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Tumble on the track Thursday, May 24, 2007

Phil King of Pilot Rock High School trips over the last hurdle May 19 in the 2A boys 300-meter hurdles at the state track & field championships in Monmouth. He was close to the lead at the time, but the fall dropped him to eighth.

One of the schools I covered at last Saturday's track meet was Pilot Rock HS, located in the town of the same name south of Pendleton. They weren't one of the stronger teams at the 2A meet—the boys finished 27th out of 30 teams, the girls were 22nd out of 31—but they did have a strong contender in Phil King who qualified fourth for the finals in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

Hurdles is one of my favorite track and field events because almost anything can happen. Take Canadian hurdler Perdita Felicien, for example, who was expected to win gold at the 2004 Olympics, but hit the first hurdle in the finals and recorded a DNF.

I don't remember what happened in the 110-meter event, but Phil finished eighth, well off his seed and preliminary times. But in the 300-meter hurdles, Phil was competitive, running neck-and-neck with the leaders. And I had my camera trained on him as he headed down the last straight.

Disaster struck on the last hurdle, just 10 meters from the finish line. Phil caugh
t his lead toe on the hurdle, stumbled and fell. His first instinct was to get up and keep running, but I guess the fall hurt a bit, because he fell back on the track on his elbows and knees. A few seconds later, after banging his fist on the track in frustration, he recomposed himself, got up and walked across the finish line and straight to the first aid tent.

You can find all the results from the track and field state championships here.