Spears hurdles to top

Junior Scott Spears sits 1.15 seconds away from setting the Oak Harbor High School 300-meter intermediate hurdle record.  -
Junior Scott Spears sits 1.15 seconds away from setting the Oak Harbor High School 300-meter intermediate hurdle record.
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Every time he steps foot on the track Oak Harbor junior Scott Spears has one thing on his mind: to outdo his last performance.

“I hope to PR (personal record) every time I race,” he said.

In his first five 300-intermediate hurdles races this year he did just that. Not only has he continued to set personal bests, but he has moved to within 1.15 seconds of the school record in the process.

“It’s my year long goal to set this record,” he said. “I want to be up on the boards up there, it would just make me feel good.”

He broke his streak of personal records last Thursday in Snohomish due to poor weather conditions, but was only less than three-tenths of a second away from setting a new PR.

His current best time, 41.12, is third best in school history and is fast approaching Stephan Kulpa’s school record of 39.97 set in 2002. Spears would like nothing more than to pull ahead of his friend and mentor of the last two years.

“He’s checking up on me all the time,” Spears said. “I still doubt he thinks I’m going to make it.”

Showing just how much he has improved in the 300-meter hurdles from last season to this season, Spears has beat 21 athletes, all of whom had better times than him last year. He placed first in all league meets so far and took 15th place among the state’s elite at the Pasco Invitational.

The big showdown will come tomorrow, May 1, when he faces the WesCo North’s top returning 300-meter hurdle runners from last year in Nate Brown of Marysville and state competitor Dan Jackson of Cascade.

“These are the two guys he’s going to be fighting it out with for the league crown,” head coach Seth Hodges said.

Although his own success in 2003 hasn’t come as a surprise to Spears, that’s not the case for everyone else. Hodges knew he had a hard worker in Spears, but his accomplishments thus far have been a pleasant surprise. In fact when turning in the preseason reports to newspapers on returning key athletes, Hodges left out Spears’ name.

“We figured if this guy went to the finals in one of the hurdle races in the league meet, life is going to be good,” Hodges said.

Needless to say, coach Hodges is overly pleased with what Spears has brought to the table in 2003.

“It’s gotten to the point this year, where he’s kind of on auto-pilot,” he said. “He works hard and everyday he gets it done, you wish you had a whole team of guys like him.”

It didn’t always appear that Spears would be where he is at now. As a gangly freshman he ran his first ever 300-meter hurdles over eight seconds slower than this year’s time.

“The first time I did it, I thought it was the worst, but I realized there are a lot harder races,” Spears said.

Physically maturing over the past two years and taking part in Oak Harbor’s NJROTC physical fitness team have been major factors in the increase in performance. He is one of the five members of the physical fitness team, who compete in timed situps, pushups and a mile run.

NJROTC teacher, Captain Mike Black sees how Spears’ work ethic could benefit him in his success on the track.

“He’s the kind of kid anybody would want to have in any kind of program you’re running because he’s always going to do the best he can,” Black said.

If you want to watch the Oak Harbor track and field team in action the only chance you will get to see them at home is at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, May 8 against non-league opponents Coupeville and Friday Harbor.

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