Andy Carr didn’t think Saturday night’s 3,200 meters state final was going the way he wanted.
Not generally regarded as a big “kicker,” the Columbus North senior was hoping to go out fast and stay near the front of the pack.
So when he went through the midway point in 4 minutes, 40 seconds, just behind the leaders, he was a little worried.
But on an unseasonably cool June night at Indiana University, Carr found that closing speed in a big way.
He moved from seventh to third on the final lap, then held off a pack of hard-charging runners down the final straightaway to take third in a personal-best 9 minutes, 13.50 seconds.
“I thought it was going to become kind of a kickers’ race, and I wouldn’t be able to stand up against them,” Carr said.
“But it worked out well. I was able to work my way up slowly and was blessed with just enough at the end to make a solid finish. I wasn’t expecting to do that.”
Southport’s Clayton Bowie ran 9:06.63 to win the event for the second consecutive year. Carmel’s Ben Veatch took second in 9:13.04.
Carr’s time was a personal-best by six seconds.
“I was hoping for a PR, and I was thrilled to have that,” Carr said.
“I was very thankful for how this turned out. Sometimes you have to trust your training, so that’s what I did.”
Carr wasn’t the only Bull Dog distance runner to earn a medal Saturday. Senior Kaden Eaton finished ninth in the 1,600 in 4:18.30.
Eaton seized the lead with 600 meters remaining, but couldn’t hang on.
“Typically the third lap, that’s when it gets the hardest,” Eaton said. “I thought ‘Well, I can counter that by trying to make the third lap my fastest lap and then keep that finishing speed through the last lap.
“I felt good,” he said. “I felt like with my racing type, that was going to be my best chance to try to solidify a spot near the front. A lot of the other guys had faster closing speed than what I had left.”
North seniors Andrew Baldwin, Michael Keller, Sam Ford and junior Joe Wright finished 14th in the 4x800 relay in 8:05.88. Junior Seth Williams was 22nd in the 3,200 in 9:38.81.
Jennings County senior Tom Alsup finished fifth in the discus with a throw of 161 feet, 1 inch. He was fourth going into the last of six throws, but was passed for fourth by eight inches.
“I threw pretty well — not to the best of my ability — but I can’t be too unhappy with a fifth-place finish at the state meet,” Alsup said. “It’s better than the years I’ve had in the past at the state meet.”
Alsup missed making the finals of the shot put by only seven inches. He finished 12th at 54-8½.
“I threw well, but there were a lot of real good guys,” Alsup said. “This was a good state meet to end on.”
Columbus East senior Jason Kimmet ended his career on a high note, placing sixth in the 400 in a school-record 49.27.
“This track is always fast, so you knew it was going to be a good time,” Kimmet said. “I just had to leave it all out there. I wasn’t expecting to get sixth, but when I saw it up there (on the scoreboard), it was a good way to end all four years of high school.”
Kimmet, who was seeded 10th, was in the middle of three heats and won that heat.
“When you’re (seeded) top nine, there’s always a lot more pressure because you’re expected to medal,” Kimmet said. “When you’re not, you have less nerves about it.”
East senior James Robinson finished 14th in the 300 hurdles in 39.50. He was shooting for the school record of 38.97.
“I thought I ran pretty fast,” Robinson said. “I wish I could have done better and broke the school record. But I gave it my best. Since I began track in seventh grade, making it to state was always my No. 1 dream.”
Also for the Olympians, senior Jacob Hampton, sophomore Steven O’Neal, senior Chase Banister and Kimmett finished 14th in the 4x400 relay (3:22.93). Banister, freshman Cam Wilson, Robinson and senior Sean Owens took 16th in the 4x100 relay. Senior Paul Baker was 23rd in the 1,600 (4:26.87).
“I can’t complain about it,” Baker said. “I made it to state, and I can’t be too upset about it. In college, I’ll continue to drop time.”
Seymour senior Ben Coomer earned a medal with an eighth-place finish in the pole vault at a school-record 14-9. Senior Mitch McCoy was 14th in the 800 (1:57.16).