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Track: Back on track – After injury, Isaac makes speedy return

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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Christian Isaac

Christian Isaac. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Christian Isaac thinks about the moment almost routinely.

Decatur’s 4×400 team was on the verge of advancing to the finals at the 2017 4A Region II meet. Isaac was the anchor of the relay and tasked with running the final leg of the race.

As he approached the first turn, Isaac felt his left hamstring pull. He managed to finish the race through considerable pain, but the injury greatly impacted his time. The Eagles missed out on the finals and a chance to go to state.

Isaac said he has not looked to see where the team finished or what their time was.

“I never checked the final results,” Isaac said. “I think we got last in our heat. It was too disheartening for me. It was really depressing.”

Decatur placed 13th out of 16 schools, clocking a 3:30.46. The Eagles had qualified with a 3:28.19 at area.

“He still finished the race because that’s who [Isaac] is,” said Decatur coach Landon Wren. “He’s a warrior when he’s out there on the track, but it affected him to the point where he wasn’t able to run like he typically would. He ended up finishing at the back of the pack. It was pretty disappointing for everyone involved. But in track, those things happen.”

When he suffered the injury, Isaac’s focus shifted to his team. The other three members of the relay (Payton McAlister, Kooper Joplin and Moses Ramos) were all seniors.

“I immediately thought ‘Wow, I just let these guys down,'” Isaac said. “There was nothing I could do about it.”

Isaac’s strained hamstring also posed problems for him in the 800. Just a few weeks earlier at area, Isaac ran a 2:00.54 to claim third place. At regionals after sustaining his injury, he placed 11th with a time of 2:08.71 – over eight seconds slower.

“It definitely tore me up mentally,” Isaac said. “It hurt to walk, and it hurt to run. It got me down a great bit.”

But Isaac wasted no time getting back on the track.

With Decatur’s District 9-4A meet starting Wednesday at Argyle, Isaac once again finds himself in a position to compete for a spot at state. The senior won gold in the 800 at the Fit-N-Wise Invitational March 29, posting a 1:59.18.

His personal best of 1:59.09 at the Argyle Invitational March 8 has him ranked fourth in 4A.

“The way I see it is, whenever something tough happens to you, whenever you are faced with adversity, it can either break you or fuel the fire to make you better,” Isaac said. “Hurting my hamstring is something I have used to fuel me. Whenever I think about it in workouts, I think ‘I’m not going to let this happen again. I’m not going to let this slip through my fingers.'”

Isaac had run the 4×400 relay most of this year but did not compete in Decatur’s last meet. Instead, Isaac wanted to run the 1,600 – a race he had not took the track for this year.

Wren obliged and re-worked his relays. Isaac wound up clocking a 4:35.15 and winning gold in the mile. Wren said he is still deciding if Isaac will run the 4×400 or 1,600 Thursday at Argyle.

“That just kind of shows his versatility,” Wren said. “At the district track meet, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what he’ll be doing. I know he’ll be running the 800 and 400, for sure. He’s just an incredible competitor.”

The 4A Region II area meet is April 18 at Decatur. The regional meet is April 27-28 at Texas A&M Commerce.

Isaac said even though it would be nerve-racking competing at the same place he got hurt last year, he is approaching the next several weeks with plenty of confidence.

“It’s definitely really scary, stepping back onto the same track I got injured on,” Isaac said. “It’s really intimidating, but I just have to have confidence in my ability and trust my training. I know I’ve put in a lot of work and hours. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into this.

“It would feel amazing [to make state]. It’s something I’ve dreamed about and something I’ve really been working for. I think if I go back and do make it to state, I’ll probably cry tears of joy.”

9-4A TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS AT ARGYLE

Wednesday

9 a.m. – Field Events
10 a.m. – 3,200 Final
1:30 p.m. – Running Prelims

Thursday

6 p.m. – Running Finals
11-2A Track Championships at Alvord

Wednesday

9 a.m. – 3,200 final
10 a.m. – Running preliminaries
Noon – Field Events
4 p.m. or 1 hour after conclusion of field events – Running Finals

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