A pulled hamstring was the only thing that kept record-setting high school sprinter Paul Lucas from collecting individual titles in the 200- and 400-meter events at State last year. And now it appears he won’t get a chance this year either, but for entirely different reasons.
An article yesterday by Richard Obert in The Arizona Republic reported that Lucas has been removed from the Mountain Pointe High School track team for what his coach described as a “team rules violation.”
Lucas pulled the hamstring while competing in the long jump event at last year’s Division I state championships, but was able to compete in – and win – the 100-yard dash before being forced to withdraw from the 200 and 400 races, which he was favored to win after dominating those events all year long.
He had set a new school and meet record in the 100 a month earlier at the Chandler Rotary Invitational, and missed another meet record by .03 seconds in winning the 200. The 5’11’, 175 pound speedster owned the fastest times in the nation for both the 200 (20.84) and 400 (46.86) during the 2014 season.
And that kind of speed generally translates to other sports as well. In Lucas’ case, it has brought him almost as much acclaim on the football field as on the oval track.
For a short period of about two months Arizona State was going to become the beneficiary of all that talent. Lucas committed to the Sun Devils during the Christmas holidays, but in February switched that commitment to Oregon State, where he is projected to move from running back to slot receiver.
He was a big part of Mountain Pointe’s march to its first-ever state football title during his junior year and put up solid numbers this year, rushing for 1,057 yards.
It had to hurt the coaching staff when Lucas de-committed from the ASU program, after spending so much time recruiting and thinking they had a local high-profile prospect to showcase for their efforts. Lucas was the No. 3-rated prospect in the state.
But now they may be thinking differently, and perhaps wondering if they dodged the bullet on this one.
Lucas has been injury-prone, and now there appears to be a character issue serious enough to keep him off the track for his senior finale – that follows on the heels of a questionable sense of loyalty that showed up in the quick change in college commitments.
After the hammy injury that ended his junior season, he started the football season with an ankle injury and ended it with a hip pointer that forced an early exit in the state semi-final game, which the Pride lost to Chandler High.
He plans to try to run track while at Oregon State, once again increasing the risk of physical injury.
But that assumes he will still be on the sidelines in Corvallis when football season rolls around. Right now, you can bet the Beavers’ coaching staff is busy looking into the details of his dismissal from the track team.