STHS senior ends season in agony
SPARKS – Second place never entered Elliott Hubler’s mind preceding the Nevada 4A state track and field meet.
When it became a reality on Saturday, the South Tahoe High senior triple jumper refused to believe it, declining to take his second-place slot on the awards podium.
“The only way I was going to stand up there was if I was No. 1,” said Hubler, who grudgingly accepted the second-place plaque after the other seven competitors left the podium.
In a painful defeat, Hubler led through five of six jumps before Charles Ehizuelen of Cimarron Memorial pulled out the title by a slim three-inch margin on his final attempt.
“That’s the way this sport goes. That’s why they give them six instead of one jump,” said South Tahoe coach Rick Brown.
Ehizuelen and the remainder of the triple jump field played catch-up from the beginning as Hubler opened with his best jump, 45 feet, 6 inches, topping the field by more than two feet.
“I’m shocked. I knew I had to jump great to beat him,” said Ehizuelen of his winning leap of 45-9. “I was working on making my runway faster and then extending my steps.”
Brown was disappointed that Hubler didn’t accept being the state’s second best.
“Emotionally to show up someone else by not offering congratulations and not going up on the podium is not what track and field is supposed to be about,” Brown said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed about finishing up your career second best. The reaction he had was too extreme.”
Hubler’s quick start caught Brown off guard, considering how nervous his senior was prior to the competition.
“He was so nervous all last night and this morning I wasn’t sure which Elliott would show up,” Brown said. “Maybe part of the problem was he relaxed too much after his first jump.”
Brown felt part of the problem was the absence of triple jumper and friend Jeff Seitz, who didn’t qualify for state because of a hamstring injury.
“Without his training partner he hasn’t been the same emotionally. He seemed to perform better when Jeff was there and jumping against him,” Brown said.
After his fast start, the Northern Nevada zone champion struggled on his five attempts while Ehizuelen continued to improve.
The pressure started to mount during the final four jumps. On his third jump Miguel Gonzalez of Green Valley launched 44-1, which earned him third place. Then Ehizuelen served notice of things to come by going 44-8 and 45 on his fourth and fifth jumps, respectively.
Those lengths definitely got Hubler’s attention. He checked with Brown on the distance of Ehizuelen’s fifth jump and agonizingly watched adjacent to the sand pit on the Las Vegas student’s final try.
Hubler didn’t bother to check with officials following his final attempt, which carried 43-6. He collapsed on his back and stayed on the ground with his eyes covered for a good 10 minutes.
“I thought I was capable of a few inches more. My leg gave out on the second phase and that was it,” said Hubler, who finished fifth at state last year and owns a school- record 46-6 mark.
Hubler has this week’s Great Southwest Classic to forget his self-perceived state shortcomings. He will compete with athletes from Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah.
Meanwhile, Viking junior hurdler Faye Clapp capped her season with a seventh-place finish in the 300 intermediate hurdles on Friday. Clapp, who has a best time of 47.08, clocked in at 49.5 as 40 mph winds buffeted the track.
“She didn’t have a very good race,” Brown said. “But I told her she still has one more season and to remember that last year she didn’t make it out of divisionals.”
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