CHARLESTON – Rock Falls senior Matthew Marcum posted the fastest 300-meter hurdles time in Friday’s IHSA Class 2A State Boys Track & Field prelims at O’Brien Field, clocking a 39.73 seconds.
In Saturday’s championship, he ran even faster, blazing a 39.59 on his way to a state championship.
After rebounding so resoundingly from a disappointing finish in the 110-meter hurdles on Friday with his 300 hurdles performance, Marcum came into Saturday’s final as confident as ever.
“I was like, I did it yesterday, just gotta do it again today,” Marcum said.
Early on in the championship race, things didn’t according to plan, but Marcum, who’s known for his strong finishes, did again what he’s done all year.
“That was ... sketchy. I’ve never switched feet before, so when I came up on the second hurdle without hurting myself because I had to switch - I went too high and just fell,” Marcum said. “But I knew on the curve, I could pick it back up. I got back on track, it felt good, and I’m excited.”
While approaching the second-to-last hurdle, Marcum passed East St. Louis’ Demarlynn Taylor, and from there, it was his race to lose. He ended up edging runner-up Taylor by .3 seconds.
@RfRockets1' Matthew Marcum is a 2A state champion in the 300-meter hurdles, running a 39.59 at the state final. pic.twitter.com/6K7tWm9R5C— Dan Wussow (@Dan_Wussow) May 28, 2022
Marcum was a state final qualifier in the 300 hurdles last year as well, placing sixth in a very tight race with a time of 39.56. After reaching the state final again as a senior, he was determined to go out on top.
“I wanted to win, I really wanted to win,” Marcum said. “I’m not trying to be dramatic, but it’s been a long, hard journey for me. So I wanted to finish it on a good note.”
“I’m so excited right now. I feel like I haven’t been this happy in awhile. This is really exciting.”