Weatherford confident in title-defense

Thursday, May 31, 2007
Greencastle's Andy Weatherford practices for Saturday's IHSAA State Finals meet. The Tiger Cub senior said he feels good about his chances as he defends his two state titles in the 1,600.

The boys' state track finals are slated for Friday at Indiana University's Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex and Greencastle senior Andy Weatherford will attempt to add a third state title to his already impressive resumé.

Weatherford is seeded eighth but if history is an indicator, he is just sizing up his competition. Last year Weatherford posted a 4:24.37 in the regional and turned in a 4:08.71 to take the state title. In his sectional and regional leading up to state, Weatherford maintained enough of a lead to win but not enough to show what he has in the tank.

Weatherford's nemesis and future college teammate De'Sean Turner will go kick-for-kick again on Friday. Weatherford and Turner finished one-two in one of the closest races in state finals history last year, but this year a newcomer is hoping to upset the duo. Curtis Carr from Brown County is seeded second and is looking to capture the 1,600 meter title after finishing 11th in the 3,200 last year.

After two state titles, some might sit back and take it easy but for Weatherford, that is not an option. With another title and a possible charge at the state record in sight, je is continuing the push himself but will enjoy the ride.

"Last week we kind of maintained where we were at but this week were kind of backing off," Weatherford said. "One hard practice on Monday, the rest of the week will be low key."

"Honestly, he's in the best shape he ever been," GHS coach Mike Schimpf said.

Weatherford's conditioning might come in to play Friday as the heat could play a factor in the race. Race time condition call for temperatures about 90 degrees with a chance of rain, a fact that both coach and runner showed little concern for.

"Everybody's got to run in it, so not too much," Weatherford said. "It's definitely harder to run when its hot, but I don't think about."

"He's ran in the heat before, so just hydrate and deal with it," Schimpf responded regarding the heat. "That's all you can do about it."

"It makes me a little more eager to do it again," he said regarding his possible third title. "There's only one other guy in the history of Indiana to win it three times, so I have a chance to do something special. It makes me hungry," Weatherford commented.

Weatherford's winning time last year is just more than four seconds away for the all-time record held by Rudy Chapa, which is something that is clearly on his mind.

From the start of the season, it seems that Weatherford and his coach have had the goal of the state time in mind and have laid the groundwork to achieve that goal.

"Yeah, that's what were hoping for," Weatherford said. "It depends on how fast the race goes out. If the race goes out the way we want it to, that's the time we're shooting for this year."

"We want it to be a certain speed," Schimpf said. "We don't want it to be a slow first half. We'd rather it be faster. I think that's better for Andy."

In track, the mind is as important as the physical and Schimpf has his runner in a position to make his run at history.

"When it comes down to it, if Andy beats Andy, he should be able to win because it's a race against yourself," Schimpf commented. "So much of it's in your head."

When asked about his style of running, Weatherford responded with the poise and confidence of the state champion he is.

"My style, I'm definitely a kicker," he said. "That's how I like to run, just hang with everybody.

"I'm real confident in my kick. The last 200 meters, if I'm in it, I don't thinks there's anybody that can beat me. That's my mentality I have when I race," Weatherford continued.

Whatever outcome Friday brings, Schimpf believes Weatherford deserves everything that comes his way.

"I don't think there's anyway anyone has worked as hard as Andy has worked," Schimpf said.

Weatherford will go after his third-straight 1,600 meter title Friday in Bloomington with running events starting at 4:15 p.m.

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