By GREG MENGELT
NEW WASHINGTON —
New Washington senior Adan Diaz can do about anything in a track meet. He excels at the 300-meter hurdles and the 800 run.
He’s also been known to run long distance races and do the long jump.
“Since he’s been a freshman, he’s always competed in four events,” New Washington coach Mike Schneider said. “We tried some different ones [over the years].”
“It is strange but it works for him,” senior teammate Ian Hughes said of Diaz’s events.
Diaz has made a habit of winning three or four events in a meet this year. But with the Southern Athletic Conference in a week and the sectional just a couple weeks away, Diaz has started to turn his attention to the 300 hurdles, at which he’s unbeaten in 2013.
Diaz, who also runs cross country and plays basketball, said he’s been spending extra time on his own over the weekend with the SAC meet in mind. For the past couple of weeks, he has gotten up early and gone for a light run before working on hurdles.
“Right now, my main focus is the 300 hurdles,” said Diaz, who hit a hurdle and finished fifth in the event at conference a year ago. “I’m looking forward to it. I really think I can do it.”
“His big event is going to be the 300 lows,” Schneider said. “He should be able to win that, barring a trip on a hurdle. He’ll be real competitive in the other events, too.”
Diaz hasn’t settled on which events he’ll run in the SAC and at the Jeffersonville Sectional. With host Borden likely to dominate the distance events in the SAC, he’ll probably avoid the 3,200. However, a lineup of the 800, the 1,600 and the hurdles isn’t out of the question.
“He’s got a great work ethic,” Schneider said. “Adan’s problem is he’s not very big. He has to make up for it with determination. He’s got a lot of endurance. He’s really strong. He doesn’t have any problem [running all of the events].”
With only 10 boys’ athletes on the New Wash team, a high finish at conference may seem out of reach. With Diaz and Hughes contenders in several events, the Mustangs feel they have a shot at a their highest finish in years.
Hughes is unbeaten in the 400 this year and has only been beaten once within the conference in the high jump.
“Our team goal is to finish second in the conference, but it’s a team sport. Two guys can’t do it alone,” Diaz said. “We’re trying to get some guys to come up in some events.”
“This year, [Diaz and Hughes have] kept us from finishing last all the time,” Schneider said. “We don’t have enough of the numbers to finish first in our meets, but we’re now competitive every meet.
“We’ve always been in the lower half the last several years, so we’re looking to finish in the upper half this year. We’re hoping to finish at least third or fourth. We think that’s reachable.”