By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Zane Thompson rested his aching right foot on an ice pack. Nothing, not even an interminable wait as his competitors raced in other events and missed multiple times at lower heights, could ice Braydon Patterson. They both clear hurdles with ease.
Bedford North Lawrence’s top leapers won individual sectional titles during the first stage of the IHSAA state tournament series on Thursday, powering the Stars to fifth place in the team standings.
Thompson, battling through painful plantar fasciitis, came blazing back from a long absence to win the 300-meter low hurdles. Patterson continued his aerial assault while winning the high jump and advancing to the regional next week.
BNL’s Carter Kimmel and Frank Decker also moved on to the next round. The top three in each event qualified for the regional at Bloomington North on May 25. That foursome helped the Stars total 57 points, while Jennings County won the crown with 116.5.
BNL engineered its lineup for maximum individual achievement rather than team goals. That’s why few athletes did double duty as the Stars counted on rest to make a difference.
Thompson was tired of resting. Since the injury occurred three weeks ago, he’s gone though every possible recovery procedure and raced only briefly (a trial run in the Hoosier Hills Conference meet). While he’s not 100 percent, as the ice attested, he was back up to speed.
Thompson, one of the state’s best in the 300 and the sectional’s top seed in the event, powered to victory in 39.64 seconds.
“I tried not to let it slow me down,” he said. “It does hurt, but it takes a lot more for it to hurt now. And it goes away quick.
“I wasn’t worried as much as I thought I would be. I was more nervous in the 200 trial. After that I got eased, I was more calm.”
Patterson, another event favorite, was also at ease. He sailed over 6-4 to win that event, and he will set his goal for a repeat clearance of 6-6 when he competes in the regional.
“It feels like I finally made it,” Patterson said. “I don’t want to finish here. I feel like I finally made it to a spot I’m happy with, and I’m excited to keep going.”
Kimmel uncorked a throw of 153-1 to finish second in the discus, and Decker flew over the bar at 11-0 to finish second in the pole vault. He’s taking aim at greater height when he starts using a new pole next week.
“I worried about Zane a little because he was coming off that injury,” BNL coach Brett Deckard said. “I knew he could do it because he’s a tough kid. Carter is throwing where we thought he would be. He’s starting to peak at the right time.”
The top three in the regional will advance to the state finals at Indiana University.