BLOOMINGTON – Brock Hagerman came into Saturday’s 2006 Boys Track and Field State Finals with a plan.

First, stay with the pack. Next, break-up the hoard. Last, pull away and don’t look back.

With less than two laps remaining in the 3,200-meter run, the Pendleton Heights senior and defending cross country state champion watched his scheme unfold brilliantly.

Unfortunately, he didn’t account for Robert Moldovan of Fort Wayne Northrop, who passed him on the front stretch, ending Hagerman’s shot at two state titles in one season.

“He had a hell of a kick and I just couldn’t respond to it,” said Hagerman, who finished runner-up with a school-record time of 9:12.07. "It just didn’t work out.”

Moldovan crossed the line in 9:07.99 and Arabians’ Cole Hardacre charged behind Hagerman for third at 9:16.81. Hagerman’s state finals placement was a career-best for the Notre Dame recruit, despite the last second heartbreak.

“That was my plan the whole way,” Hagerman said. “It almost worked. That’s the hardest I could run that last half mile, so give him credit. You can’t complain … It would have been nice to get another state championship ring, but it’s not bad being runner-up.”

For Lapel’s E.J. Cripe the opportunity to strut around the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University as a competitor after several near misses at the regional level in the past was almost more than enough.

“I can’t describe it. There are no words,” Cripe remarked after competing in his first-career State Finals. “It was amazing.”

More astonishing was his time along with Anderson freshman Pierre Carr’s in the 100-meter dash.

The duo’s friendly rivalry, which began during the Madison County Tournament, carried through to the final finish as both advanced from the preliminary second heat together – with Cripe ahead of Carr 10.81 to 10.88 – and stood within tripping distance in neighboring lanes for the final dash.

“I thought he might try (tripping me),” Cripe laughed.

“I was thinking about it,” Carr joshed back.

Instead, Cripe and Carr kept stride with each other to place fifth and sixth, respectively.

Cripe’s time of 10.90 was his personal best, while Carr’s sprint of 10.92 once again improved upon his state qualifying time of 11.04, logged at the North Central Regional.

“We’re pretty close. We’re not enemies or anything,” Cripe remarked on his season-long battle with Carr that began with him edging the underclassman at county. “We root each other on when we’re not racing and push each other when we are.”

“We made it out,” said Carr, who is the first individual place winner at Anderson since Clifton Jones took fourth in the 110-meter hurdles. “We’ve gotten real close and have talked ever since the Madison County … when we were on the track after the finals (today) he told me to keep my head up because I’m a freshman and I got three more years.”

The Indians 400-meter relay team just wanted a chance this year. After a call back opened the door for the team to prove themselves, the senior-less bunch seized their moment, placing eighth overall.

The team comprised of juniors Devrin Morgan and Tyson Taylor, Carr and sophomore Justin Fuller posted a time of 42.49, which shaved more than four-tenths of a second off their regional time (42.90).

“We came here and did our thing,” Taylor said. “We never dreamed of going to state. It just happens … this is more than I expected … that shows we belong here. Maybe next year we’ll be a fast-seed. Anderson’s coming.”

Andrew Prieshoff nearly gave Anderson it’s third medal, just missing top-nine medalist honors behind Forest Park’s Michael Foerster in the 1,600-meter run. The junior finished the race in 4:20.40.

Pendleton Heights senior Chris Shaw suffered a setback during the discus throw finals, faulting as his longest toss of the day traveled 175 feet. But nothing could keep the senior from placing in the top-nine and enjoying the atmosphere he’s worked so hard to reach.

“I can’t be disappointed because I got down here and placed,” said Shaw, who’s throw of 167-04 placed him seventh in the state. “Being able to place here with all the bigger schools is a real accomplishment for me.”

Yorktown’s Chase Clevenger, who made his second state appearance, ended up surprising himself as the junior placed in the high jump after a non-medalist 12th place last year.

“Training,” Clevenger emphasized on his 6-9 leap for fifth place. “I started training last year in the summer and just trained on through … I stepped it up today … I expected to be pretty close, but I wasn’t really expecting to place that high. Things happened, and I got lucky I guess.”

The Arabians’ 4 x 800 relay team weren’t in medal contention, but finished 14th overall with a time of 7:59.53. Meanwhile, Alexandria’s Stuart Pierce finished 20th in the state after clearing six-feet, two-inches in the high jump event.

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