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Tom Shade, Contributor

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They say time is relative, and 4 tenths of a second can seem an eternity, but that’s how close District Nine’s ‘AA’ top 800 runner Linkin Nichols was from doing what no other DCC athlete has ever accomplished—making the state finals in track & field. Nichols, 14th amongst all ‘AA’ runners in Pennsylvania, went through a series of tests both before and during the race that runners often encounter only at the state championships.

“There was a one hour delay in the race and Linkin did a nice job of staying in the shade on what was a very warm, sunny day and he was carefully timing his warmups beforehand, in and out of the hot sun. When the gun went off Linkin had to fight the other runners who were boxing him in. It is often a shock to experience how fast the other runners move together at this level of competition and he was forced on the outside to get the position he wanted, and he managed to stay in third place awhile until the last 150 yards where it became difficult to break past a tight group of runners. The 800 is perhaps the toughest race in track, requiring speed and endurance unlike any other event, and there is not much room for error or time to adjust.”(Coach Shade).

Nichols also was forced to fight the elements as the team did all season with the rain & cold, but this time it was the heat.

“The track was so hot that Linkin’s feet were in pain from burning, even when running. We kept wet towels to keep his body temp down, but the heat was a factor to overcome, both mentally & physically, and this was something we did not have to deal with all season.”

Nichols becomes the all-time second highest place winner at the state championships behind Joey Varischetti’s 12th place in 2016 as a shot putter. He has amassed nearly 100 points in scoring for the 2018 season, a silver medal at districts, a new school record, and was a member of one of the top 4×8 relay teams in DCC history as that event was performed this season for the first time since the 1970s.

“ Linkin really fought with confidence at the state meet, much stronger than last year, and I know he wishes he could run that race again. His expectations rose this year as they will in 2019. His track legacy has just begun.”

The Cardinals end the 2018 season with record numbers of participants who competed in all 18 events. Four new school records were accomplished as well as freshman records. The Cards experienced a historic meet win, scads of invite medals, and impressive numbers in event wins, personal records, and points scored. The Cards represented both the field & track in the post-season.

“This group left another noted legacy for future teams to compare with. When you step back and look what was done in 2018 these athletes stand high with the last 48 years of DCC track & field.”

The awards ceremony & celebration will take place at DCC on Friday, June 1st at 6pm for all athletes and families.