Motivation not a problem for track state finalistsMay 31, 2013
By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer
Darian Mehne, Morgan Meyer and Sienna Crews will face plenty of obstacles Saturday at the track and field state finals in Bloomington.
Seeing serious athletes competing in a whirlwind atmosphere that’s anything but a typical, regular-season dual meet has a way of presenting challenges.
But one thing won’t be a hindrance: motivation.
This has been true all season, even though all three locals competitors have already qualified for the state finals at least once — twice, in Mehne’s case.
“Going to state made me realize there’s better (athletes) than me out there and it made me want to go harder and get there again,” Mehne said. “Just to see the talent that Indiana has and always going up to state, I just love being able to be there. … To me, that’s an honor just to be in the prelims.”
Two years ago, Mehne advanced in the 100 and 200 meters before qualifying again for the 200 last season. This weekend, the senior will compete in the 100 and long jump. In the last two years, Mehne has lingered around the track to watch the finals of the 100, 200 and long jump. She spoke in awe of the competitors she saw in prior seasons, saying advancing to the state finals in her field event was extra special “because the girls that jump there are crazy.”
“That’s definitely extra motivation, extra excitement,” Jasper coach Dean Jerger added, referencing Mehne’s qualification in the long jump.
Mehne is seeded 12th in the event, prompting Jerger to say it’s realistic she’ll register a top-nine leap, allowing her to advance to the finals and earn a medal and an all-state finish. His optimism is understandable, given Mehne’s seed was based on her regional jump of 17 feet, 4 1/2 inches, less than her sectional-breaking mark of 17-10 3/4 she set the previous week. Seeds for the state finals are based solely on regional achievement, so Mehne knows she’s already in the upper echelon of jumpers. That’s where she wanted to be this season, allowing her to not stay content after already advancing to the state finals twice.
“It’s easy to set your goals, even if it is the highest spot,” Jerger said. “You think, ”˜What else could there be?’ There’s always those benchmarks that you have to set to motivate yourself.”
For Meyer, it was simply making it back. The Southridge senior finished 15th in the discus last season, not feeling overwhelmed or nervous. It also provided an opportunity for her to see how other top throwers in the state executed their technique, even if she had been teammates with 2012 SHS graduate and two-time state finals winner Cassie Wertman.
“It was nice to know to see how other people throw because I’m always used to seeing how Cassie throws,” Meyer said.
“After I’ve been there once, I knew that I was capable of throwing there again, so I just wanted to prove to myself that it wasn’t a one-time deal.”
“Once they make it, they always want to go back because it's just such a great experience,” Southridge coach Elaine Main added.
Jerger said he and Mehne shared “an unspoken thing” about returning to the state finals. Likewise, Heritage Hills coach Dawn Mix didn’t address the subject with Crews, a sophomore who will run in the 1,600 meters for the second straight season.
“I think it’s expected that she’s going to every year,” Mix said. “She’s just such an amazing athlete; she wants that, she hates getting beat, that pushes her even harder.”
Mehne and Meyer speak with the same conviction about their accomplishments. Saturday, they’ll be where they want, and not just for the first time.
“It’s an honor to be able to go once,” Main said. “(But to make it back), it puts you into one of those elite classes of athletes.”
Contact John Patishnock at email@example.com.
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