WARSAW – Just as it was in the regular season, Warsaw had to fight off challenges on the track. But following script, the Tiger boys track team came out victorious with 176 points, topping Goshen’s 148 points and a very improved NorthWood’s 118.5 points at the Northern Lakes Conference Boys Track Championships Wednesday night.
Warsaw, which claimed its sixth consecutive NLC trophy, did so with just four event champions. In fact, Goshen and NorthWood both posted four champions as well, showing the diversity of the meet itself.
For the Tigers, the 4×100 relay team had quite a showing, with Rane Kilburn, Will McGarvey, Ross Armey and Brandon Reinholt blazing to a 43.23 winner. Armey would also win the 300 hurdles, but barely, taking a 39.12 win with NorthWood’s Derek Parker a tad short on the lean at 39.13. Parker would win the 110 hurdles earlier in the meet, Armey placing third.
Owen Glogovsky atoned for a runner-up showing in the mile, legitimately outrun by Northridge’s Conner Sandt, by returning the favor in the two-mile with a 9:48.37 winner, a good 15 seconds ahead of Sandt. Teammate Lucas Howett came in third, racing Northridge’s Mitchell Schrock to the line at 10:05.37.
The Warsaw duo of Kilburn and Tommy Hickerson went one-two in long jump, Kilburn winning at 20-4.5 and Hickerson at 20-1.5
“The first one, you never forget that, because that one kinda came out of nowhere,” Warsaw boys track head coach Matt Thacker said of the run his team is on in the NLC. “To fight for them like we have been, and the teams in the NLC being as competitive as they are this year. To step up and do it again, it still means a lot. I’m still proud of the kids.”
Kilburn was second in the 100 at 11.42, but wasn’t close to NorthWood’s Bailey Gessinger, who had himself quite a night. Gessinger also won the 200 (22.01) and was the winning anchor of the 4×400 relay (3:26.16) for the Panthers, which raised some eyebrows as Warsaw couldn’t catch up.
Goshen had Jordan Holley take top prize in both throws and claimed wins in the pole vault and 4×800. Plymouth’s Nate Patterson might have had the most impressive outcome of anyone in any event in the high jump. Patterson, who cleared 7-0 at the Goshen Relays a couple weeks ago, nearly matched his incredible feat by going 6-11.75 Wednesday, 2.25 inches over the old record set in 1983.
The spreading of the wealth wasn’t surprising to Thacker, though, whose team struggled in aspects to Goshen, NorthWood and others during the season. But having the horses to keep up in points made the difference.
“We talked about the points,” Thacker said. “Third place matters. In big meets, seventh and eighth place matters. It’s just finding it in you to do it. Kids like Brandon Reinholt and Landan Perry. Both kids were sick. They couldn’t give us their best effort but they still gave us two places in the 200.”
Wawasee, which landed eighth overall in the team standings, had several personal bests despite the conference standing. The top output was a fourth-place finish in discus from Dylan Elpusan (138-8) and a fifth-place run in the 300 hurdles from Luke Griner (42.45). In long jump, Paul Mendoza was sixth (18-11) and Michael Katzer eighth (18-8.25) and in pole vault, Brady Robinson and Zac McKee both cleared 10-6, Robinson taking sixth on jumps, McKee eighth.
“The boys were seeded to score 11 points and ended the night scoring 35.5 points,” said Wawasee head coach Scott Lancaster. “The boys had one personal best after another in what turned out to be their best overall performance of the year. Staff could not be more proud than they were with the team’s performance.”
Goshen will host the boys track sectional next Thursday at Foreman Field in what will be the last event held at the historic yard before turf is installed at the facility this summer. Warsaw and every NLC team but Plymouth will be among the lot at Goshen next week.