CATLIN — Forty years ago, Ridge Farm's Jim Goad leaped 22 feet on a cinder track to win the long jump and set a Vermilion County meet record.
For the next 39 years, every competitor who took a leap of faith seeking to break the mark fell short.
On Friday, an athlete who didn't participate in track and field last spring eclipsed the oldest record in the books. Junior Derrick McCormick of Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman had a measured mark of 22 feet, 0 3/4 inch to account for the first of four boys' marks that fell at Catlin's all-weather track.
"It feels special," said McCormick, who scratched on his first attempt and broke the record on his second. "Track is not as intense as basketball."
McCormick received extra incentive to return to the sport this year.
"My mom gave me $200 to go out," he said. "She thought it would help me for football."
He hardly felt like celebrating after his feat. On his fourth and final long jump attempt, McCormick never made it to the air. He pulled over to the side with a pulled hamstring and was removed from the remainder of his events.
The Buffaloes were responsible for a meet record in the 400-meter relay, an event that McCormick was scheduled to lead off. Instead, senior Jordan West stepped in and started G-RF/C on a record run (44.84 seconds). He was followed by George Foehrer, Ryan Dieu and Devon Darnell, who was the 110 hurdles champion for the third year in a row.
The 300 hurdles titlist, from Bismarck-Henning's meet champions, was Ian Park. His 40.50 time bettered the mark of former state champion Gabe Spezia of Westville. Coincidentally, Park has been trained in the hurdles by Spezia's uncle, Gary, since eighth grade.
"He is the one who made all this happen," said Park, who was listed on the dyestat.com website with the state's fastest Class 1A time this week. "Any time you can be associated with an athlete like Gabe Spezia is a great thing. He was a gifted runner."
Park was a three-event winner, prevailing in the triple jump and anchoring a 3,200 relay unit that also included Kenneth Albin, Reed Collins and Chase Connelly to victory.
"It was the second time I ran it," Park said. "Any time I can give my team what I can and still do my events, it's a good thing. It was a good day."
The final boys' record occurred in the meet-ending 1,600 relay by more than three seconds. The Hoopeston Area foursome of Kraig Van Wieringen, Hayden Seidel, Brock Ramos and Robbie Irvin — the same runners who'd won the event at the 2009 and 2010 Vermilion County meets — stopped the clock in 3 minutes, 32.33 seconds. The previous record was 3:35.4.
"This is the best feeling," said Irvin, who also won the 400 meters. "It was our ultimate goal, and we've been working harder than last year."
The meet's other multiple-event individual winner was G-RF/C's Matt Avenatti. The junior captured the 3,200 for the third successive year and doubled back to win the 1,600.
B-H won team honors (126) over G-RF/C (116), with defending champion Salt Fork (97) third in the six-team event.
"All week, I've preached, 'You've got to believe' and to give out your personal best," B-H coach Phil Benjamin said. "Our horses did what they were supposed to, and our role players were huge."
Westville's Brandon Pratt repeated as the 100-meter champion, giving the Tigers a streak of three successive years with the county's fastest sprinter. Alex McMahon won in 2009.