It might not be wise to discount Michael Dickson's plans for a successful senior year.
The Beaufort High School athlete wants to dip below 14 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles and eventually finish in under 13.5 seconds, which would give him a state record and meet the requirements coaches asked to see at the camp he attended at Florida State.
Dickson this past season as a junior showed his capability when healthy, racing to a personal record of 14.24 at the Beaufort County Championships and winnings two golds at the S.C. High School League Class 4-A meet -- in the 110 hurdles and the 4x400 relay.
The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet Boys Track Athlete of the Year was pleased with his finish after dealing with a torn back muscle the previous season, when he finished fourth in the state in 110 hurdles as a sophomore.
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"I just think it was a lot based on preparation," Dickson said. "I did lot in practice to set my goals to how it came out to be. This year I was healthy -- that was my goal, to stay healthy. It worked out."
Dickson ran the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay at state, facing down Northwestern's Trey Stanley.
Dickson had beaten Stanley earlier in the day in the 110 hurdles. It was the first meet the pair had a good opportunity to race after each struggled earlier in the season at the Taco Bell Invitational.
During his decisive leg, he kept tabs on Stanley and moved to ensure he was always in front.
"I knew if my boys give it to me in front, there was nobody coming to get me," Dickson said after the victory in May. "Because if they come up beside me, I'm going to have to pass out or something, because I'm going to go as hard as I can. Either I'm going to die on the track, or I'm going to win."
Now Dickson wants the state record, a 13.65 run in 1991. He is working to perfect his technique, getting up and over the hurdle more efficiently. He is working in small changes designed to shave his time, like not touching his toe as he clears the hurdle.
"Just simple stuff that can get you past that 14 barrier to the 13s," he said.
COACH OF THE YEAR: BRAD TARACUK
This wasn't a state championship team. It wasn't the year following a state championship.
Brad Taracuk wasn't sure how everything would fit with the Whale Branch Early College High School boys track and field team.
As the Warriors prepared for the Class 1-A state meet, Taracuk could see a top-five finish, if everyone performed how he expected. The boys finished fourth, with five Warriors setting personal bests.
"It just kind of showed that all the hard work they put in at the begenning of the year paid off," Taracuk said. "I was pleased with how things turned out, going into the season with all that uncertainty."
At the Class 1-A meet, Casser Middleton broke a school record in the shot put, with a throw of 50.5 feet. Treyvon Bryan's throw of 151 feet, 6 inches in the discus was also a school record. And David Lamb tied a school record by clearing 6-2 in the high jump to tie for second.
It was Lamb's first season competing. He had come out toward the end of the previous season and showed interest, Tarauk said. He committed to the high jump and will be among a few returning when Whale Branch moves up to Class 2-A.
"I think we've got a lot of leaders who got some experience this year who will help us push forward next season," Taracuk said.
Follow Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.
The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet All-Area Boys Track Team
Athlete of the Year: Michael Dickson, Beaufort High
Coach of the Year: Brad Taracuk, Whale Branch
Michael Dickson, Beaufort High (110H, 4x400)
Malcolm Simmons, Beaufort High (4x400)
De' Qaun Cason, Beaufort High (4x400)
Nathan Parker, Beaufort High (4x400, 400H)
David Partridge, Battery Creek (pole vault)
Cleveland Hampton, Battery Creek (triple jump)
Neil Blanken, Bluffton (discus)
Zach Polk, Hilton Head Christian (100, 400, high jump, long jump)
Hilton Head Island High School 4x800-meter relay (Chris Skager, Colton Hennessey, Seamus Love, Victor Jimenez)
Eladio Wilkinson, Hilton Head Island (3200)
Brandon Lawyer, Ridgeland-Hardeeville (400H)
Casser Middleton, Whale Branch (shot put)
Treyvon Bryan, Whale Branch (discus)