Four state track medals for Sean Irwin

BY will johnson

sports editor


JEFFERSON CITY — Qualifying for the 2018 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships in four events, Owensville Dutchmen senior Sean Irwin came in as one of the favorites to claim a state championship in the Class 3 Boys 110-meter hurdles.

“He really wanted to win that hurdle race in the 110’s,” Coach Matt Candrl said. “He hit the eighth hurdle which slowed him up a little bit. At that point he was still ahead of the Chillicothe kid (Brett Shaffer)

In spite of settling for second place in that event, Irwin went on to do something that only two other Dutchmen athletes have done in the history of the Owensville High School track and field program by winning four state medals in the same meet.

“Being able to earn medals in four events at state is a testament to him and his talent level,” Candrl said.

Irwin joins former Dutchmen track athletes Jon Coyle (1994) and Tanner Waits (1996) as the only Dutchmen track athletes to earn All-State honors in four events during the same state meet.

Irwin’s quest for four state medals began Friday morning in the preliminaries of the Class 3 Boys 110-meter hurdles.

Winning his preliminary heat in a time of 14.70, Sean entered the finals Saturday with the fastest qualifying time.

Caught from behind by Chillicothe senior Brett Shaffer, Irwin settled for second place in the 110m hurdles in a new school-record time of 14.62.

“I was pretty upset with myself after the 110’s,” Irwin said. “I’m glad I was able to bounce back and earn All-State in my other three events.

Later on Friday, Irwin also competed the first of two preliminary heats of the Class 3 Boys 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

Placing fourth in his heat with a time of 40.27, Irwin qualified for the finals with the sixth-fastest time.

Earning one more race with St. James junior Grant Conway, Irwin made the most of it.

Finishing fifth in the finals in a time of 39.67, Sean became the second Dutchmen 300m hurdler to break the 40-second plateau along with Devon Dowler.

“It was exciting to see Sean go under 40 (seconds) and hit his PR,” Coach Candrl said. “He was very determined to something about what happened earlier (in the 110m hurdles).

Already with two medals in his pocket from events on the track, the Dutchmen senior made his way to the field competing in both the Class 3 Boys Long Jump and High Jump.

Starting just after the noon hour in the long jump, Irwin’s first jump of 21 feet, 6.5 inches put him in fifth place going into the finals.

“He had the long jump in between both the hurdle races,” Candrl said. “He put out a nice jump early to get himself into the finals.”

Bumped out of fifth place by Cardinal Ritter junior Rasheed Rickets with a leap of 22-00.25, Sean settled for sixth place in his final high school long jump competition.

In his fourth-and-final event at the state track meet, Irwin stared down the bar one more time in the Class 3 Boys High Jump.

Opening the event at five feet, nine inches, Sean cleared his opening attempt at that height along with those at five feet, 11 inches, six feet, one inch and six feet, two inches.

Down to nine athletes going into six feet, three inches, Irwin needed all three attempts to have a shot at equaling his personal record (PR) of 6-04.

“Making 6-03 on his third attempt pushed him down to eighth while he could’ve been around fifth or sixth had he made it on his first attempt,” Candrl said. “He did an awesome job this weekend when we needed him to perform across the board at a higher level.”

In spite of missing 6-04 on all three of his attempts, Irwin earned his fourth state medal in as many events of the Memorial Day Holiday weekend with an eighth-place finish in the high jump.