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Sycamore's Dion Hooker wins state title in 200 meters

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 10:31 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, May 27, 2013 12:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Clark Brooks for Shaw Media)
Sycamore 's Dion Hooker pumps his fist with a big smile after winning the Class 2A 200-meter dash finals at the IHSA state track and field meet on Saturday. He won the race with a time of 22.23.

CHARLESTON – For most high school sophomores, a sixth-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A State Track Meet would be reason for celebration.

For Sycamore sophomore Dion Hooker, finishing sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.99 on Saturday in Charleston was merely a source of motivation for his next race.

In the hour before he won the 200 meters, Sycamore's first individual state championship since 1970, Hooker was down after finishing three spots lower than his opening seed in the 100. When he stepped into the blocks for the 200, he had redemption in mind.

“I wasn't too happy with my end result,” Hooker said. “So I knew I needed to come back in the 200 and do better.”

After hanging with his competitors for the first curve, Hooker pulled away from the pack down the stretch to cruise to the state championship with a time of 22.23.

“I just ran in exactly how I wanted,” Hooker said. “I saved a little bit for the end, and just let go at the straightaway.”

Expectations for Hooker to win a state championship were planted after he qualified for last year's state finals and finished ninth in the 100 in 2012. He didn't run his best race, the 200, last season because his coaches elected to put him in the 4x400, which comes just after his premier event.

But the potential for greatness was clear.

“When you make it to the finals as a ninth grader, that's when you start to have some thoughts that this could turn into something pretty special,” said Doug Hooker, Dion's father. “I didn't know it would happen so quickly, but that's exciting.”

Hooker came into the meet with high expectations, seeded first overall in the 200. But coach Pete Piccony said Hooker, Sycamore's school-record holder in the 100 and 200, is still in awe of his competitors at times.

“I think he had to realize as a sophomore that he belongs there,” Piccony said. “He needs to not be so awestruck by some of those seniors that he's running against, an go up and compete with them, because he can.”

In the 100, Hooker proved that he belonged right with the top sprinters in the state. In the 200, he showed that he's a cut above his competition.

“I think the 200 helped him forget about that 100,” Piccony said. “I hope this 200 helps him realize that he's at that top tier with whoever else is out there.”

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