Highland Park’s John Rutledge was as fast as he’s ever been at the Class 5A state track and field meet on Friday in Austin.
However, Che Nwabuko was just barely faster — 0.02 seconds to be exact — in a thrilling 200-meter showdown that gave Rutledge the silver medal in his final race for the Scots.
Rutledge, running on the same track on which he will compete in college at the University of Texas, posted a personal best time of 20.55 seconds.
It was a remarkable performance by Nwabuko, a senior from Manor, who was running in his third event of the day after winning gold in both the 100 and the 4×100 relay. He is headed to the University of Pittsburgh to play wide receiver.
The two elite sprinters renewed their rivalry from a year ago, when Nwabuko edged Rutledge by 0.01 seconds for the bronze medal in the 200, with Rutledge taking fourth.
Rutledge had the fastest qualifying time of any of the nine athletes in the event after winning the Region II title in 20.83 seconds. He improved upon that time at state, but Nwabuko, whose Region III victory came in 21.07 seconds, blazed down the track more than a half-second faster on Friday.
Meanwhile, HP junior Luke Herring placed sixth in his first state appearance in the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.52 seconds. Herring broke the school record multiple times this season in the event.