PLYMOUTH — So much of tournament success in any sport is about peaking at the right time. And that’s just what Tippecanoe Valley freshman Dawson Perkins is doing.
Perkins cleared a personal-best 6-feet in the high jump at Thursday’s Plymouth Boys Track and Field Sectional, netting him runner-up honors and the right to advance to next week’s Kokomo Regional.
Perkins’ PR came about a week after a 5’10” clearance and runner-up finish at the Three Rivers Conference Tournament. The frosh keeps going up and up, and he’s picked the right time for things to start clicking.
“He was great. He’s improved all season. He peaked at the right time,” said Valley coach Jennifer Moriarty. “He got second at the TRC. This is a PR for him at 6-foot, so I’m really happy, and he’s excited.”
While Perkins was the only Ink Free News-area athlete to earn a regional berth in Plymouth, the host Pilgrims collected a sectional three-peat with 133 points ahead of Culver Military Academy’s 112. Bremen finished a distant third with a score of 79, while Whitko finished fifth with a 56.5-point tally, Manchester was sixth with 53 points, Valley finished ninth with 28 points, and Triton rounded out the 11-team standings with six points Thursday.
Another Viking, senior Jon Humes, placed just outside of a top-three regional berth in the long jump with a leap of 18’01”, about 10 inches short of Bremen’s Justin Zumbrun and his third-place mark of 18’11”. Alek Mikel finished fifth in the 400 meters with a time of 53.92, while senior Brant Norris was seventh in the shot put with a put of 40’08.5” and eighth in the discus with a 116’11” measurement. Justin Peconga placed seventh behind Perkins in the high jump, while Matthew Howes finished eighth in the 1600-meter run in 5:06.54.
Wade Melanson had an off night in the throwing events, tossing the shot with a toss of 39’05” for 11th place there, and fellow freshman Rex Kirchenstien struggled somewhat in the sprints as he placed ninth in the 100-meter dash in 12.22 seconds and came up just short of a finals berth in the 200 meters.
“Rex and Wade both had a disappointing night, didn’t finish the way they wanted,” said Moriarty. “Rex was just out of qualifying for the finals in the 200 by, I think, two-hundredths of a second. Just an off night for him, but he’s a freshman. He’ll learn from it. What can we do to improve, get better? It kind of leaves a bitter taste in their mouth to improve in the offseason.”
Triton’s best finish came in the shot put, where Conner Ousley’s 41’03.5” toss earned him seventh place and the Trojans two points. Jesse Page was the only other Triton athlete to score at the sectional as he placed eighth in the long jump with a 17’06.5” clearance.
Whitko senior Ronald Patrick won the pole vault championship with a winning height of 11’06”, and he combined with Ashton Schuh, Zack Freel and Sean Blaine in the 4×100, where they earned a regional berth in third with a 45.98-second stop. Cameron Sapp was tops in the discus for the Wildcats with a winning toss of 142’07”, meanwhile.
Manchester had one champion in the high jump, as senior Isaiah Davis’ 6’6” jump topped the field.