MC's Holmes won't let anything hold him back


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Posted Online: April 25, 2013, 5:23 pm
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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com
ALEDO — Without hesitating, Mercer County senior hurdler Payton Holmes tells you what it's like not having a track.

"It's very difficult," Holmes said. "We've got to travel all over the place to practice so we can get some real running in."

Sometimes the travel is the worst part.

"But," Holmes said, "we put our time in, and we get our work done."

All of those challenges still cannot hold back Holmes.

Despite Mercer County not having an all-weather track, he finds a way to practice and improve in unorthodox ways. One requires trips to Sherrard or Monmouth so the Golden Eagles can practice on an all-weather track. Another has Holmes working in a school hallway on a makeshift track.

"It does hurt (not having an all-weather track), but we can't make our facilities an excuse for not being good," Mercer County coach Mick Louck said. "There are always ways of doing. As well as he's doing, he's proving that he's not letting a lack of facilities hold him back."

A two-time state qualifier, Holmes enters the final stretch of his high-school career hoping to earn another Class 1A state medal. Louck said he believes Holmes can earn a top-3 finish in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles next month at the state meet, possibly even vying for a state championship.

So far, the numbers show it can happen. Holmes recently posted season-best times in the 110s and 300s, running 14.75 and 40.6 seconds, respectively, last Saturday at the Rockridge Invitational. Four days later, he posted 15.04- and 40.77-second performances during the Golden Eagle Invitational.

The recent results are well under the state-qualifying standard.

"I'm very happy," Holmes said. "I was very focused coming into those races."

What helps is finally running on an all-weather track. Mercer County's track at George Pratt Memorial Field still is a cinder surface, making it difficult to place hurdles on the ground. So when Holmes reaches a meet, it's one of the few times he can run on the all-weather surface.

Whenever the Golden Eagles remain in Aledo to practice, he sometimes must going into the school and practice in a hallway. A tarp is rolled out and three hurdles are placed to create a 40-meter straightaway.

Although it's not an ideal practice situation, the time is not wasted.

"We get what we need to get done," Holmes said. "It's not as much as we'd like to do."

Some work is better than no work.

"A lot of schools are in the same situation," Holmes said. "We never let that affect us."

Especially Holmes.

"He's put in the time," Louck said. "His ability level is high. There's no doubt. ... He does everything he can to get better."

Within the last few weeks, Holmes works in the shadows of a new track. Mercer County recently started a renovation project that includes a new eight-lane, all-weather track at George Pratt Memorial Field. The groundwork shows the outline of the new track. Completion is expected by late August.

By that time, Holmes will be a freshman in college.

"The guys coming up are very fortunate," Holmes said.

Then again, Holmes will have an all-weather track to use starting in the fall.

"It," Holmes said, "is going to be a blessing."


Track this week

Moss Relays (coed)
When: Today
Where: Wethersfield Memorial Stadium, Kewanee
Times: 4:15 p.m. (field events) and 5:15 p.m. (running events)
Teams: Annawan-Wethersfield, Ridgewood, United, Galva, Princeton, Putnam County, ROWVA, Spring Valley Hall, Stark County
Tiger Relays (coed)
When: Today
Where: Clifford King Field, Sherrard
Times: 4 p.m. (field events) and 6 p.m. (running events)
Teams: Alleman, Kewanee, Mercer County, Monmouth-Roseville, Orion, Rockridge, Sherrard
Geneseo Invitational (girls)
When: Monday
Where: Bob Reade Field, Geneseo
Times: 4:30 p.m. (field events) and 5 p.m. (running events)
Teams: Geneseo, Moline, Orion, Rockridge, United Township, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Princeton, Rockford Auburn
Monmouth-Roseville Invitational (coed)
When: Monday
Where: Sunny Lane Field, Monmouth
Times: 4 p.m. (field events) and 4:30 p.m. (running events)
Teams: Mercer County, Monmouth-Roseville, Sherrard, Bushnell-Prairie City-Avon, Farmington, Knoxville, Macomb, West Hancock
Brockman Relays (coed)
When: Tuesday
Where: Petersen-Breedlove Track, Kewanee
Times: 4 p.m. (field events) and 4:45 p.m. (running events)
Teams: Annawan-Wethersfield, Erie-Prophetstown, Kewanee, Riverdale, Bureau Valley, Peru St. Bede, Stark County













 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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