The title was his for the taking.
Union senior Demetrius Clark was among the favorites in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles Saturday in MSHSAA’s Class 4 State Track and Field Championships at Washington High School.
Clark won the event with a time of 38.79. His sights had been seen not just on a win, but on a new school record in the race.
“I was just trying to come out fast and hit 37 seconds,” Clark said. “That’s the school record. I didn’t hit (that mark), but I’m pretty satisfied with the win. I just had to run my race and try to hit the time I’d practiced for all week.”
The event was moved to Washington after tornado damage earlier in the week forced the closing of the scheduled site at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.
In 2018, Clark was the seventh-place finisher in the event as a junior. He was one of two returning state medalists from the year before, along with Bolivar’s Blade Hancock.
“We knew from the beginning of the season that Demetrius Clark had a really good chance of claiming the championship title in the 300 hurdles,” Union Head Coach Sarah Meiners said. “With the work he has put in both preseason and during season, I can say he truly deserves that title.”
Clark and Hancock finished first and second in this year’s race. Hancock turned in a time of 39.31.
“It feels really good,” Clark said shortly after receiving his championship medal. “I’ve been grinding a lot all offseason and it finally paid off.”
The race was one of four events Clark qualified for on Saturday.
Clark added to his accomplishments with a third-place medal in the 1,600-meter relay with teammates Christophe Poinsett, Trevor Kelly and Peyton Burke. The Union foursome ran the race in 3:25 and were the top team in their heat.
The group set a new school record for the race.
“We still got a school record,” Clark said. “So, I’m satisfied right there.”
Clark was also the 10th-place finisher in the 200-meter dash and Union would have earned a medal in the 400-meter relay had it not been for a lane disqualification. Clark ran the 400-meter relay with Poinsett, Daniel Thwing and Cameron Kriete.
“Unfortunately, as can happen to any team in the 400-meter relay, we had one handoff that resulted in a disqualification,” Meiners said. “We were sitting at a fifth-place finish without that DQ. Even though that relay team didn’t end the way we wanted to, we have to focus on the fact that this relay team lowered our 400-meter relay school record a whole two seconds (earlier this year).”
Clark is signed to play college football at Lincoln University in the fall.