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Fantastic finish

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Southwestern's Drew Drake has been named the TSN Boys Track and Field Co-Athlete of the Year after reaching the state finals this past season.
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Southwestern's Drew Drake, who will be a junior this coming school year, has been named the TSN Boys Track and Field Co-Athlete of the Year.

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

After a successful season in high jump, reaching state was the cherry on top for Southwestern's Drew Drake. The reality, however, was that Drake almost didn't make it to state. He powered through, though, and fought for a spot in Bloomington.

At the sectional, Drake posted a jump of 6-01 to earn himself a callback to the regional – where he shined, jumping 6-02. After, Drake was forced to wait to see if he would advance to state.

“My favorite moment of the season was definitely at regionals when we found out I was going to state,” said Drake, who will be a junior. “We had to wait around for what felt like forever so they could sort out the tie breakers and everything. Then we found out I was going to state and it was instant happiness.”

On June 2, a dream came true for Drake as he found himself at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University representing the small community of Southwestern. Drake cleared 6-02 on his first attempt but was unable to clear 6-03. Overall, he would finish in a four-way tie for 22nd.

“Just being able to go to state and just get that experience of being there and having that going into the last two years of high school was great,” Drake said. “Just knowing what the state meet is like is great for me.”

For his accomplishments this season, Drake has been named The Shelbyville News' Boys Track and Field Co-Athlete of the Year. He shares the honor with the Shelbyville 3,200-meter relay team, which also advanced to state. 

Reflecting on his trip to Bloomington, Drake reminisced on talking to other competitors.

“I was actually able to talk to a few guys I know,” he explained. “It's a lot different, because some of them are from bigger schools and had to face a lot of the competition that was there. But, coming from a small Southwestern, you don't get that.”

Something Drake will always remember from his state appearance is the support from his local Southwestern community.

“It was really cool. Just seeing everyone come together and back me up through the whole experience was just amazing,” he said.

On his road to state, Drake had plenty of help from coach Sam Pfaff, who reiterated one phrase: "continue to work hard and it will pay off." He was right.

With any sport, though, there is always ups and downs.

“My favorite thing about high jump is just being able to see how high you can actually go and just working and improving on that,” said Drake. 

Drake has been practicing once or twice a week over the summer and hopes to improve on the little things in his technique, which will help him in the long run, he said.

As for his junior season, Drake wants to clear 6-03.

“I just really want to improve on my PR and continue to push myself,” he said.

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.