Fort Payne hurdlers Madi Wallace and Matthew Shaddix both competed against some of the fastest hurdlers in the southeast this past weekend at the USATF Region 6 Junior Olympic Meet at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where one of the two qualified for a national meet out of a field of over 3,000 athletes from across the southeast.
Shaddix nearly avoided disaster Saturday in the preliminary run in the 110-meter hurdles.
“He clipped the ninth hurdle and that caused him to knock over the tenth one,” Fort Payne track and field coach C.M. Sanford said. “He still got to the finish line fast enough to qualify for the finals though.”
Shaddix’s preliminary time of 16.24 seconds ranked sixth in the age 15-16 boys’ division and qualified him to run in the finals on Sunday.
Against eight of the best hurdlers in the southeast in his age group, Shaddix needed a top-five finish to advance to the USATF National Meet in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Shaddix clocked a time of 15.99 seconds in the finals, which was good enough for fifth place, and punched his ticket to Greensboro.
Shaddix posted faster times in the event during the high school season. His fastest time this year was a 14.74 he ran at Albertville’s Aggie Invitational in April.
“I’m sure he’ll do better in North Carolina,” Sanford said. “Him not running week in and week out probably slowed his times down a bit. He’s got this week and next week to work and I think he’ll be able to get his times back down to where they were in the high school season before getting to North Carolina.”
Wallace placed 10th in her preliminary run in the 15-16 girls 100-meter hurdles in Murfreesboro in 16.96 seconds. She needed to finish in the top eight of a highly talented field of 22 to advance to Sunday’s finals.
“Sometimes you can get a tough draw at these regional meets,” Sanford said. “This was a really talented field that Madi ran against with four of the top eight girls coming from Alabama. She’s only 15, so she’ll get another shot in this age group next year.”
Shaddix will go on to compete against some of the best hurdlers in the nation at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships starting July 23 at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.