Tennessee MileSplit writer Ted Paduck shares his feelings about what he'll miss about the state track meet.
The State Track & Field meet is a big event for me. The last few years I've been there in a coaching capacity and helping cover the meet for TN Mile Split. Not doing that this season, well, I'm not really sure it's actually sunk in yet.
My first State meet was when it was at GPS in Chattanooga. From the Memphis area, that is a long trip but well worth it. I was in a kind of start of team at the time and brought one athlete. A 100 and 200 sprinter. About 32 seconds of action. Like I said, long trip.
What first stood out to me at the meet was the T-shirts. Yeah that's one of the things I look forward to is getting a t-shirt. Being a long-time runner myself, I have running t-shirts from races I've run back in late 70s. So yea, t-shirts have some importance to me. So seeing a t-shirt with track & field plastered all over it was a no brainer for me, I had to get one. Next year, I did the same.I've got a t-shirt from every track season since then. I get a little intense with the shirt thing, I know. So that's something I will miss about the State meet.
Another great memory from the State meet is the intensity of the moments and the feeling of proud relief. By helping at the meet on occasion and being a photographer covering the meet, I've been lucky to get maybe a little different perspective than most. Athletes get nervous.
At the state level, it's a state level nervousness that otherwise you may not see from a distance. What I miss is seeing that intensity in those athletes. Every single athlete on the track, runway or ring is totally committed to their performance. Once they are finished and get to stand on the podium and receive their medal, then they have that look of proud relief. That's another thing I'll miss is seeing the intensity and the aftermath as they accept their medal and gingerly walk off the podium. A proud day for sure.
And when I say intensity, that is clearly an understatement. These are the best athletes from each of their divisions.
One of the things I'll miss is watching athletes run the distance events on the track. And if you've been around the last several years, that means you know the Winders family pretty well. They are consistently running at the top or if not, in the runner-up spot.
If you watched the MileSplit video of the race last season, just as our own Will Boling announced, these Winders boys aren't always worried about the time, they want to win and winning is something they do regularly. Eight laps around the track, and usually when it's hot and humid, and when we have such talented athletes competing. I'm going to miss that intensity for sure.
But I can't go without also mentioning another race from last year that I am certainly going to miss. That's the 300M hurdle race, with just a nod to the 100M hurdle D2-AA hurdle race as well.
Michella Diebenow came into the 300 hurdles race as a favorite. Actually, she came into both races a favorite, the 100 and 300 hurdles. We had a few of these athletes over the years, you know, they come into the meet as the favorite and what gets them a win under that kind of pressure, is their intensity for the sport. If you watch the 300m hurdles video, that intensity is very obvious. That's the kind of intensity that I am going to miss about the State track and field meet.
Of course, I would also like to point out that in the midst of all that intensity, a little humor might just slip in. Watch the D2-AA 100M Hurdles race and at the end you'll see the 300M champ do a nice highlight reel tumble.
What funny is if you watch the tumble, Michella rolls up, stands upright, and almost as she is saying... I meant to do that!
Now that's intensity for sure!
So yea, there are a lot of things I'll miss about the State meet. T-shirts, the athletic intensity, the relaxed looks knowing the season just finished and you can rest. It's intense at the State Track & Field meet. It's meant to be and I will miss that this year for sure!
See you - eventually - on the track again,