Wichita Kevin Logan got his wish Friday night - basking in the glow of hundreds of fans gathered around the Cessna Stadium high-jump pit.
The fact he was laid out flat on his back didn't take the luster off his big moment the slightest bit.
The Lawrence High senior made good on his quest to bring home a gold medal from the Class 6A state track and field meet, clearing 6 feet, 6 inches on his third and final attempt to outlast two opponents who missed at the same height and finish atop a field of 16 competitors in the final event on Day One of two-day championships.
It means Logan now has the desired companion piece to go along with the gold he won at last year's Kansas Relays, while at the same time bettering the bronze he captured at last year's state meet.
"As soon as I hit the mat, I heard Hood yelling. I could hear him above everyone else," said Logan, referring to LHS head coach Jack Hood. "I knew I had it.
"After all three of us missed our first two attempts, to be the jumper that gets it, with a messed-up back ... it feels real good."
Ah yes, his back. About an hour before the event, Logan felt it start to spasm, a recurrence of an injury he suffered during the Shawnee Mission North Relays earlier this month. Fortunately, a visit with the trainer and a dab of Icy Hot took care of the problem and got him through his gold-clinching leap.
However, once Logan had the pit - and the attention - to himself, his injury flared up again. On his second attempt at 6-9, Logan clipped the bar, then landed on top of it with spasm-central, leaving him laid out on the mat for approximately 10 minutes until the pain subsided.
Totally worth it since it followed his moment in the limelight.
"I can't even really describe it. It's just kind of a 'Lost in Space' type thing," said Logan about the attention that's showered on the lone jumper standing. "Pressure ... I love pressure. I guess you could say I like being the center of attention."
Unfortunately, the second city athlete to take center stage on opening day also got there because of an injury. While fellow Free State sprinters Christian Ballard and Austin Winn held up in the wake of their recent hamstring troubles - helping the Firebirds qualify for today's finals in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays - senior Keron Toussaint was not so lucky.
After winning his heat in the boys 400 preliminaries and qualifying second overall, Toussaint's own hobbled hammy struck in the 200 prelims, as he skittered across the line second in his heat.
Immediately following that race, Free State head coach Steve Heffernan was expressing regret about allowing Toussaint to run, all but conceding his top speedster would be a no-go on Day Two.
Not so fast said Toussaint a short while later.
"No, I'm not done," said Toussaint with an air of defiance as he headed to the trainer's tent for a strength test to determine the extent of the injury. "It doesn't matter how hurt I am, I'm still going to run tomorrow.
"The only way I'm not going to run is if I can't walk."
While Toussaint must wait until today's finals round to see how much he'll ultimately be able to help his team's cause, the first day of action allowed several city athletes competing in field events to do their part.
In the girls pole vault, LHS senior Abby Jones provided a solid bookend to her storybook senior season, clearing 11-0 to win a bronze medal that will sit nicely beside the gold she won last fall in the all-around at the gymnastics state meet.
"I'm really happy with it. It's a really great year this year," said Jones, who hopes to walk on to the Kansas University track squad next year. "I improved a lot in the pole vault. I know I can do better with it and I'll keep working on it this summer."
Right behind Jones in fourth place was Free State senior Ashley Sakamura, who cleared 10-6.
"I had a lot of fun and I was pleased that I had tied my PR (personal record)," said Sakamura, who also moved up a spot after finishing fifth at state last year.
Other medal winners in Friday's field events included Lawrence High's Brian Houle in the boys javelin (fifth) and Malcom Brown in the boys long jump (sixth), and Free State's Lindsay Simms in the girls discus (fifth) and Todd Lee in the boys pole vault (sixth).
Also, in the lone track event to award medals Friday, Free State's Kyra Kilwein and Lawrence High's Kelly Renfro offered up their own 3-4 finish in the girls 3,200 meters.
Both schools will look to add to their medal hauls today beginning at 8 a.m. The meets will conclude with team award presentations scheduled for 8:25 p.m.