GOSHEN — Of the four straight championship teams he’s coached at the Goshen Relays, NorthWood boys track skipper Mark BeMiller believes none has been deeper than the squad he brought to Saturday’s 77th annual running of the event. Which is saying something.
The Panthers four-peated as the Class B champions at the historic Goshen meet with 120 points, way ahead of runner-up West Noble’s tally of 91, and NorthWood collected its 11th such championship overall Saturday.
Homestead nipped Fort Wayne Carroll 84-83.5 for the Class A, large school, title, while Whitko tied for fifth alongside Culver Academies with 60 points in the Class B rankings, and Wawasee tied for seventh in the small school field with 58 points beside Westview.
“Of the four that we’ve won here right in a row, this is probably as deep as we’ve been in terms of contribution from multiple events. We had 24 points in throws. We had 14 on pole vault. I’ve got to go back to the early 2000s before we put up those kinds of numbers in the field,” said BeMiller. “I thought with the numbers we’ve been putting up we could score pretty good today in the field. And I knew for us to be successful in the meet, we would have to score well in the field because I’ve got some guys missing today from our sprint group.”
Bronson Yoder did his thing in the long jump with a winning clearance of 22’00.5”, Garrett Anglemeyer took top honors in the discus (138’03.5”) and placed second in the shot put (47’10”) ahead of teammate Braedon Marshall’s third-place performance (45’05”), and Brad Dimitruk finished second (11’0”) in the pole vault with teammate Xavier Rocha right behind in third place (10’06”) as Wood put up 48 points before ever even hitting the track in Goshen.
Those field performances were critical given the fact that NorthWood’s decorated sprint corps was a little light coming into the meet, although the Panthers sprinters who did compete Saturday represented their program very well.
Wood’s 4×200 team of Taylor Knight, Nick Bean, Brock Lehman and Yoder won the first of the two Class B finals heats in 1:35.7, and the quartet combined once more to win the first of the two Class B 4×200 finals heats in 1:35.7. Bean, Lehman and Yoder teamed up one final time with Tyler Evers in the 4×400 relay, which placed second in its final in 3:37.4.
Also for NorthWood, Garrett Miller broke tape in the Class B 110-meter hurdles finals in 15.6 seconds; the 4×100 team of Knight, Jerson Sanchez, Brock Lehman and Yoder placed second in the first finals heat of their event (45.49); the 4×800 squad of Evers, Sam Schlatter, Carson Martin and Brady Hunsberger were second in their finals heat (8:50.57); the school’s 800 sprint medley relay squad of Knight, Sanchez, Jamar Jackson and Skyler Deurksen finished third (1:44.8); Evers placed third in the 1600 meters (4:45.63); and Knight was third in his 100-meter dash finals (11.55).
Not a bad haul for NorthWood as seniors Yoder, Bean, Knight, Lehman and Evers capped off a clean sweep at the Goshen Relays.
“It’s pretty special. This is a pretty special event. It’s been such a tradition — 77 years — and NorthWood has always represented well over here, and to get four in a row, it says a lot for the kids that we’ve had in our program the last four years,” said BeMiller. “This group of seniors is 4-0, but that takes nothing away from the groups that we’ve had preceding them that have been part of championship teams.”
Wawasee had just one top finish Saturday as Isaiah Tipping topped the shot put field with a winning toss of 50’07”, although he fell short of a finals berth in the discus. Luke Griner also fell a little short of defending his 1600-meter championship Saturday, clocking 4:44.97 behind Westview’s Kent Yoder, who tucked in behind Griner for the first three windy laps in Goshen, then moved around Griner for a winning 4:37.3 stop.
“Luke wanted to go out for the school record, which, I didn’t want to stop him. He’s a tough kid. So I figure he goes out hard, he holds on for the record mile, and he pays for it,” said Wawasee head coach Frank Pizana. “It’s an experiment so it’s nothing to lose. He’s kind of heartbroken because he won it last year. But he’ll bounce back. It’s better to lose now then to lose later.”
Also Saturday, Wawasee’s 4×800 team of Spencer Hare, Ben Haines, Thomas Conley and Michael Hammer were second in their finals race (8:54.48), the 1600-meter relay squad of Hare, Griner, Conley and Hammer were second in the last race of the night in 3:38.74, and the 4×100 squad of Jordan Gringle, David Miller, Jon Konieczny and Ray Lenoris finished third in the second finals heat of their event in 48.26.
Meanwhile, for Whitko, the Wildcats’ the 4 x 100 relay of Dominick Moseley, Zackary Freel, Sean Blaine and R.J. Patrick won their race (47.3); the team’s sprint medley relay of Moseley, Freel, Ashton Schuh and Clayton Ebbinghouse finished second in their race (1:44.52); Gage Howard and Cameron Sapp finished second and third in disc, respectively, with throws of 130’09.5” and 128’07.5”; and Freel was third in the high jump with a height of 5’8”.