Saturday, June 11, 2016

Evan McClellon Rolls the Dice and Wins

Evan McClellon Photo by Gene Niemi
Robbinsdale Armstrong's Evan McClellon has been on a roll, shattering records, running fast.  In the prelims of the  100 on Friday McClellon ran 10.46, faster than the all-time MSHSL State Meet 100 record set by Ibrahim Kabia. But the tail wind was above the allowable limit, so the time doesn't count as a new record

More importantly, however, McClellon took away something else from Friday's prelims, a strained left hamstring.  He felt a "twinge" in the back of his leg.  A twinge that turned into pain.  A pain that threatened the goal he'd set for this year.  At last year's MSHSL championships McClellon finished second in the 100 and second in the 200.  He vowed that 2016 would be different.  He would not be the runner-up again.  This time he'd win.

As the season unfolded, McClellon was performing well enough to meet the challenge he'd set for himself.  Then it happened.  The legs that carried him to triumph after triumph had been damaged.  H His quest that had seemed to be a sure thing was shattered like the records he'd been breaking all year. The body that had allowed him to run faster, put him in a position to accomplish his ultimate goal, seemed to have let him down.

What should he, what could he do?  McClellon talked to a doctor who he'd worked with to see what was possible.  He was told to ice the leg.  A "bandage/wrap," extra support for the weakened limb, was applied.  McClellon was told what he could do and what he shouldn't do.  Where the limits were. It was a gamble, and McClellon  chose to "roll the dice."

If the leg held together he could have enough speed and power to accomplish his goal.  If the experiment failed he might do enough damage to the leg that his sprinting career could be in jeopardy.  McClellon settled in the blocks, waited for the sound of the gun, and pushed off the blocks and began the race.

He got a "terrible start."  He was behind.  He didn't panic.  Kept himself under control and "stepped on the gas," the now or never moment when he'd discover if his gamble was going to pay off  or go down in flames.  Fortunately, the hamstring was up to the challenge.  It hurt after the race, but there appeared to be no irreparable harm.  More importantly for him he ran 10.51 with "damaged goods" and he won the race.

McClellon had achieved the goal he'd set out to do.  There would be no more heroics.  "I'm done." He answered to those who wondered if he would run the 200 or race any more in the championships.  Mission accomplished.  "I'm done."

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