BLOOMINGTON – Lane Hawkins wanted to fly like an eagle, to the state. His spirit carried him there.
Hawkins soared to great heights and cleared 6-foot-8, matching his own school record, while winning the regional title in the high jump on Thursday night at Bloomington North. The top three in each event qualified for the IHSAA state finals at Indiana University on May 31.
BNL’s Elijah Grider (second in the 300 meter low hurdles) and the 400 relay team (second place by .03 seconds) also advanced to the state meet as the Stars finished sixth in the team competition with 35 points. Bloomington North claimed the team crown with 98 points.
Hawkins, limited by stress and anxiety, broke free of those extra weights. Once he cleared the automatic state standard of 6-4 1/2, he was free to wing it.
“Tonight I had confidence,” Hawkins said. “I had nothing to lose. I was just going to jump and have fun. That was the difference. After getting the state standard, it lifted a 100-pound weight off my shoulders. Every jump after that was easy cruising.”
Hawkins, who had been hampered by a sore takeoff leg, missed his first two attempts at 6-6 before clearing that mark. He nailed his second jump at 6-8, then clipped the bar with his heel on his best shot at 6-10.
“We just told him to relax, the pressure was off, forget the height,” BNL coach Brett Deckard said. “Just jump like you’ve been taught. Once the pressure went away he really came through. He expected to be back to the state and fought through that really well.”
BNL’s 400 relay of Jamey Deckard, Drew Shoufler, Landon Grissom and Wyatt Martin combined to clock 44.08. Bloomington North posted 44.05 to win that title.
“It was awesome,” Jamey Deckard said. “The handoffs were quick, we didn’t have a loss of speed. That kid from North just flew down the home stretch and passed Wyatt, but it was great.
“A lot of us were ready for school to get out. Nobody would have been upset if we had not made it, but getting to state has really put a fire into everyone. We have more left in us.”
Grider, seeded third in the race, finished second in 40.63 seconds (matching the school record). Bloomington South’s Mischa Dzubay won that event in 40.28.
“He ran really well,” coach Deckard said. “He’s come on strong as the season went on, he just kept getting better and better. He wanted it, he was really hungry.”
Other competitors for the Stars included the. 3200 relay (11th in 8:54.47), Taylor Porter (6th in the 100 high hurdles in 15.62), Shoufler (7th in the 100 in 11.50), Cooper Holmes (6th in the 1600 in 4:39.54), Chance Pemberton (15th in the 400 in 53.87), Isaac Williams (13th in the 800 in 2:06.68), Cale Bunch (12th in the discus in 138-6), Alaric Juhl (14th in the shot put at 45-0), Alan Anderson (8th in the pole vault at 12-6) and the 1600 relay (10th in 3:38.18).
“I knew coming in we had the possibility of getting eight kids out if everything went perfect,” Deckard said. “So six was pretty good. They ran well.
“We’ve had a great year. And next week will be icing on the cake. Just getting there is amazing from where we started the season.”