Making the leap
Senior jumper and sprinter takes home two silvers and gold at state meet
If a person told Andre Linzy heading into the state track meet that he'd take silver in the long jump, he wouldn't have believed them.
"I probably would have laughed, and said, 'No, that's not going to happen,'" Linzy said.
But happen it did, and for the second straight year Linzy took second place in the event. Holding the 31st longest jump (24 feet) in the nation in 2008, Linzy was a favorite heading into Friday and Saturday's meet, but he compensated for the second-place finish by taking gold in the triple jump and another silver in the 200-meter dash.
"I did pretty good," Linzy said. "Some events I felt like I could have done better, but I can't change that now. I did the best I could and I'm proud of what I've done."
Linzy looked poised to have a special meet right off the bat, winning his heat in the 200 preliminaries in the third fastest time at 23.09, about four-tenths of a second behind the fastest time.
He then took the lead in the 1,600 relay running the first leg of the race. The team of Linzy, Jeff Bowen, Jamel Townsend and Jordan Riffel didn't get to finish the race, however, as the exchange between Bowen and Townsend - running the second and third legs, respectively - was botched.
After the baton fell to the ground, runners behind the De Soto foursome kicked the baton and ended any hope of recovering and qualifying out of the preliminaries.
Whatever caused the slip-up, Linzy didn't let it detract him from his medal aspirations.
Later in the day, competing in the long jump, Linzy took some pressure off himself with a first jump of 23 feet, .75 of an inch to take the lead in the preliminaries. That mark wasn't threatened until Paola's Joe Stephens leapt 23-00 in his second attempt of the preliminaries. Then in the second jump of the finals, Stephens leapt 23-01.75. Linzy was not able to again surpass the 23-feet mark, so the gold went to Stephens.
"When he jumped that 23 I was really surprised because he PR'd (personal record) that by like four inches," Linzy said. "When I saw that I was like, 'Well, I've got to kick it in.' But he ended up jumping another one, an inch farther than me."
"I know Andre was surprised, but it's not very often you jump 23 feet and get second place in a track meet, but he jumped really well," coach Brian Dinkel said. "It's just the guy that beat him had a great meet."
The climb to second place on the medal stand completed the first day of the meet for Linzy, and he tried to use the evening and following morning to rest his legs for the second day.
"My legs were extremely tired, so I took an ice bath," he said. "I woke up early in the morning so I could walk around and not be sluggish."
Sluggishness was the least of his worries, as the day opened for him by capturing the gold in the triple jump.
After the first group of jumpers competed, the top jump was 41-04. Linzy topped that in his second jump with a leap of 45-00. That got him into the finals, where he jumped 43-08 in his first attempt but took off a few inches in front of the scratch board.
He followed that jump up with a scratch, then hit his final attempt just right, sailing 45-10.5. The second-place jump registered at 43-00.5.
The last event of Linzy's De Soto track career was the final race of the 200. Linzy got off to a slow start, but hung on and claimed second place.
"Andre, pretty much all season long, hasn't gotten a good start in the 200. I think had he gotten a good start he would have won that race," Dinkel said. "Andre can turn it on when he wants to, and I think he turned it on a little too late in that race because that guy made up the stagger on him pretty quick in that first 100 meters.
"Then Andre saw him come up beside him and that's when Andre decided to start running. Once he did that, he was right there with the guy."
Linzy felt all his previous action in the meet had an effect on the outcome of the 200.
"My legs got dead around the last 20 meters, but I just tried to go as hard as I could go," he said. "He ended up sticking his head out further than I did."
Disappointment from the long jump aside, two silvers and a gold at the state track meet ends Linzy's career with plenty of hardware in his possession. As he did in 2008, he took silver in the long jump a year ago, bringing his career track medal count to four.