Joy, relief and a sense of accomplishment washed over Whiteland Community High School junior Ryder Emberton as he was named a state champ.
He won the shot put Saturday at the IHSAA Boys State Track and Field State Finals at Indiana University and was one of three state champions from Johnson County.
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Center Grove senior Cameron Tidd won the discus, and the Trojans’ 1,600-meter relay team of Logan Bontrager, Zak Smith, Tyler Boyer and Jackson Hohlt earned the state crown.
Each triumph produced its own unique drama.
In Emberton’s case, his second preliminary put of 60 feet, 7½ inches proved too much for top-seeded Jalil Brewer of Ben Davis High School to overcome.
Once Brewer, a left-hander, fouled on his final attempt, Emberton began to celebrate.
At least internally. He still had one more attempt.
Emberton made the most of it, heaving the shot 62 feet, one-half inch to shatter his own ever-changing school record.
“Coming in, I knew I had it in me. Once (Brewer) scratched on that last one I knew. All the nerves just dropped. I could hear my parents in the stands screaming, and I knew that was it,” said Emberton, who earlier came in third in the discus.
“My goal next year is to win both and to break the (state finals) shot record (66-8½ by Pike’s Jeremy Allen in 1997).”
Tidd, who left early Sunday morning for Vanderbilt University where he’ll play football for the Commodores, made his final act as a Center Grove athlete difficult to forget.
Afternoon rain showers limited what the throwers were able to do. However, Tidd on his sixth and final throw landed the discus at a distance of 181 feet, 11 inches, to win state for the second consecutive season.
“It was my last throw and I had to get a good rip. I was a little bit nervous, but I was confident. I was feeling good,” Tidd said. “The weather, obviously, was a big factor for everyone. My last two throws in the prelims were greatly affected by the weather.
“As far as numbers I wouldn’t say this was a great season for me. But my goal was to win state again, and that’s what I did.”
Center Grove’s 1,600 relay lowered the curtain on the finals with its own come-from-behind victory.
As far back as eighth in the third and final heat, the Trojans recovered from a mistimed handoff between Bontrager and Smith to win in 3:18.66.
Saturday’s three first-place finishes were the county’s highest total since Center Grove won five and captured the 2011 team championship.