Adrian Mable just wants to get to the state track meet. That's all. It's not exactly a reaching for the sky type of goal for one of the state's top hurdlers, is it?
Actually, it is. Mable, a South Side senior, opens his postseason tonight at Northrop's Spuller Stadium in the Summit Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships. While tonight's performances will not qualify him for advancement, it will go a long way in giving Mable the confidence he needs for his march to Bloomington.
Last year Mable was a favorite to place in the top nine (all state) in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, but suffered a freak injury at the Wayne Regional.
“I just need to get down (to state) healthy,” Mable said last Saturday at the Lime City Relays in Huntington. “I'm not taking anything for granted. I realize things could happen, but I'm still working as hard as I can.”
Mable was a state qualifier in both the 110 and 300 hurdles two years ago as a sophomore, winning the later at the Wayne Regional. As a junior last year, Mable was among the state's best and he was on the path to placing in the top 9 (all state) in both at the state meet in Bloomington. After winning the 110's at the Wayne Regional last year, Mable was injured in the 400-meter relay as he tried to hurdle a competitor who had fallen into his lane. You want irony? Watch as the area's top hurdler pulls a hamstring while hurdling a competitor in a non-hurdle event.
The injury was devastating. Mable was unable to compete in the 300 hurdles later on in the meet and couldn't advance to the state finals in the event he had already won (110). South Side coach Eddie Nolan knew it would be a defining moment in a young man's life.
“I think it (was a positive),” Nolan said of Mable's injury. “It gave him a lot more drive. He's been much more focused for his senior year.”
Two examples of Mable's renewed focus: not playing basketball and foregoing spring break.
“A week after football season ended Adrian was in the weight room with our sprinters,” Nolan said. “I think a year ago he was benching 180 (pounds) but this season he's up to 255. He's so much more stronger.”
Mable doesn't disagree, but he thinks his strength is more mental than physical.
“Last year really hurt, but I think it's made me a stronger person,” Mable said of the disappointment of missing the state meet. “It drove me to work harder and not be satisfied with where I am at any point in my training.”
Mable, a Indiana University signee, had never before run indoor track and the head-start he's had on this season has made a difference. He's already run 14.4 in the 110's and 39.2 in the 300's. It's given him plenty of confidence heading into the championships.
“My technique has been ahead of schedule compared to past seasons so I've been able to attack the first few hurdles,” Mable said. “And the added strength has helped my speed in between hurdles.”
Mable has the state's fifth-best time in the 110's and 10th-best time in the 300's. But as he learned last year, what he does in the regular season means little compared to the next race he runs.
SAC Boys & Girls Track and Field Championships
When: Today, 4:45 p.m.
Where: Northrop's Spuller Stadium.
Schedule: Field events begin at 4:45; girl's 3,200 relay at 5 p.m. followed by the boy's 3,200 relay, track trials and then track finals.
Girls meet: No. 3 Northrop behind the strength of its deep sprint, hurdle and jump crew is heavy team favorite. The Lady Bruins have the state's best time in the 400 relay (48.06) and 1600 relay (3:56). Northrop is led by Makelle Skelton, Dejah Arnold (state's best in the 400, 56.54) and Jaquell Taylor. Pacing Concordia is Symone Black (state's best time in the 100 hurdles, 14.84). Wayne is led by Brionna Thomas, who has run the state's fastest time in the 100 (12.14).
Boys meet: Sprinter Shamacus Ford, hurdler Devon Stone and jumper Carrington Robinson lead the No. 20-ranked Wayne Generals. Ford has the state's sixth-fastest time in the 100 (10.95) and 400 (48.81). Stone is among the state's fastest in both hurdle races and Robinson has the state's fourth-longest long jump mark (23-3.25). The trio combine to form the state's fifth-fastest 1600 relay team. Other outstanding athletes competing are North Side's Tyvon Kelly (100, 400), South Side hurdler Adrian Mable and high jumper Aaron Thomas, Northrop hurdler Tyshon Billingsley and Bishop Dwenger pole vaulter Jared Schipper.