By Mike Deak
KOKOMO – Dawson Perkins just put his head down a week ago and went for it. A week later, he’s still a head above everyone else.
Perkins represented Tippecanoe Valley with a regional championship in high jump, clearing 6-3 to win the title outright over Penn’s Vincent Nierzwicki-Trifilett by an inch and locking up his first track state finals appearance.
Three other area competitors earned automatic bids to the IHSAA Track State Finals by placing in the top three of the respective events at Thursday’s Kokomo Boys Track Regional.
Warsaw’s Tanner Stiver continued to assault the 800 run, taking second with a time of 1:56.71, his lowest of the season and less than a second behind South Bend Adams’ William Neubauer. The Tigers also qualified in the 4×400 relay, running third at 3:27.76.
NorthWood had Brady Hunsberger narrowly edge out Concord’s Anthony Roberts in the mile, Hunsberger at 4:27.37 to beat Roberts to the line by six-hundredths and Northridge’s Jaxon Miller a tenth behind. Warsaw’s Sam Lechlitner was sixth, a second behind the trio.
The IHSAA will sort out callbacks for the non-automatic qualifiers in the coming day or so, leaving hope alive for near misses to get another chance.
Notable finishes among area competitors at Kokomo included NorthWood’s Brevin Miller placing fourth in the shot put and Warsaw’s Will Wells taking sixth in the discus. Cam Harness of Warsaw was fifth in the high jump.
Warsaw’s Jeremy Johnson was fifth in the 400, NorthWood’s Jordan Burden was sixth in the two-mile and Tippecanoe Valley’s 4×100 relay was fifth.
Penn won the regional championship with 85.5 points, well ahead of Northridge’s runner-up 61 and Elkhart’s 53.
The IHSAA Boys Track State Championships will take place Friday, June 4, at Ben Davis High School.