Boys track: A bitter ending for Bowman’s Cornelius Strickland at state finals
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent June 2, 2012 11:46PM
Bowman Leadership Academy's Cornelius Strickland competes in the 100 Meter Dash trials earlier in the day. High school boys competed Saturday, June 2, 2012, in the 2012 IHSAA Boys' State Track and Field Championships at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. | Doug McSchooler~for the Post-Tribune
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:12AM
BLOOMINGTON — How fickle sports can be.
For Bowman senior Cornelius Strickland, his high school season was supposed to end with state titles in the 100 and 200.
Instead, it ended with a bitter lap, a standing ovation from the fans in the stands at Saturday’s IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals as a pulled hamstring ended Strickland’s bid for gold.
The injury came in the championship race of the 100. Strickland, who entered the state finals as the top seed in both races, had kept that form through the preliminaries, dashing to times of 10.75 seconds in the 100 and 21.40 seconds in the 200.
And he was off to another great start, in his words, in the 100.
“I got to the 50 (yard-point) and I started to turn over, I felt it just snap,” he said. “I tried to keep going, but I felt like I was running on one leg. I had to slow up.”
He still finished the race, in 11.33 seconds. But everyone knew something was amiss.
“I felt him in the middle of the race pull up, and that kind of took my psyche away, I was kind of like, ‘where did he go?’” said Merrillville junior Dylon Collins. “Then I heard him in the middle of the race, whimpering, but he finished.”
Collins and Strickland had run alongside each other since middle school. Collins instantly went to his friend’s aid after the race, helping him to the care tent.
Collins finished second in the race, in 10.83 seconds, behind New Albany’s Jermaine Parrish.
It was a bittersweet moment for Collins.
“I’m a football guy, and I just happen to be blessed enough to run track,” Collins said. “This is what he does. He’s a track guy that just so happens to be good at football.
“Out of all the people, you don’t want this to happen to someone that close to you,” he added.
Strickland still participated in the 200, gamely alternating jogging and walking to finish the race. His fellow competitors greeted him at the finish line.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s something I wasn’t expecting,” Strickland said. “I stretched good, I ate good, then I run and this happened.
“But things happen for a reason. I’ll just pray on it for guidance.”