MT. VERNON — The Rams track and field team will have four individuals and a pair of relay teams competing in today's 2A state final.
Mt. Vernon coach Clint Turner said the key to the state meet is focusing on being consistent and routine.
“At times I think kids will try to do something different in a different situation or the best situation you just have to remember what got you there and what got you there is good,” Turner said.
Joseph McDanel, Robert Grider, Brykell Patton and David Modert will all compete in individual events. The Rams also qualified its 800 meter relay team along with its 1,600 meter relay team.
Grider will be the busiest of the Rams athletes. He will compete in his individual event and is also a member of the two relay teams.
“This is the first year over the last four I've legitimately qualified and not gone up there and run as an alternate,” Grider said. “So it was a big deal, especially that I missed it by such a small margin last year, and I can't wait to go up there and compete.”
The preliminary round of the state final is today. The top nine competitors in each event return for the final round on Saturday. McDanel was the lone Rams athlete to advance to the final round a season ago. He made the finals in the pole vault and finished ninth overall.
Most of the athletes competing for the Rams have state final experience. Brykell Patton is competing as an individual for the first time in the 300 meter hurdles, but he has past experience running on Rams relay teams. He said qualifying as an individual was a good feeling.
“It felt great,” Patton said. “It felt very great. I was very happy. I worked hard over the whole season.”
The team had to deal with a Memorial Day scheduling quirk and took to the track last Sunday before having the holiday off.
“You can't take two or three days off,” Turner said. “Your body responds to that, and you just want to keep it all going in the same direction.”
Today's preliminaries start with the field events at 8 a.m. The running events are slated to begin around 9 a.m.