ARTESIA — Dana Hills High School hurdler Jeremy Buck, who was disqualified for running around a hurdle at the Southern Section 4-A track and field preliminaries Saturday, was granted a reprieve on Monday by Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas.
After reviewing a videotape of the race, Thomas ruled that Buck, Orange County's top intermediate hurdler, had indeed been misled by a hurdle that was out of place. Thomas ordered the race to be re-run Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Gahr High School.
John Klink, Dana Hills athletic director and assistant track coach, went to the Southern Section office Monday to appeal the disqualification.
Klink said that when Buck, running in Heat 2 of the 300-meter hurdles, came off the final turn, he was met with a hurdle that was two to three feet away from its proper position. Buck, who had a slight lead on the field, said he stopped and looked for one of the field judges for direction.
"I stopped and completely turned around to look for a judge to see what to do," said Buck, a sophomore and the county leader in the event at 38.74 seconds. "I couldn't see him, so I finally just went around the hurdle and kept going. Right after the race I walked over and (told the meet officials) 'Hey, that hurdle was messed up.' But the guys that were doing the timing finally just said, 'You're dismissed.' "
Although overturning decisions by the use of videotape is not allowed under National Federation of State High School rules, Thomas said he felt this case demanded an exception.
"I know what the rule says--we could hold fast," Thomas said. "I looked at (the videotape) reluctantly. But it was such a flagrant problem . . . we're going to re-run it. It was terrible that the kid had no chance and that's not what we're about. If an adult screws it up, it's not fair to the child.
"I'm going to take some heat, but I'd rather take that heat than not give this kid a chance," Thomas said. "The hurdle was on an angle of about 25-30 degrees (in the wrong direction). (Buck) didn't see that until right before. . . . He had no chance."
Thomas said meet manager Earl Engman will notify all nine entrants in that heat and their coaches of the re-run. The heat winner plus the next five fastest times overall in the four heats will advance to the 4-A championships Friday at Gahr High.