Driggers keeps on ticking

 by Haddie Breugem

 

By Gary Van Cleave

Special to Hillsboro Free Press

Like Timex watches, Hillsboro Trojan junior Seth Driggers takes a licking but more importantly keeps on ticking as the Timex commercials once said.

Last year he injured his hip in the back half of the track season while triple jumping. That injury only worsened by regionals.

“At the regional meet, even though I should have had the marks to make state, I fractured my hip coming out of the blocks for the 200 and the season ended there,” Driggers said.

No state championship as a sophomore. Not even an opportunity to showcase his skills to other Class 2A competitors.

“Well immediately after, I was just devastated the season was over,” Driggers noted. “I didn’t really think about the injury, I was just upset because I felt I should’ve made state.

“Mentally I just wanted to get going again. I couldn’t stand to not work out or run so I just stayed motivated for football and went to all the workouts until I was cleared. I don’t believe I was ever in a bad head space, I just wanted to be at 100% for the next season. I just put all my focus into my recovery so I had no time to feel bad for myself.”

He’s back to being a tormentor after putting up notable numbers in football, basketball and now track. He’s now ready to make a statement.

On Friday, April 26 in a meet at Hillsboro, he won the 100 and 200, helped the 4×1 to a third place finish and took fourth in the long jump. He set a new pr of 11.10 in the 100.

“Well I am proud of the marks I’ve been able to hit this far, but I’ve always had high expectations for myself,” Driggers said. “I am impressed by being able to hit these marks in the early parts of the season. My coach and I had better marks in mind for me, but if I keep improving and the rate I’m supposed to, I will get there in no time.”

Until the Bob Nightingale Invitational at Halstead recently, he took first in every individual event that he participated in.

“Our (4×1) relay has been getting consistently better throughout the year so far,” Driggers said. “In our first meet we were disqualified for our handoffs, but we have been placing consistently in top three since then, getting fourth at the Nightingale.”

Jesiah Gooch, Preston D’Albini and Peter Farha – two freshmen and a sophomore – have teamed up with Driggers to run a 45.70.

“I would say he is someone a lot of younger kids on the team look up to for the fact that he pushes himself so hard and helps others in practice,” D’Albini said. “I learned to be a better teammate from him.”

Overall Driggers has 10 golds on the season (nine individual events, one relay); three silvers (two individual events); a bronze and two fourth-place.

“The Nightingale had my first losses in individual events this year, but I ended up setting my pr in both long jump and the 100 in that meet,” he said. “So I am definitely happy with that performance despite getting second.”

Driggers’ success began his freshman year.

“My freshman year I definitely did well for my age,” he said. “I was a 400 runner and did long and triple jump as well. I had some decent marks with a 55 in the 400, in the 19-foot range for long jump and a 40-foot triple jump. I sadly didn’t have the marks to make state, but I was able to consistently get better and learn from some of our experienced jumpers to get to where I am now.”

As a sophomore, he started to anchor the 4×1 and replaced the 400 with the 200.

“I had a great year setting new marks with a 21-5 long jump, 42-6 triple jump and 22.91 200,” he noted. “I hurt my hip sometime in the back half of the season while doing triple jump and that hurt my performance the rest of the year. I was still able to take first in my league for long jump despite the pain, but I had to scratch the rest of my events that meet.”

He’s back for a vengeance in his junior campaign.

“It feels really good to come back from an injury even stronger than I was before it had happened,” he said. “It means a lot to be up there with some of the best in my qualification and I can’t wait to see if I can take the top spots for all three of those events.”

“Seth is a hard worker in the classroom and in athletics. Seth doesn’t take a single practice off,” junior Anders Weisbeck said. “If you can’t find him at the track or working out he is probably at a football camp. He is always on that grind and loves the competition. Seth does not like to lose.”

“It will take a lot to win state this year,” Driggers said. “I’ve been working hard all year just to be where I am at, but I will need to work harder than ever to be able to compete with these guys in the biggest meet of the year. For my races specifically I am going to need to really work on my start so that I can start as well or better than I have been finishing my races.”

As for college, he’s exploring his options at the moment. He caught five touchdown passes, picked off six passes and finished with 613 all-purpose yards as well as a punt return for a TD and a pick six.

“I hope to compete in football, track or both at the collegiate level but also getting an engineering degree is very important to me because I know I won’t have sports forever,” Driggers said. “Whether it is track or football I just want to be able to compete at the highest level possible while also getting a great education to set me up for my future.”

A state championship would springboard him to that promising future.

“It would mean the world to me. I have been striving for it for years and it has been one of my biggest goals that I have set for myself throughout high school,” Driggers said. “While it is a dream of mine to be a state champion in my personal events, I also want us as a team to have a plaque to show for all of our hard work this year because my teammates are the ones who constantly push me to be better.”

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