Win it for Wil!
That was the mind set for the entire Damascus team going into the 3A West Regional Meet. Wil Zahorodny has given of himself to make those around him succeed. This season, seniors of other sports banded together at coach Youngblood’s suggestion to come help Wil win a title. You could always find Wil at football games, volleyball matches and anything else rooting on his peers.
“Can you guys come support him as he does you,” is what was asked of star volleyball player Ryan Mullsteff, super footballers Evan Zedler, Josh Francis, Matt Keating and Drew Daggan.
The meet plan was set, with the sensational sophomore class stepping it up and Wil acting as leader. The sophomores Ben and Jon Constantinides and Thomas Arias led off the meet beautifully in the 4x800 with Wil anchoring in a modest 2:02 for a win (he was told to back off in the last 200 meters).
Zed would do his part by placing in the top 6 in the 300. Drew Daggan would place 4th in the shot put and play mentor to his youthful throwing mate, sophomore Jake Furr, who would throw 47’6 and take 1st. Mullsteff knew what was needed as he kept pushing the bar higher. He won the high jump at 6’2. Keating didn’t disappoint as he took 2nd in the pole vault.
The team looked up and saw they had an 11 point lead with 3 events left, but a disaster happened as the Hornet guys blew hand-offs and got DQ’d in 4x200. Largo won the 4x200 and suddenly the Hornets were only winning by 1pt.
With but one event left after the 800, the guys did not drop their heads but knew the best was probably a 2nd place team score as they were 8 behind with top seeded Largo in the same heat.
“Look, let’s just go out and put this 4x4 in states”, stated coach Youngblood.
“Blood, I think I can do this,” says Josh Francis, who had never run a 400 in a meet in his life.
Hurdler Sam Weeks (3rd) took Josh to warm him up and boost his confidence.
“I can do better than last time” says Zedler, “let me start it off”.
Wil just put his arm around sophomore Devante Thomas and let him know they all trusted him.
“Forget time. Just keep form and let’s do this,” adds coach Youngblood.
The guys looked on as their counterparts, the lady Hornets, took 3rd (later 1st after DQ’s) running right before them.
Zedler did not let down as he led off with a nice :52 plus. Sophomore DeVante put the guys in right behind Largo with a solid leg. Francis came blasting down the home straight in a solid :52 to put the Hornets right behind Largo with Wil the Thrill anchoring. Wil cruised through the first 200 and then was told to “drop him…now” on the back straight. He responded as he blew by a stunned Largo runner and ran an insane :49.3 anchor.
The guys knew they all did what they could and were going to states. What they didn’t know is a yellow flag was up.
Mullsteff, who had been cheering like mad, saw it and told Youngblood, “You see that Largo guy get mad and throw his baton?”
All held their breaths.
After what seemed like an eternity, the results were read for all to hear but it took a moment for the result to process. Largo was DQ’d thus forfeiting its 8 points.
Pandemonium broke out as the Damascus team realized the guys had just won its 1st ever Indoor Regional Championship by 2 points.
The Win for Wil became a reality as you could see both the Lady Hornets and guys hug and mob Wil as he received one special gift. He was handed the 1st place plaque by Drew and teammates.
And Wil, always thinking of others, said “did you see Devante?” knowing what all of his teammates gave of themselves this day for this one special moment. Regional Champions!
Goals for States: “None, lets’ just go and do your best and let’s just see how it all plays out… who knows” says coach Youngblood.
1st to call about meet: Jamal Currica from college who is so happy for the guys, “Man Blood, we finally did it”. “Yeah Jamal, and you started this. I want to thank you for showing them,” replies Youngblood via cell phone from the meet.