old school record of 40.7 seconds back in 2003.
Wicks, who came up short in his bid for the regional finals in the 100-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles, set out on Friday with the state meet and school record in his sights.
“I knew I had it in me,” he said. “I knew I had the speed and the endurance to get it. It had to be a good day and today was a perfect day outside and plus I was fresh. I didn’t have to run my 110s and the 100 like I normally do, so I wasn’t tired. My legs were fresh and with the help of my coaches and my dad, they told me to keep stretching and stay hydrated. That’s what I did. I stayed hydrated and stayed fresh and I was ready for that race.”
For Wicks, it wasn’t just his physical preparation that led to his success.
His strategy was to stick with top hurdler Chad Zallow of Warren JFK. Zallow went on to win the regional title with a new meet record of 37.03 seconds with Wicks close behind.
“Chad Zallow was a guy I knew I had to follow,” Wicks said. “If I stuck with him I knew I would have a good time and that’s what I did. I tailed him the whole time. He’s amazing at what he does. He’s so fast. I was able to stick with him and that helped me focus on the race and keep running faster. I was going through all the hurdles and I saw him and kept telling myself I’ve got to keep going and trail him and that’s what I did.”
Garaway’s Connor Troyer was second (39.11) and Shenandoah’s Caleb Moore finished third with a time of 39.35 seconds.
“It was a good competitive race,” Wicks said. “I’m so thankful to be in this position to make it out and go to state.”
Now that he has cracked the 40 second mark, Wicks hopes to break his own school record to close out his career on the podium at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium next weekend.
“I know I can run it now,” he said. “I’m capable of running in the high 30s. I broke 40 already. That was my big goal and also to break the school record so I’ve got those two on the checklist and now it’s just to PR my best. I made my goal to make it to state and I’m here. Now I have to run better than I did before.”
The state track meet begins on Friday, June 5.