LOUISVILLE — The Mercer County 3,200-meter relay team was excited enough that it had shattered their own school record by 5 seconds.
Then, they got a state title out of it.
The team of Landon Souder, Matthew Gammon, Dean Tyler and Alex Bosse ran the 3,200 relay in 8 minutes, 5.47 seconds to break their own school record set last week and finished second to East jessamine at the Class AA¿State Track and Field Championship at the University of Louisville. But a few minutes later, the Jaguars were disqualified after lead runner Cody Collins was called for impeding Gammon, giving Mercer first place.
“That was the best race I’ve ever been a part of, the most fun at least,” said Souder, the team’s anchor runner. “If they hadn’t clipped Matt Gammon on the first leg, we would have gotten some extra time there. If you wold have told me we would have done five seconds better from what our time was at region, I would have thought you were absolutely crazy.”
But it was Mercer than ran crazy fast from the outset, blasting its regional time that set a school mark and had them with the top time coming in.
“I ran my PR (personal record). I finally broke two minutes,”¿Gammon said of his first leg. “And I handed off to my team and they took care of the rest of it.”
Bosse, who ran the second leg, said the Titans knew East was going to be team to beat.
“That was the main goal of our team was to beat that team. We beat them in region and we came out here and it was the competitive edge that made us better,”¿Bosse said. “I got the handoff and I ran against Cody Parks, who I ran against the region, and he got the handoff a little before I did. So I tried to catch up with him and right at the end, he just pulled away.
“We have all new people on the team this year. This is my first year running track, so I was just glad to help them.”
Tyler had confidence that state would bring out the best in his team.
“I think there’s always something in the air at state that always makes people run faster and faster. Louisville’s track is really fast, and it’s easy to lose track of what you’re running, so we had to keep focused,” he said. “East is a really good team. We had to go all out because that’s what they do, go all out. I knew we had it in us, we just had to do it.”
To finish off the day, Mercer took advantage of Central’s disqualification to finish second in the 1,600 relay in a time of 3:27.29.
Considering Isaiah Burrus and James Johnson were out of the race due to injury, Gammon could not be more pleased with the race. Jawan Smith, Souder and Kobe Ford joined Gammon on the state runner-up team.
“I’m satisfied with third. You like to win or place second, but things happen,” Gammon said before the disqualification was announced.
Souder fell on his hip at the end of the 3,200 relay and pulled up during the second lap of the 800 while in position for a high place.
“Me and (Matt)¿Hall from East Jessamine hit, and when I tried to catch myself, I landed right on that leg,”¿said Souder, who was told by his coaches to quit running.
Mercer placed in seven events Friday and finished sixth as a team with 32.5 points.
Ford, an eighth grader, finished fourth in the long jump, getting a personal-best 21 feet, 6 1/2 inches on his first jump.
“I worked real hard on it this week. That’s what most of my practice went towards this week,” Ford, who pulled out of the 200 to stay fresh for the long jump, said. “I worked on a lot of form. When I was at West Jessamine (Middle) last year, I had a long jump trainer and he was teaching me a form that I had never done. I had always just run and jumped in the air, so that helped a lot.”
Also for Mercer, Chase Brown finished fourth in the shot put with a toss of 48-3, Matthew Ohsmstede finished seventh in the discus with a throw of 137-9, Aaron Miller was seventh in the pole vault with a height of 11 feet, and Darion¿Lewis was seventh in the triple jump with an effort of 44-1 1/4.
For Casey County, Micah Smith finished seventh in the high jump.