May 31, 2013

Calisto, Emmerd gear up for boys state track meet

by Beau Wicker

— It’s a good time for Logansport sports fans to dust off their “En Fuego” T-shirts.

A Calisto hasn’t made this much hay in Logansport since Stefan Calisto pitched the Berry baseball team to the state finals in 1996 along with Aaron Heilman.

Alex Calisto will represent the Berries in the 800-meter run at today’s boys state track meet at Indiana University in Bloomington. He will be joined by teammate Alex Emmerd, who will compete in the discus.

The two juniors are each making their first state finals appearance.

The 800 gets underway at 7:45 p.m. tonight. Calisto will compete in the first of two timed finals.

Calisto said on Thursday that he’s a little under the weather and hopes that doesn’t affect his outcome. He enters seeded 15th.

“I’m hoping to get in the top nine for a medal,” he said. “I think to get ninth I have to drop one second.”

Calisto has already broke the school record in the 800 in consecutive weeks at the sectional and regional at Kokomo. The record was owned by Mark Courtad set in 1993 with a time of 1:58.70. Calisto ran a 1:58.67 in winning a sectional title and ran a 1:58.05 to finish runner-up at the regional.

Warsaw senior Robert Murphy won the regional title with a time of 1:55.46.

“The regional was a tough race,” Calisto said. “The Murphy kid from Warsaw ran a 1:55 and he didn’t have the same race strategy as I did. He was more of a solo alone, he went off on his own, and I’m more of a sit-and-kick kind of guy. So it went in his favor but I think I can drop some time at state.”

The times were generally slow across the board at the regional but that didn’t stop Calisto from running a personal-best time.

“It was so cold and windy at regionals. It was kind of miserable,” he said. “There were barely any state standards set.”

Earlier this season at the Cass County meet Calisto broke the Logansport record in the 400 with a time of 50.04 seconds. Bill Hiatt had set the old record of 50.30 in 1983.

“I actually would have made it into the state meet in the first heat for the 400 if I did it, but they’re right next to each other so I couldn’t do both. So I decided on the 800, I like it more,” Calisto said. “It really was a tough decision for me, but I decided on the 800 because that’s what I ran in middle school actually. It was kind of a sentimental thing.”

Calisto, who stands in at 6-foot-2, also runs cross country but with his speed is better suited for track. Stefan Calisto, who now teaches at Columbia Middle School, is his uncle.

Emmerd shocked the field last week in Kokomo to claim the regional discus title. After finishing third at the sectional with a throw of 142 feet, 1 inch in perfect conditions to throw, he uncorked a throw of 159 feet, 5 inches in poor conditions to win the regional title.

“I was seeded 11th, so I didn’t really have any pressure so I just went out there and just threw it I guess and took first and never left,” he said. “Every time I throw at Kokomo I throw decently. It was just I got my footwork down, it just happened I guess.

“I don’t know. I was like, ‘it’s too cold out, I’m not going to do anything special.’ I wasn’t expecting it. That’s all I can say.”

Emmerd is hoping 11 is his lucky number again today. The discus gets underway at 3 p.m. today.

“I’m seeded 11th again, so I don’t really have any pressure. I’m just hoping to place at least,” he said. “Hopefully I keep PR’ing, keep going up. I’m working on form and technique, that’s all I can do right now.”

Emmerd, who stands in at 6-4, 250 pounds, started at left tackle for the Logan football team last fall and also started in some games at center for the boys basketball team. He started throwing discus in the eighth grade and said while track and field is his best sport, basketball is his favorite.