With today's advanced timing systems, which can record a track runner's time to the 1/1000th of a second, there's really no need to worry about getting an accurate finish time at a track and field meet -- especially the UIL Texas State Track and Field Championships.
And with coaches, assistant coaches, parents, friends and other family members in the stands, it would be very surprising for a distance runner not to get all of his lap splits, too. Someone -- usually at least one of the coaches -- will have every split, down to the tenth of a second.
However, it appears as though Lewisville Marcus' Craig Lutz had concerns about whether he would get accurate splits and a final time in the 5A boys 3200 meters on Saturday at UT's track stadium. TRT photographer Bert Richardson noted that Lutz' fiddled with his watch at the end of each lap, in order to record his splits. Lutz also made sure to stop his watch as he approached the finish line (see time-sequence photos to the left).
Look for coverage and photos from the UIL State Track Championships in the June issue of TRT. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe!
While none of this affected the finish order in the race -- Lutz won comfortably (second and third place can be seen in the distant background in the series of photos) -- it more than likely cost Lutz his opportunity to etch his name in the Texas state record book.
Lutz's winning mark of 8:52.91 left him about a half-second shy of the state meet record of 8:52.34, set by Conroe McCullough's Eric Henry way back in 1987. Even if reaching for his watch each lap only cost Lutz 1/10th of a second per lap, that's enough to have made the difference between winning the state championship only versus winning the state title and owning the state meet record, too.
Maybe Henry will post a tweet about his record still standing. Or maybe he'll drop Lutz a congratulatory e-mail or post a nice message on Lutz's Facebook page.
Who knows -- maybe Henry will add Lutz to his Christmas card list. He could even send him a watch.