SHELBINA, Mo. -- Winning an event at a track and field sectional likely puts any athlete in the discussion as a favorite to win a state championship.
South Shelby sprinter Brock Wood won sectional titles in four events -- the 200-meter dash, the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump -- last weekend in the Class 2 meet at Lathrop, and he heads to the state meet in Jefferson City Friday perhaps among the favorites in all four events.
Wood, however, isn't worried about collecting medals.
"Honestly, I don't like thinking about that too much," Wood said. "I just want to improve my times. You can always compare yourself to others, but I think it's more important getting your times down."
Those times have been pretty fast this spring.
Wood won the 110 hurdles in 15.39 seconds, the 200 in 22.89 and the 300 hurdles in 39.85. He won the long jump at 21 feet, 9.5 inches.
In the other Class 2 sectionals, only Cleveland NJROTC's Antonio Norman ran a faster 300 hurdles (37.50) and a faster 110 hurdles. Hayti's Tylor Wooden ran the 110 hurdles in 15.30. Only two athletes had farther jumps than Wood in the long jump.
The 200 is the most crowded field. Six runners had faster times than Wood, but none of them were by more than a second.
Wood insists he isn't comparing his times and distances. He's focusing on improving.
"I learned those lessons my freshman and sophomore year by losing races," Wood said. "But it was good for me to lose races. It helped me understand I'm not always going to be the fastest, and I can improve."
That's how Wood has been all season.
"He doesn't worry about the competition because it's nothing he can control," South Shelby coach Luke O'Laughlin said. "He just does his thing. That usually works out pretty well for him."
Even with the tough competition Wood will see at state, his coach knows there's a chance he can do something special.
"He'll have stiff competition," O'Laughlin said. "Winning all four isn't out of the question, but it'll be a tall, tall feat. It's a really rare feat. We just hope he can make it to finals in all his events because you never know what can happen from there."
Wood qualified for four events last year at state. He finished third in the 100, finishing 0.19 behind the winner. He took seventh in the long jump. However, he didn't advance to finals in a relay, and he also was disqualified in the 300 hurdles for impeding.
Wood says last year's results have no impact on this weekend, except that it let him know he can compete with the best in the state.
"That's the reason I'm running the 110 hurdles this year," Wood said. "I feel like I can separate myself if I work harder, and I have more potential in the hurdles."
State titles in four events would be a good way to separate himself.
"I'll stay relaxed and do my best," Wood said. "If I can do that, we'll see what happens."
South Shelby's Brock Wood qualified for the Class 1 state track meet in Jefferson City this weekend in four events. Here's how his times compare to other sectional qualifying times across the state last weekend.
Norman, NJROTC 15.08
Wooden, Hayti 15.30
Wood, South Shelby 15.39
Sparks, Butler 15.78
Norman, NJROTC 37.50
Wood, South Shelby 39.85
Cole, NJROTC 22.35
Lukefahr, St. Vincent 22.40
Kibler, Lone Jack 22.69
Hays, Monroe City 22.70
Walker, New Bloomfield 22.71
Tate, Charleston 22.74
Wood, South Shelby 22.89
Davis, Crest Ridge 23-1
Cole, NJROTC 21-11
Wood, South Shelby 21-9.5
Helsle, South Callaway 21-4.5
Swearingin, Skyline 21-4