Nothing that Wayne High School long jumper Jordan Latimer tried was going right at Saturday’s state track and field meet.
Plagued by fouls, he listed into the finals with just one good jump of 21 feet, six inches. That was his shortest recorded effort of the season and he made the finals in last — ninth — by one inch.
Then it got worse. The junior fouled his first two jumps and was still slumping in last with one final takeoff remaining.
“I thought I fouled again,” he said.
Instead, Latimer flew 23 feet, 4.25 inches to go from last to first and win the Division I event. It was a storybook ending in a season-ending meet that saw few area boys capture wins.
Versailles, fueled by distance standout Sam Prakel’s farewell appearance, placed third among D-II boys for the best area finish. Minster was fourth in D-III, Thurgood Marshall fifth in D-II and Wayne sixth in D-I.
Latimer’s clutch final jump knocked defending champ Jalin Marshall of Middletown down to sixth.
Latimer was well over 24 feet in most of his fouls. He countered by progressively inching back his start a full foot that final fateful takeoff.
“That was crazy,” he said. “We had to deal with the pressure. This is what champions do. I had to fight through even though it was ugly, but I still got the gold medal. That’s what it’s all about.”
Latimer later added a fourth in the high jump (6-7) to account for most of Wayne’s 27 points. Marshall was second (6-8) on fewer misses.
The six meets – three boys and girls each – drew 14,831 spectators.
- Tippecanoe senior Sam Wharton twice had come within less than one second of cracking nine minutes in the 3,200. Second in the eight-lap race as a junior, Wharton wasn’t pushed in winning the D-I race in a personal best 8:56.61 that just missed the state record.
“I hadn’t quite had the track season that I wanted to,” he said. “That sub-9 had always evaded me since state last year. I wanted either a state title or sub-9. To get both is beyond my wildest dreams.”
His next team race will be as a Stanford Cardinal.
- Thurgood Marshall’s Vayante’ Copeland won the D-II 400 (48.22) and anchored the Cougars to first in the 4x400 relay (3:19.55).
The junior started running track just last year to better prepare for football. An outstanding running back and defensive back, he’s already had offers from Michigan State, Louisville and Cincinnati and was invited to a camp at Ohio State today.
“I wanted to dedicate this win to my team and my coaching staff for everything that we’ve been through,” he said. “It’ll be nice to win the 400 back to back.”
- Prakel swept the D-II 1,600 (4:14.00) and 800 (1:52.32). As a junior last year, he won the 1,600 and 3,200.
“Overall, it was a successful weekend but we were a little short of what we were hoping for. It was a nice way to wrap up our careers.”
- Stivers senior Jerard Wilson won the D-II 110 high hurdles (14.31) but was miffed that he didn’t burn a faster time.
- Wes Haney of Emmanuel Christian won the D-III 800 (1:53.74). Also, Clayton Murphy of Tri-Village set a meet record in the D-III 1,600 (4:11.72).