GOSHEN – To say Warsaw was the cream of the crop at the Goshen Boys Track Sectional would be putting it lightly.
Warsaw won 11 of the 16 events Thursday and went one-two in three of those wins to clobber the sectional field with 170 total team points, earning its fourth straight sectional title well ahead of runner-up Goshen’s 83 points. But, more importantly, the Tigers qualified 16 athletes head’s up for next week’s South Bend St. Joseph’s Regional, which is the next step en route to state.
For the champion Tigers, however, it was a night of celebration in style. Seniors Michael Miller and Gabe Furnivall were responsible for three championships each and senior Ellis Coon won two titles to lead Warsaw.
Miller won both the 100-meter dash (11.17) and the 200-meter dash (22.71), to which Warsaw went one-two with Tristan McClone in second in the 100 (11.31) and Storm Stapleton followed Miller in at 23.61 in the 200. Miller, McClone, Furnivall and Tanner Balazs zipped to a title in the 4×100 relay in a tidy 42.99.
Furnivall won the 400-meter dash title at 50.31 and teamed with Chad Goon, Ryan Goon and Landan Perry to close out the 4×400 relay at 3:23.95.
“There were a bunch of great athletes here,” Warsaw head coach Matt Thacker said. “We knew we were going to come in and compete. We talked about not having any regrets. We have a bunch of seniors and they have three weeks left.
“These moments, they won’t come by again.”
Coon, who missed the sectional last season with an injured foot, returned to glory with a win in the mile at 4:21.59, holding off a valiant effort from Elkhart Memorial’s Blake Kramer in the final 50 meters. Coon then ran away from the field in the two-mile for a 9:39.39 winner.
“I appreciate guys like Blake because they really go out and hammer it,” Coon said, noting the 1,600 run. “He wasn’t afraid to run guts out. He ran like that today and at conference. I knew his game plan and knew what he was going to do. I just needed to stay with him and felt like if I kept with him, I have the confidence that I can outkick him.”
Dylan Campbell and Ross Armey went one-two in the 300 hurdles at 40.55 and 40.81, respectively, and Warsaw’s 4×800 relay team of Ismael Calderon, Nick Bergen, Daniel Messenger and Tyler Houvener opened the meet with an 8:11.45 victory, holding off Goshen in the final lap.
Warsaw had four individuals advance from the field events, led by Stephen Kolbe’s championship in the high jump. Clearing 6-6, Kolbe finally was able to separate from Wawasee’s JJ Gilmer, who levitated over 6-5 and Elkhart Central’s Treyton Harris, who also achieved 6-5. Gilmer took second on jumps, but all three will be going head-to-head again next week, which Kolbe is anticipating another long day.
“I definitely feel like if I have competitors like this, it pushes me even more,” Koble said. “When I have someone up there with me, I want to get over the bar even more.”
Rashaan Jackson won a title for Warsaw in the long jump, soaring 21-00.75, which he had to get because Jimtown’s Marquis Schieber landed at 21-00.50 in his best attempt.
In throws, Ben Plummer will represent the shot put for the Tigers in South Bend after a third-place toss of 49-2.5 and Andrew Scheidt was second with his discus throw of 138-10. Missing from the Tiger throws was state contender Seth Fouts, who was suspended from track activities for the remainder of his senior season for what Thacker categorized as a violation of school rules.
“I love the kid, I do,” Thacker said in reference to Fouts, who was among the top five throwers in the state. “I feel bad for the team, I feel bad for him. It’s a school issue, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”
Fouts, who is bound for the University of Kentucky, placed fifth in the shot put at the State Finals in 2013.
The South Bend St. Joseph’s Boys Track Regional will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday. The top three individuals from each event qualify for the IHSAA State Finals, which will be run June 7 at Indiana University in Bloomington. Feeding into the regional are individuals from Goshen, Penn, Plymouth and Western sectionals.