MURFREESBORO — If laughter is the best medicine, winning isn’t very far behind.
University High pole vaulter Devon Wade was battling an extremely high temperature on Thursday. A day later, he was all smiles after edging rival Kyle Greene of Unicoi County for the Class A-AA pole vault title at Friday’s TSSAA BlueCross Spring Fling boys’ track and field championshps at Middle Tennessee State University.
“I was running a 104 temperature yesterday and the day before,” Wade said. “I popped myself full of Dayquil and was just praying that I would have enough energy to go.”
He ended up having the energy and barely enough height as well.
Both he and Greene ended at 12 feet, six inches, but the tiebreaker went to Wade because he was able to clear the bar at the highest point on his first attempt.
If he would have missed one attempt, the crown would have gone to Greene, who broke the 12-feet barrier on his first try, while it took Wade two attempts to get over the bar.
“It just comes down to misses,” Wade said. “The last couple of meets have been a lot of fun because we press each other and tell each other you have to jump this high. I think it’s awesome to have somebody to push you like that. We have somebody there to push ourselves to go higher and higher.”
It’s been an ongoing rivalry with the two, but it’s also drawn them together as close friends. Greene added that if he couldn’t win the title, there was no one he wanted to win more than Wade.
“We have been together through all the meets the last couple of years, and we’re good buds,” Greene said. “I’m glad if it’s not me, it’s one of my friends from East Tennesseee. We basically jumped the same today. We jumped the same height and it just came down to the misses.”
In other field events, Hunter Boone of Science Hill finished sixth in the Class AAA triple jump with a 44-08.50 distance. In the Class A-AA portion of the event, Sullivan East senior Cliff Hawkins of Sullivan East matched Boone’s sixth-place finish.
Hawkins, who won the decathlon earlier in the week, earned All-State honors in three other events. The Patriots senior was seventh in the long jump, fifth in the 110 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles.
“My goal coming into the week was just to win the decathlon,” Hawkins said. “The rest has been an added bonus. I ran out of gas in the 300 a little bit, but overall it was good.”
Brennon Nelson of Science Hill was All-State in two distance races. He was seventh (9:23) in the 3,200, and his run of 4:22 was good enough for fifth in the Class AAA 1,600 race.
“We went out a little slow the first lap,” Nelson said. “It wasn’t where I would have liked to finish, but it was a good way to end my season and I’m proud of it.
“Every high schooler has moments he wish he have done differently, but there are moments every one cherishes.”
University High’s John Patrone sprinted to a second-place finish in the 100 meter dash. His time of 10.93 seconds in the Class A-AA would have been good enough to win the Class AAA race, which Malik Foreman of Dobyns-Bennett finished third at 10.99.
“Everybody wants to win, but I’ve been injured all year,” Patrone said. “It was one race to go. I had to give it my all.”
Despite Patrone fighting through injuries and Wade dealing with illness, the Junior Bucs were the only area team to post first and second-place finishes.
“It’s really great to bring home good medals to a school as small as ours,” Patrone said. “I know the pole vault is a tough competition and equally so is the 100.”
Among the other championship efforts, the Greeneville team of Wesley Pectol, Lawson Burrow, Wesley King and Simeon Roberts won the Class A-AA 4x800 relay. Roberts later added a win in the 800. It was also a busy day for Pectol, who was fourth in the 1,600 and 3,200 events.