BLOOMINGTON — Jeremy Breedlove put in four years of diligence to put himself in this position.
Not many athletes are able to boast a success story quite like his. Saturday’s IHSAA state track and field finals served as the culmination of an unlikely journey: from last in the conference meet as a freshman to the podium stand at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University.
Breedlove finished fourth in in the 1,600-meter run in 4:15.79 to put a cap on his prep career. And if not for a cluster of misfortune during the race, his worst-to-first fairy tale would have been cemented for all of history.
“I’m happy,” Breedlove said. “I’m here and I made the podium. I wasn’t running the race for time. I did what I could and I have no regrets. Fourth place — I’m fine with that.”
In a meet with magnitude the proportions of the state finals, good fortune is almost always on the side of those who enjoy the honors of standing atop the podium.
Bad luck befell Breedlove, the race’s top seed coming in, from the outset. He was pinned in on the inside of the running surface from the start, leaving him at the will of his competitors for the first lap and a half.
“I started on the inside,” Breedlove explained. “I was the third person [in my pairing], so I knew it was going to happen. It took a lot of energy to get out, and I tripped at one point [on the backstretch] trying to get out. It slowed me down a little bit, but it wasn’t awful.”
The IUPUI recruit finally broke out of that cage near the end of the second lap and crept into the top 10. Once free of the traffic, he stretched his legs and surged into the lead with roughly 500 meters to go.