A week later, Lawrence's 10.12 100 meters still amazes

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I know very well that BJ Lawrence’s 100-meter dash performance at the Doane Relays April 22 doesn’t rise to the level of breaking the four-minute mile in track and field’s greater scheme of things.

But in the days since he did it, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what it all means, and perhaps what it should mean, to all of us.

First, let’s review the facts. In the 100-meter dash final at the Doane Relays, Lawrence, who is in his second season in a Tiger uniform, won in a time of 10.12 seconds with a “legal” following wind of 1.2 meters per second.

Now, to be sure, we’ve come to expect great things from BJ. Since transferring from Dana after its closure, he has embraced life in the Crete community and the Tiger program, lifting Doane sprinting to a whole new level, winning NAIA championships while bringing back medals from international competition.

Still and all, that was incredible, folks.

And it happened right here.

This was not accomplished in a stadium with tens of thousands of screaming fans, but at Lauritsen Track, with a few hundred parents, die-hard track fans and Doane alumni in attendance for a team reunion.

With all due respect to our home town and college, times like that just aren’t produced in places like this. Look on the 2012 IAAF world 100-meter list and, under “venue,” you see a lot of Kingston, Jamaica, Auburn, Ala., Gainesville, Fla., and so on.

In fact, if this year’s world list were ordered by latitude from north to south, Lawrence would occupy the top spot by quite a ways. As of last week, anyway. (That may have changed with the running of the Drake Relays and Penn Relays last weekend).

At the time he ran his 10.12, Lawrence held a tie for the seventh-fastest time in the world this year. He slid a few notches back after quicker performances in other meets that day. By Wednesday, he was tied for 11th.

No matter. This is something that those of us who were privileged to be there will never forget.

And I wonder — if 10 years from now, we ask for a count of how many saw the race, will more than a few hundred raise their hands?

Again, no matter. Let’s just enjoy being a part of the community and the culture that provide the environment for athletes like Lawrence and his teammates to excel at levels that amaze us.

This is a place that allows these kinds of performances to happen. That’s something to take pride in.

There is some evidence to suggest that Lawrence’s rising tide raises all boats, so to speak. There were six Doane men in that eight-man 100-meter final a week ago Saturday, and four of them — Lawrence, Ben McCaleb, Chris Busby and Adam Baxa — broke 11 seconds.

On Friday and Saturday, the Doane track and field team will be in action at the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships, to be hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan at Abel Stadium and Greeno Track in Lincoln.

Doane’s men won their fourth consecutive outdoor conference title last year, while the Tiger women had a 12-year win streak snapped by Sioux Falls.

The meet begins with the first day of the heptathlon and decathlon on Friday at 1 p.m. Those competitions resume Saturday at 9 a.m.

Field events begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m., with running events scheduled to start at noon.