Indy 500 runner-up, shot put relay enliven Battle of the Lake |

Indy 500 runner-up, shot put relay enliven Battle of the Lake

Steve Yingling

Looking back on the second annual Battle of the Lake on Tuesday, meet organizers did their best to involve the entire community.

Unfortunately, a biting 20-30 mph wind kept some of the post-meet fund-raising events to minimal involvement.

Only three competitors entered the open 100 meters, which former South Tahoe High track star David Schaffer won in 11.81 seconds. STHS grad Elliot Hubler, a state runner-up in the triple jump, finished second in 11.95.

However, it was the third-place finisher who captured the most attention. Never one to back down from a race, Davy Jones, a runner-up in the 1996 Indianapolis 500, clocked in at 16.52.

Jones, who is working on becoming some veteran team’s third driver for next month’s Indy 500, turned out for the meet because of his community ties, having lived in Glenbrook for some time now.

“It’s a good opportunity to bring the community together,” Jones said. “I think it’s great to have all of the kids from the different schools in the area competing together. I’m just surprised how well they all get along. It kind of makes you want to be a teen-ager again.”

Perhaps the most interesting event of the day was seeing how well the South Tahoe and Whittell performed in the shot put relay.

The relay, which substituted an 8-pound shot put for a baton, may become a fixture, considering the number of athletes who wanted to participate.

“I hadn’t told them that we were doing it. And when they heard the announcement, they went nuts. ‘Can we do it? Can we do it?’ said Viking coach Rick Brown.

Brown settled on Adam Wexelblatt, Lawrence Chia, Nick Barclay and Wisconsin-bound Corey Martin.

“It was funny. Martin, he was on our championship JV 400 relay team two years ago, so when it gets into that situation he knows what he’s doing. But the rest of these guys, it was hilarious to see them carrying that big ol’ ball around there and trying to hand it off to each other,” Brown said.

With Barclay pulling away in the third leg and Martin widening the gap in the final 100 meters, the Vikings looped the track in less than a minute. In fact, the quartet’s time of 55.91 was only eight seconds off the victors in a normal 400 relay race.

“We just put it together five minutes before the race,” Barclay said. “The shot put is pretty light. It’s not that hard.”

However, Brown’s not ready to make the event part of his day-to-day training regimen.

“I don’t think so. With my luck somebody would drop it on Jake (Hurwitz’s) foot and my one secure chance of going to (state) goes down the tubes,” Brown said.

Showing how unselfish she is, Whittell High senior Sarah Sufka encouraged her teammates throughout the three-hour meet.

Sufka, who couldn’t compete because of a torn thigh muscle, showed why Whittell Dan Makley bestowed her with captain’s status before the season.

“If I can’t contribute through running than I’m going to give them everything in my heart today,” said Sufka, who had to recompose herself after arriving at the meet. “It was a big community event that I couldn’t wait for. I broke down when I saw all the medals and everything.

“But everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for me, and I’m going to put my trust in him.”

Sufka, the defending state champion and the school record holder in the 800 meters, says there’s a remote chance she’ll return for the division championships May 14-15.

“It’s too big of a risk to take unless I’m 100 percent healthy. I’m looking at it that I’m done for the season, but if something happens where I’m able to run, it would be a big bonus,” she said.

Watching James Clemmer high jump is like watching airplanes take off at Lake Tahoe Airport – they elevate quickly.

One can only wonder what Clemmer will do for a dunk if he gets in the open court next year for the Viking basketball team.

“I guess I was born with hops because I haven’t worked out a day in my life. (Viking senior) Beau Barkley would argue it, but I think I’m the team’s best dunker.”

In case you missed the meet, it will be shown on cable access TV in about two weeks, according to Ron Nageotte of Stateline Video Productions who filmed the event along with Joe Boyd, who interviewed many of the winners.

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