SHELBY — His legs were fatigued and he was still feeling the aftereffects of the illness that threatened to derail his senior season, but Shelby’s Sam Logan somehow found another gear.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Logan finished third in the 1,600 meter run and fourth in the 3,200 as the Whippets captured the Division II team title on a steamy Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Shelby scored 57 points to win its first state title since 2004, well ahead of runner-up Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (42).
The Whippets were so comfortably in the lead, in fact, that Logan’s five fourth-place points in the 3,200 — the meet’s penultimate event — probably weren’t necessary.
That didn’t stop Logan from dropping the hammer one last time. He passed five competitors on the eighth and final lap with a 62.85 second split. It was the fastest lap turned by any of the 18 runners in the field.
“My legs were really exhausted from the mile,” said Logan, who dealt with mononucleosis early in the season and only recently got over a cold. “I was just trying to go out and get a good place for the team so we could get in a really good position to win a state title.
“Another thing was I wanted to go out with a bang. Going into the race I was just hoping to get into it and limp it in, to be honest. I was feeling good the last 400 and just took off.”
That performance came on the heels of Logan’s bronze-medal finish in the 1,600 about an hour earlier. Like in the 3,200, Logan’s final lap in the 1,600 was his fastest (59.34 seconds). He was also a member of Shelby’s gold medal-winning 4x800 relay team along with Sam Swanger, Caleb Brown and Blake Lucius. Brown, the only underclassman of the bunch, won the 1,600 and 3,200. Lucius took gold in the 800 as Shelby completed the sweep of the distance events.
That Logan was on the podium at all was a minor miracle. He battled mono, an often long-lasting infectious illness that counts fatigue as one of its main symptoms, throughout the early portion of the season.
Fatigue is not the friend of distance runners.
“We thought his season might be over with, because mono can really destroy a season,” Lucius said after the 4x800 relay on Friday. “But somehow, some way, Sam managed to defy all logic.
“He told coach (Chris Zuercher) that he’s just going to do low mileage and not that fast a pace. Two weeks later, he’s doing eight miles at a 6:20 pace. I told him, ‘You’ve got to give your body a rest.’ He said, ‘No, I’m fine.’ He doesn’t stop.”
Taking time off never crossed Logan’s mind.
“I went to the doctor and they said there was nothing that I could really do other than keep training,” Logan said.
One of the top high school distance runners in the nation, Brown wasn’t at all surprised to see Logan join him near the top of the podium.
“Right when he first got mono we didn’t know if we would get to state in the 4x800. Then he started running really well,” Brown said. “You can’t doubt Sam Logan.”