It almost seemed like I was having a “flash-back” of the prior morning.
If you were unable to attend the Regional Track Meet in Levelland this year, you missed one of the greatest exhibitions of heart and desire that I have ever seen.Will Ferguson qualified for the Regional Meet in the 3200 M, 1600 M, and 1600 M Relay.His first event, the 3200 M Run, was on Friday morning at .Out of the 16 boys competing, Will was the #2 seed going into the race.The top 2 finishers in each event earn a trip to the State Track Meet in Austin.After 4 laps, Will was in second and it looked like he was on his way to the State Meet.However, during the 5th lap Will was passed by a boy from Grady and was now in 3rd place.Over the next two laps, Grady began to widen the gap and I started to get a sick feeling.I was not prepared for what was about to occur.With 400 meters remaining, Will was running about 40 meters behind the second place boy from Grady.At this point, Will was running just a few seconds off of his normal pace when he began his “kick”.By the time Will reached the 200 meter mark, he had passed the boy from Grady and was in 2nd place and 100 meters from his first trip to the State Track Meet.With about 20 meters remaining, Will’s body almost completely shut down.He began to stumble and lose his balance, ultimately falling to the track.He tried to stand up and reach the finish line, but again stumbled to the ground.During this time the young man from Grady was able to pass Will and cross the finish line before Will was able to collect himself enough to finish the race.Will’s body had gone into what Dr.’s call “runner’s trot.”It is when the body builds up a large amount of lactic acid as a result of low oxygen intake which causes the body to perform numerous functions that are not regular.It is not uncommon, but it is the first time that I have seen it to this extent.During the time that Will was struggling to reach the finish line, there was a large group of Sunray people, as well as others, that were overcome with a huge amount of mixed emotions.Will’s exhibition of such great courage made me feel so proud; however, knowing the result of his fall gave me such a feeling of sorrow for him.It would be hard to explain the occurrences of the next few minutes and hours, but it would be correct to say that they were very difficult for Will, his family, and our kids and staff.
I have coached relays that were the 1st seed and dropped the stick.I have coached jumpers and throwers that have been beat on their opponent’s last attempt.I have even had top qualifiers trip over the last hurdle to lose the race.However, I have never had the feeling that Will gave me on that Friday morning.No one deserves to run in Austin more than Will Ferguson.I have seen him workout everyday with the same intensity and focus, and for him not to earn a trip to State was not fathomable to me.
Saturday afternoon at , he would have one final shot to qualify for State when he competed in the 1600 Meter Run.I will get right to the point.After 3 laps, Will was in third about 20 meters out of second place when he began his kick towards the finish.With about 250 meters remaining, Will passed the second place boy from Hart and was in qualifying position for the State Track Meet.As I watched Will run the last 200 meters, I could tell that he was beginning to struggle again.It almost seemed like I was having a “flash-back” of the prior morning.However, somehow Will was able to overcome his exhaustion and finish second in the race.Will had earned the right to run in Austin.I am not ashamed to say that as I watched Will cross that finish line, a tear ran down my face.I don’t know that I have ever been more proud for a kid.
I can promise you that me writing this story does not do the actual event justice.This kid showed that while obstacles sometimes get in your way at the worst possible time, “where this is a Will, there is a way”.