by Beau Wicker
It was a breakout performance on the state’s biggest stage.
Logansport junior Alex Calisto finished in fifth place in the 800-meter run at the state finals with a time of 1:55.06 Friday night at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Calisto shattered his personal-best time by 2.99 seconds.
“It was a great night,” Calisto said. “I’m really happy with my race performance. My strategy went exactly how I wanted it to. The kid in front of me ran a 56 and I turned it on with 300 to go and didn’t look back.
“I really wasn’t expecting it. When I crossed the line and looked up and saw I ran a 1:55, I was ecstatic. I had no idea I was going that pace.”
Calisto ran in the first of two timed finals since he entered seeded 15th. The top 14 seeds ran in the second final.
He said it could have been a disadvantage to run in the first final but it also could have possibly been an advantage.
Lawrence Central senior Matt Dorsey won the state title with a time of 1:52.74.
“I definitely would have loved to stay up with Dorsey, but it was so clustered I don’t know if I would have gotten out of the big box,” Calisto said.
Calisto knocked seven seconds off his time from last season.
“I don’t know if I can peg it on a single thing,” he said of making such a big leap in just one year. “Daniel Arteaga, our volunteer coach, helps me a lot. I do a lot of harder workouts that they do in college.”
Calisto is now on the state scene. The only non-senior to finish ahead of him Friday was Lawrence North junior Joe Murphy (1:54.81) by a quarter of a second.
“I’m really excited about next year, too,” Calisto said.
Calisto also avenged a regional loss to Warsaw senior Robert Murphy, who finished seventh in 1:55.33 running in the second final.
Logansport coach Randy Kuhn said he would have liked to have seen what Calisto could have done in the second final.
“Calisto was just amazing. He ran the slow race and blew everyone away and finished in fifth place overall,” he said. “I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if he would have been in the fast race.”
Calisto said his plan for this summer is to work on his endurance for cross country, which helps him in track.
“That’s what really helped him last winter,” Kuhn said. “Before then he really didn’t work at it. He finally believed what we’ve been telling him and he got his base in the winter. He’s an amazing kid. He’s No. 1 in his class and a school record holder.”
Emmerd places 21st in discus
Logansport junior Alex Emmerd placed 21st at state in the discus with a throw of 144 feet, 9 inches.
“It wasn’t my night,” Emmerd said.
Emmerd threw a 159-5 last week to win the Kokomo Regional title in the event. He said he was in the zone that night.
“That whole night I was throwing 150. It was just that night,” he said.
If Emmerd could have matched his regional throw he would have placed 10th.
Floyd Central senior Codie Hamsley won the state title with a throw of 194-0.
“He was really tall, long, had everything right he could,” Emmerd said.
Emmerd, like Calisto, made a big leap from this year to last. He said he now plans to work on throwing discus more this summer than he has in the past while also working on basketball and football.
“I’m super proud of them,” Kuhn said. “Emmerd kind of struggled. Part of that was the weather. He was ready to throw at 3 and it was postponed till 5. That meant he had to stick around and worry about what he had to do. I think that effected him some. But you know what, he got there. Going into the regional he didn’t have a shot. I’m really proud of him.
“What’s great is they’re both juniors and they’ll both be back again next year. They’re both fired up for it.”