Timing bad, trip not, for Hudson

Timing bad, trip not, for Hudson
Messenger Sports Reporter
MURFREESBORO — Normally, a freshman appearing at the Class A-AA State Track Meet will learn more than a seasoned coach.
That wasn’t altogether the case on Thursday afternoon.
Union City High School frosh Jackie Hudson, who had earlier finished eighth in the discus, was disqualified from the shot put competition at the state championship meet when she missed the event due to confusion over when she was supposed to take part in the throw.
The UC track athlete was at a local Subway with Darren Bowling and Preston Martin, who has served as the girls’ primary coach the past two seasons.
Bowling shouldered the blame for Hudson missing the shot put throw.
“It was a misunderstanding and I take the heat for it,” said Bowling, who heads the UCHS track program on an overall scale. “It certainly wasn’t Jackie’s fault and she deserved better. We were under the belief that when we arrived this morning that every event was going to be one hour later than originally scheduled.
“I never heard them (TSSAA) say they were going to try to catch up. I wish they would have made an announcement of something like, ‘We’re starting a little behind, but be at your event at the time listed on the schedule because we’re trying to catch up.’ They didn’t, but I shouldn’t have made an assumption. I usually teach, but I learned the lesson this time.”
Still, Hudson took the happenings on Thursday with the grace and sportsmanship expected from an athlete years her senior.
“I’m not too worried; I”ll be back,” Hudson said. “I accomplished a goal I’ve had since middle school by getting to state. Since I got as far as I could in middle school (the TMSAA West Sectional), I wanted to carry it over into high school.”
The discus competition where Hudson finished eighth was an hour off schedule as rain fell in Murfreesboro. It began at 11:15 Thursday morning.
In that competition, Hudson’s best throw was the third attempt, which landed 86 feet, 10 inches away from the circle.
Bowling said it was his understanding that all the other events at the Class A-AA meet were to be an hour later than originally scheduled.
However, TSSAA assistant executive director Richard McWherter, who runs the state track championship meet, told The Messenger that was not the case.
“When we started back in the morning after a weather delay, the announcement was that ‘we are starting an hour behind,’” McWherter said. “A lot of events caught up and shot put was one of those.
“We made the call for participants to report as we always do and were able to do that event at around its original time (12:15 p.m.).
“I hate it for the young lady (Hudson), but I couldn’t go back after medals had already been awarded and change the standings.”
Hudson did get to throw the shot put at the state meet, although only in exhibition form as Bowling claimed he talked McWherter into allowing that.
“I wanted her to get at least the experience of throwing at state as a freshman, even if it didn’t count officially,” Bowling said. “I appreciate that they grabbed a couple extra people (after the UC track coach expressed his displeasure in the situation) and measured off her throws like they would have.
“I told him (McWherter) that I understood he couldn’t change the medals around, but he had to understand that as a track coach I wasn’t going to leave until my athlete got her throws, whether they counted for anything or not.”
For what it’s worth, the best shot put hurl of Hudson’s exhibition heaves went 31 feet, 7 inches. Hudson had to throw all four of her what were essentially exhibition tosses in rapid succession.
“I hated throwing like that,” she said. “I like to watch the other girls and see how they do.”
Had it been an hour earlier, it would have stood for a fourth-place finish to state champion Allysa Crews of Greenville (39 feet, 9 inches).
As it stands, Hudson was awarded (unofficially) a seventh-place medal.
“I gave her the medal because her coach said he was going to buy her one,” McWherter said.
Bowling confirmed that aspect of the story.
Published in The Messenger 5.27.11

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