In an off-hand conversation last year, Menomonee Falls boys assistant track coach Jim Geisthardt said that the Indians defending state 110-high hurdle champion Matt Widule could break the Holy Grail of 14 seconds flat on a good day.
On Tuesday, at the Greater Metro Conference Outdoor hosted by the Falls, Widule got that good day, destroying the conference record, setting a new state yearly best and sweeping past the 29-year old official state record of Jay Payton of Madison West with an astonishing 13.96 second clocking.
It is the first fully automatic timing of any Wisconsin prep athlete under the 14-second barrier ever in the high hurdles.
"I knew it was fast," Widule said. "It's just something you can feel at the end of a race. I knew I got out pretty well, but I also remember my 14.21 (from last season) felt pretty good too."
"Something like this is always in the back of your mind, but you can't obsess about it before a race. I just told myself I needed a clean race today, which I haven't had many of lately. I had a good breeze though not a great one behind me, but it did help."
Widule, who also won the 300 intermediate hurdles and the long jump as well as taking part in the second-place 800 relay, efforts that led the Indians to a fourth-place finish in the team standings, vaulted from sixth to first on the all-time Wisconsin list with the time.
The only faster times than his 14.21 going into today were two decade-old hand-held clockings of 14.04 by City Conference hurdlers Rashaun Henderson of Milwaukee Madison and David Whitten of Vincent. The fastest fully automatic time ever by a Wisconsin athlete in all settings was by Adam Hexum of Hayward three years ago at 14.08 in a Junior Olympic meet.
Payton's official record (such marks can only be set at the state meet) is 14.09. Former WISAA champion Tom Burger of Milwaukee Lutheran turned in a 14.2 in 1990.
There was no "oohs" and "aahs" after the time went up, said Widule, but he did have one great moment of acknowledgement.
"Right after I finished I went past the scorer's tent and a guy yelled out to me 'You did it!' and I just pumped my fist and said 'Yes!'," Widule noted. "I then went over to my official cheering section (His Mom, his uncle and others) and celebrated."
Widule knows that this piece of late-season hurdle wizardry will do nothing more than put more pressure on those early June days in La Crosse, when he tries to officially take down the state mark.
"I'm looking for a fun time up there," he said.
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