SPC grad Sam Secord finishes third, well below his best time, in the 800 meters at the Golden South meet.
By BOB PUTNAM
Published June 8, 2004
St. Petersburg Catholic's Sam Secord spent his entire season coming up with a detailed plan to win the 800-meter race at the Bert M. Warden Golden South Classic in Orlando, one of the nation's most prestigious high school meets.
The recent graduate already had checked most goals off his list. He twice set personal records in his signature event, the last coming in May when he won his first state title in 1 minute, 54.92 seconds.
That gave Secord much-needed confidence heading into the Golden South. He knew he would face two elite runners, Miami Booker T. Washington's Tim Harris and Chris Patrick of Smiths Station High in Alabama.
What Secord did not account for was the weather.
Heavy rain soaked the Mondo Track at new Warden Stadium, part of the Payne Stewart Athletic Complex at the Orlando's First Academy.
That forced Saturday's running events to be postponed until Sunday. That also meant some athletes chose to go home, including Harris, who set the state record in the Class 4A meet by winning the 800 in 1:49.
And that meant Secord was bummed.
Secord ran a less-than-inspired race, finishing third in 1:58.
"I'm not a 1:58 runner," Secord said. "That's something I run in practice. I don't know what happened. I guess I just didn't have it that day. It's too bad because I had looked forward to that race and that was supposed to be my big moment."
The downpour was a downer for Secord, who anticipated running at night in his first race against Harris. Because they were in different classifications in high school, the two never met during the regular season.
But those plans quickly were washed away. Instead, Secord had to come back and run in the midday sun against a watered-down field.
"The whole change of plans really screwed me up," Secord said. "I was well-rested Saturday and was pumped for two hours before the race. To come back and run in that heat was hard. The conditions were bad."
Through the first lap, Secord stalked the pace-setter, Patrick. The two raced side by side until the final 150 meters. That's when Patrick unleashed his kick. Secord didn't have the wherewithal to keep pace and faded to third.
"I started to feel my legs give out," Secord said. "It wasn't there for me."
Others who placed at the meet were Northside Christian's Erik Anderson (sixth in the pole vault) and St. Petersburg's Tyler Hendry (second in 100 and sixth in 200).