John Hester was digging deep, so deep it was going back a generation. It was on the same track, in the same meet, that his father (also named John Hester), raced for Team Indiana in the 1975 Midwest Meet of Champions.
The Carroll senior middle distance runner raced down the backstretch and into the final turn of Spuller Stadium at Northrop High School. It was the final race of the day, the 1,600-meter relay and Hester badly wanted a victory for the Indiana team.
“I knew he was over the line, so I was racing for first,” Hester said, acknowledging that he knew something only one other person in the stadium did. “So I was just trying to beat the Michigan guy to the line.”
Hester was able to do just that, passing Michigan’s anchor in the final 50 meters. In fact, he nearly caught the Ohio anchor but then it didn’t matter: Ohio was disqualified because it had passed the baton outside the exchange zone.
Hester, who a week earlier had raced on Carroll’s state champion 3,200-meter relay team, had hoped to run the 400 meter at the meet, which would be the same race his father (of Indianapolis Northwest) ran in. He had finished sixth at IHSAA meet in the event, but it was his never-say-die attitude that appealed to Team Indiana coaches, who thought Hester would be more valuable in a relay.
Hester’s victory in 3:14.2 allowed Indiana (148.5) to hold off Michigan (138) in the final team standings and place second to Ohio (178.5).
Other area boy’s scoring for Indiana were Carroll’s Ryan Cavender (second in the 300 hurdles), Snider’s Mitch Dutton (1,600) and Snider’s Adam Williams (third, 3,200 relay).
The Star of Stars Awards were won by Ohio's Duke Taylor of East Canton H.S. (field) and Michigan's Kyle Redwine of Avondale H.S. (track). Taylor won the discus with a toss of 193-feet, the third best mark in meet history. Redwine won the 100 (10.67), 200 (21.43) and was on the winning 400-meter relay team.
In the girl’s meet, DeKalb thrower Rachel Dincoff placed second in the shot put (45-feet-1) and eighth in the discus (129-6) as Team Indiana placed third with 105 1/3 points. Ohio won with 185 and Michigan was second with 184 2/3.
The Star of Stars Awards were won by Indiana's Cassie Wertman of Southridge H.S. (field) and Michigan's Kyra Jefferson of Detroit Cass Tech (track). Wertman won the shot put with a meet record heave of 51-0.5, breaking the record by nearly two feet. Wertman also placed second in the discus with a toss of 145-3. Jefferson also set a meet record with her 23.81 effort in the 200. Jefferson was also on the winning 800-meter relay team.
Other area girl’s scoring for Indiana were Northrop’s Emma Mirwaldt (sixth in the 800) and Demetra Taylor (fifth in the 100 hurdles).