KADOKA –– Bad weather has canceled most of the early April track meets, but there was blue sky and sunshine last Tuesday, April 12, in Kadoka at the Harry Weller Invite. The Philip Scotties captured the Boys and Girls team titles.
The most interesting contest developed in the Boys high jump, where Lyman County’s Phyzon Milton seemed a sure bet to win. He cleared the lower heights with easy room to spare, but the field hung tough with him.
Oelrich’s Louie Her Many Horses impressed onlookers, by actually scissor kicking over 5-3, eschewing the favored Fosbury Flop, popularized by 1968 Olympic champion Dick Fosbury, and the standard high jump technique for the past half century. Previous to the flop the bar had been mainly straddled, which takes far less practice than mastering the flop technique. Even so, in his first attempt at high jump, Pine Ridge senior Ilijah Coleman came within a whisker of clearing 5-11 and qualifying for the state Class A meet utilizing the flop technique.“I really didn’t know what I was trying to do,” Coleman said after the event. “In Todd County (meet held last week) I did long jump and got a 19-6, so I thought I’ll try something new. I believe if I just train (at high jump), I can get a lot better.” When Milton failed by a whisker three times at 5-9, that left only Coleman and Lower Brule junior Marlowe LaRoche in the competition. LaRoche favored his leg for a few attempts and appeared in real trouble, but he walked it off, and although both he and Coleman failed to clear 5-11, LaRoche won on fewer attempts. LaRoche would also place third in the 800 meters, with a time of 2:22.3, but Coleman had a truly impressive day. Not only did he place second in the high jump, he won the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:45.3. He also placed third in the 400 meters (the first time he had competed at that distance), with a 55.4, and second in the 3200 meters, at 11:24.7. That is pretty impressive just in terms of results, in scoring 32 points of the team 39 points for Pine Ridge, but also speaks to a versatility that warrants closer scrutiny.
Sprinters have different muscle type than distance runners. A sprinter has fast twitch fibers which burn fuel rapidly, achieving explosive speed, but also tire quickly. Distance runners have slow twitch fibers, and although they can not achieve great speed, they can hold a good pace for a much longer time than a sprinter. Most athletes are either/ or, and the Kadoka meet was no exception.
Coleman is like a fair number of exceptional Lakota athletes in that physiologically they have a critically competitive balance of both types of fibers. This is rare in any population group, but less rare among Lakota. So, although Coleman doesn’t have the raw foot speed for a 100 meter dash, he can get well under a minute at 400 meters, probably high jump over six feet, win races at one mile, and stay right with the leaders at two miles. An athlete that versatile does not come along everyday.
“Right now I am trying to figure out what I’m good in,” Coleman said after his first event, the high jump. “I would have to say the mile, because I haven’t tried the 400 yet.”
Coleman is optimistic about the 400 because previously he had tried the 800, running a 2:09, which would have also won in Kadoka last Tuesday had he run that time there. Coleman said “I started sprinting pretty hard in that first lap” and then he hung on the final lap to get his good time. But it made him wonder how he would have done had he just run the 400 meters.
Physically, Coleman resembles a sprinter, but he clearly has a long range gas tank to go along with his horse power, and it will be interesting to see how many events he can qualify for state in.
Class B Philip had a balanced team in both the Boys and Girls divisions. The boys won with a total of 107, being strong in the throwing and relay events. Lyman County, by virtue of its powerful sprinters, particularly Korder Cropsey at 100 meters (11.2) and 400 meters (50.5), was second with 74; Bennett County had 54, Faith 42 and Pine Ridge 39.
Philip also won the Girls title with 129 points, New Underwood second with 75, Faith 63, Lyman County 53, and McIntosh 50. Philip scored 18 points in the 1600 meters (1-Ellie Coyle 5:50.1; 2-Dilyn Terkildsen 5:56.6), and 14 points in the pole vault, where Cheyenne Pinney cleared 8-3 for first.
Snow fell earlier this week; the Kadoka Invitational is set for Tuesday, April 19, and the Wall Invite for Friday, April 22, if the weather cooperates.
(James Giago Davies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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