WARSAW – The Warsaw boys track program has taken a huge step forward this season.
How the talented group of athletes from the No. 7 Tigers perform at the State Finals Saturday will only add icing on the cake for what has been a tremendous year for coach Matt Thacker’s team.
Warsaw has athletes entered in six events, double last year’s total, for the 109th annual event set for Saturday starting at 3 p.m. on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.
The Tigers won the Northern Lakes Conference championship and then a sectional title before finishing as runner-up to Penn at the Kokomo Regional by one point to No. 8 Penn last week.
“It’s been one heck of a ride,” said Thacker about the 2012 season. “It’s huge for us to have guys in six events at State. Last year, we had three. This is a another step forward for the program. It’s a big step for us.”
“I feel a lot more confident this year and I’m in a lot better position,” said Rheinhardt. “I want to finish in the top three. I’m more than capable of that. I know I can go faster and maybe even win it. I’m just trying to stay relaxed this week. The big thing is being mentally prepared. I’m running to win.”
Kolbe is treating this week like the others that have come and gone before it.
“It’s just a normal week,” Kolbe said. “I’m keeping an open mind. I’m pretty confident. My legs feel stronger. Last year I didn’t know what I could do.
“My two biggest goals are to place and to clear 6-9. I just plan to go out Saturday and jump.”
Warsaw will have plenty of youth on display Saturday at IU. Sophomore Ellis Coon is seeded fifth in the 1,600 (4:20.56) and junior Jacob Poyner is right behind at seventh (4:22.05). Junior Wyatt Jones has the 13th fastest time in the 400 at 49.93.
The Tigers also have a pair of relay teams in the State field. The 1,600 relay team of Rheinhardt, Jones and sophomores Ryan Goon and Chad Goon is seeded sixth at 3:22.06. The 400 relay team consisting of senior Zach Rooney, junior Nathan Kolbe and sophomores Tristan McClone and Gabe Furnivall is seeded 21st with a time of 43.33.
“We’re blessed to have a ton of depth with all the young guys we have,” Thacker said. “We have a lot of gifted seniors and sophomores on the team this year.
“I don’t plan to over coach them. I won’t say too much to them about Saturday. I’m not worried about how they are going to perform.
“Track is different. It’s a lot of mental preparation. I know that our guys will be focused and ready to go come Saturday. That’s a tribute to them.”
Whitko will be represented Saturday in Bloomington by Alec Wilkinson. The senior is seeded eighth in the pole vault. Wilkinson cleared 14-3 last week to earn a regional championship at Fort Wayne Wayne. Penn senior Kyle Johnston, who placed sixth at State in 2011, is the top seed in the pole vault with a height of 15-9.
Boys Track State Finals
Saturday, June 2
Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex
Indiana University, Bloomington
Schedule of Events
3 p.m.: Pole vault, Long jump, Discus
3:30: High jump, Shot put
4:15: 3,200 Relay Finals
5:00: 100 Dash Trials
5:15: 110 Hurdles Trials
5:40: 200 Dash Trials
6:10: Opening Ceremonies
6:15: 110 Hurdle Finals
6:25: 100 Dash Finals
6:35: 1,600 Finals
6:45: 400 Relay Finals
7:05: 400 Finals
7:20: 300 Hurdles Finals
7:45: 800 Finals
8:05: 200 Dash Finals
8:15: 3,200 Finals
8:30: 1,600 Relay Finals
Top Seed Times for Saturday and State Records
3,200 Relay: 7:50.64; 7:41.56
100: 10.43; 10.31
110 Hurdles: 14.34; 13.64
200: 21.27; 21.10
1,600: 4:15.43; 4:04.20
400 Relay: 41.89; 41.02
400: 48.70; 46.99
300 Hurdles: 38.03; 36.26
800: 1:53.29; 1:50.20
3,200: 9:14.14; 8:55.10
1,600 Relay: 3:17.70; 3:13.66
Discus: 190-05; 217-01
Shot Put: 61-00.50; 66-08.50
Long Jump: 23-01.25; 24-07.75
High Jump: 6-7.5; 7-01.25
Pole Vault: 15-9; 17-0