Caleb Kerr 6/10/2012 Blog – Regionals, State and Midwest Meet of Champions!
If you read my last blog, you saw that there had been a stomach virus going around in my family before
regionals. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to avoid that virus, I started feeling sick the day before
the meet. I couldn’t keep very much food down during that day, and although I felt marginally better
Thursday, I felt pretty weak from lack of fuel. It was a last minute decision to go ahead with the 4×800
relay, I decided that if the guys had worked so hard to get here, I couldn’t leave them one step short.
The first three legs did their job and put me in a position where all I had to do was maintain our place
to qualify, so I ran as gingerly as I could to a 1:59. I actually felt pretty strong during the relay, but on
my warm-up for the 3200, I started feeling really sick again. The 3200 was one of the roughest races
I’ve ever ran. Our split at 1200 was very slow, and I knew the likelihood of me having a good kick at
the end was pretty low. With this in mind I knew my best shot was either hitting the standard or a call
back so I went ahead and took the lead and basically committed suicide out front for the next 3 laps.
This drove the pace back down and although Connor, Jackson, and Tyler ended up kicking me down in
the last quarter, I was pretty confident that my time would be good enough to qualify. Thankfully I was
the 1st callback and didn’t miss out on my last chance at a state medal.
I dropped the 4×8 at the state meet in order to focus on the 3200, the guys were very supportive of my
decision and were aware that this was the plan long before the postseason. Pre-race I was extremely
nervous about what strategy to take until I got some great advice from Tate Schienbein, my future
boilermaker teammate. He told me to be conservative over the 1st mile and feel the race out before
making any moves. He also said that many guys will go out just as hard as they would at any other
meet, but the nerves of the state meet will make that pace feel much worse so they’ll fade much more
quickly than usual. I’m typically a go hard from the gun racer but after seeing how my last 3 state
meets have played out, his advice made a lot of sense. During the first few laps I cruised along in the
back of the pack and watched everyone push and shove at the front. Once the race started stringing
out, I began to work my way through the crowd alongside Connor Sorrells, Carl Smith, and Johnnie
Guy. We hit 1600 at 4:36 and I saw Chris Kelsey take off for the front. At the same time, Connor, Carl,
Johnnie and I slid into the chase pack and started to separate from the field. Carl and I went back and
forth for the next 2 laps until Connor went by with 800 to go and I followed him around. Johnnie, Carl,
and I stayed together until 400, Johnnie had the best kick of us 3 so he moved away, I gapped Carl with
about 250 to go and put my head down to try to catch Chris. I ended up closing in 65 and just barely
didn’t out-lean Kelsey (I kind of celebrated a bit early after watching the race on video). Either way,
I was pumped to finally earn a medal at State, especially after the disappointment of cross country
The Midwest Meet of Champions was essentially icing on the cake to my season. I didn’t exactly
prepare very well for the meet as I was counseling at a youth camp until Thursday night. However, I
still did get a chance to do a few shakeout runs and set myself up for at least a respectable performance.
Kyle Coates, my ultra-bro of an assistant coach agreed to drive me up and Taylor Wiley (the girls 800
meter champion) joined us for the trip. Once in FW, I had the pleasure of rooming with Tyler Schickel,
Sam Berger, and Kent Garrett, as well as spending a lot of time with my future sworn enemy Carl
Smith. Hanging out with these guys was the highlight of the weekend, we all got along really well and
although our late(ish) night shenanigans probably weren’t in the best interest of our races, it was well
worth it. The meet itself was extremely hot and pretty windy as well, so my aspirations of possibly
breaking my school record of 9:00 went away pretty quickly. The 3200 was somewhat anticlimactic,
I basically just followed the tail end of the pack until guys would drop off and I would move around
them. I wound up finishing in 3rd behind the Michigan state champion and I believe one of the Ohio
state champions. The biggest thing I can take away from the race is the fact that in our final high school
competition, I beat a fresh Tyler Schickel. Now I will forever have bragging rights in our friendly
hometown rivalry. Anyway, the meet was a great experience especially since I got to hang out with and
get to know the other runners in an atmosphere where we aren’t under so much pressure to beat one
another. I highly recommend any senior qualifiers to take advantage of the opportunity next year.
Thanks to Drake for giving me the chance to blog on my season and good luck to all you Indiana
Runners this fall.