(March 1, 2013) Stephen Decatur sophomore Lucas Duker seemingly followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Greg Petersen, when he won the 3A indoor track high jump state title last week.
“Greg won last year and he helped me. He taught me,” Duker said of Petersen, who graduated from Decatur last May. “It’s nice to have a state champion teach me to be a state champion.”
While it is difficult to win a state title, Coach Jody Stigler said, it is surprising for a school to take home back-to-back state titles in an event, especially one from the Eastern Shore because the competition across the bridge is so fierce.
“It’s rare just to have a state champion. Greg won it last year and now Lucas won this year, which is kind of a cool thing,” Stigler said. “It’s also rare for a sophomore to do well in an event like that, where you have to be really strong.
“I knew [Lucas] would be at the top if he jumped well,” he said.
Duker’s best jump of the season was 6 feet going into the state championship meet, held Feb. 19, at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
Duker missed on his first attempt at 6 feet last week, but flew over the bar on his second. Devin Swinton of Woodlawn High School also cleared 6 feet, but it took him three tries, so Duker was declared the winner.
“I knew I could win once I saw what the top guys were jumping,” Duker said. “I think I did good. I wish I got 6 [feet] 2 [inches], though, but I’m still pretty excited to win. It felt pretty good.”
Duker received a medal for his achievement. He will also get his name and accomplishment put on a banner, which will be displayed in Stephen Decatur’s gym.
Duker is the only Bayside Conference athlete to win a state crown this year. He is also the 2013 Bayside Conference and 3A East Region high jump champion.
Three other Seahawks also competed at states.
Junior Katie Collins finished in third place in the pole vault event. Before the meet, her best vault was 8 feet. During the state competition, she vaulted 8 feet 6 inches.
Junior Kacie Moore tied for eighth place with Hereford’s Kaity Lynch and Marissa Wells. All three vaulted 7 feet.
Senior Patrick Phillips threw the shot put 46 feet 4.25 inches, good for seventh place. He holds the Bayside title in the event.
The top eight in each state event were presented with an award.
“I was pretty pleased with the performance. We took four to states and they all placed,” Stigler said.
Stigler thought the season went well, overall. He has trained athletes at Decatur before, but this was his first season as head coach of the indoor track teams.
The boys’ squad captured its second consecutive Bayside title, while the girls’ team finished in second place.
“That’s a big accomplishment and having a state champion is a great accomplishment,” he said. “I wish we would have qualified more for states, but in our region it’s tough to do. The 3A East is the toughest region in the state.”
A number of the athletes are set to compete in outdoor track. Practices begin today, March 1.