By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Track was the only spring sport at the high school level that had any sort of organized action. Several of the teams in the state competed in the indoor championships hosted by a handful of Indiana colleges. The outdoor season, however, never got going as the season was clipped in the middle of March.
The pulling of the plug in track derailed the shot for a pair of Warsaw athletes who made the IHSAA State Finals a year ago in Nick Bazzoni and Tanner Stiver. Bazzoni, now a senior, finished 17th in the pole vault at the state finals after emerging from a talented area field. Stiver, now a junior, joined then-Wawasee senior Luke Griner in the 800-meter finals and took 14th while Griner gutted his way to a fourth-place finish in the event in what was a wild race to the finish.
All of the other area state qualifiers finished in double digits in the standings, and all have either graduated or were in relays.
NorthWood was looking forward to some big individual years from senior hurdler Garrett Miller, senior pole vaulter Xavier Rocha and junior Brad Demitruk and shot putter Garrett Anglemyer, who all made the regional round last year.
Warsaw was looking forward to senior Nick Miller and sophomore Kyle Dawson in the throws and junior Jacob Kissling in distance events.
Wawasee had Michael Hammer prepping for a run in distance events for his senior year, Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Dawson Perkins was ready to make a move in high jump, and Triton senior distance runner Rusty Reichard was ready to go.
Nick Bazzoni, Warsaw: “Training never really came to a halt for me. Having to workout from home was a big road block for me because to pole vault you kind of need a pit. If anything, it really forced me to take a step back and focus on a lot of my basics. I’ve been doing lots of sprints, drills, and strength training. My goal was to keep my self in the best shape I could that way when we came back I would be ready to hop right in. The situation we are in right now really taught me a lot. Tomorrow is never a promise and life’s not always going to deal you the hand you want. Moving forward into the competition this summer (fingers crossed) I think I will definitely have a different mindset and plan to enjoy every moment. I’ve had time to come to terms with whatever was going to happen. I am still looking forward to the summer and college seasons and plan on training towards those.
Sam Turner, Lakeland Christian: “In order to prepare for my short season, I was continuing to train as I would. However instead of just running, I was crossing training with biking as well. Biking and mountain biking is something I enjoy almost as much as running. I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to get a single meet this year, but I know that self discipline makes a good runner, and I hope I come out just as good if I had had a track season. I was kind of expecting something this drastic to happen based on what else has occurred. I’m disappointed but know that everything will work out. If I have to not have a track season in order to stop the spread of corona then so be it. I trust God to handle all things and track is a small sacrifice for the safety of others.”
Garrett Miller, NorthWood: “Since the first day off of school, I had been working out in my basement by doing a variety of exercises. I would have a routine of doing some running on the treadmill and alternating different lifts for different parts of my body every day. I feel like this was a good example of how some things in life are very much out of our control, but one of the things in our control is the attitude that we bring to the table. Of course I am upset at the fact that I won’t get to compete in my final season of track, but wallowing on the negative thinking that comes with it will just stop me from reaching my goals. I had a feeling that this was how things were going to turn out once we were let out of school, but when I heard that it was official, it just seemed so surreal. It really hit me then that I may never get to compete in another track meet for the rest of my life.”
Mitchell Smith, Tippecanoe Valley: “I have been trying to stay in shape by running on my own and doing some core workouts. I had hoped that running would make the sadness of the year being over so soon better. But seeing as that is now over, I am focusing on the future. I plan on doing a few public runs to always keep running a part of me. I am disappointed that I won”t be wearing my twelfth varsity letter because I have worked hard all four years to accomplish that goal. However, everyone’s safety is more important, and I take that very seriously, which makes not accomplishing that easier for me.”