CHARLESTON — Austen Stewart had everything going just right Friday, one of 12 high jumpers in Class 2A, advancing to Saturday’s finals who had cleared 6-foot-3. He felt his marks were right on and was excited to see how he stacked up with the best in the state.
Then the decision was made to go inside Saturday morning with rain in the forecast and Stewart was unable to regain the form he had Friday, finishing 12th and missing out on a State Medal.
“I’m disappointed because I had my mark perfect on Friday and we went about 6:45 a.m. Saturday to see if it was still there and it was. But there’s not much you can do when Mother Nature decides to become active,” Stewart said.
“You would like to be outside. It’s outdoor state and at the time it wasn’t raining too hard. I had jumped in a lot worse over the season, but in the end it is up to the officials and what they feel is the best for the safety for the jumpers.”
Stewart, the 2012-13 Male Athlete of the Year at PHS, cleared 6-2 on his first attempt to open the finals. He was unable to clear the bar when it was raised two inches.
“The atmosphere when you’re inside is a lot different and I just couldn’t get going like I would have liked to. But overall, I’m glad I got back to finals again even though I didn’t place,” said Stewart, who cleared 6-8 during the indoors season.
Stewart placed third in Class 1A in 2011. He will jump for Aurora University next year.
“He had a great season and career. We are going to miss him,” PHS coach Dan Foes said. “I believe he will have an outstanding college career.”
Alex King of Metropolis Massac County won the state crown, flip-flopping places on sectional seeds with Waterloo senior Justin Kretchmer. King cleared 7-1 to win Saturday’s title and Kretchmer went 7-0. Kretchmer had cleared 7-1 at sectionals.