After starting off the season ranked as the no. 2 team in Indiana, the Warren Central boys track and field team has consistently performing at a high level throughout the season. Although the boys experienced some dips in results during parts of the season, they have repeatedly bounced back to prove themselves as an Indiana track powerhouse.
“Overall, we have had a good season. We've been fighting mother nature all year and have lost a couple of meets to the weather, but we are trending in the right direction. That's probably best showcased by our recent Sectional championship,” distance coach Sean O’Brien said.
On April 26, the Warriors competed in the MIC Championships and managed to place fifth with 74.5 points. The team finished the competition with two champions, two runner-ups and a sole third place finisher.
“It was definitely not where we wanted to be at the time and had the potential to be, but it motivated us to step up. It motivated us to do what we could [to improve] and needed to do [to improve] as a team the more the season progressed,” junior Tyson Hollis said.
Senior Jordan Hodge performed especially well during the meet, as he placed first in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash. The 4x100 meter relay team, consisting of junior Elijah Price, senior Tylan Shannon, sophomore Emmanuel Mannah yillah and Hodge, also managed to place first with a time of 42.62 seconds. Price also managed to place second in the long jump and sophomore Keon Sullivan fought hard to place third in the discus throw.
“Jordan Hodge is arguably the best 100 meter and 200 meter sprinter in the State. He's been huge for our team. Keon Perkins-Sullivan has been a huge breakthrough performer for us in the discus and that has led to big points in nearly every meet. I could continue listing guys who are vital to our success, but it would be quite a long list,” O’Brien said.
While MIC did not give the boys the result they wanted, they still kept their heads held high as they moved into the County tournament. The team ended the meet with one champion, three runner-ups and a single third place finisher, allowing the team to place fourth out of 16 teams.
“Everyone had the mentality of not wanting to go home, and honestly I think everyone should have that kind of mindset every single [meet],” Hollis said.
Hodge managed to yet again win the 100 meter dash, while the second place finishers consisted of the 4x100 meter relay, the long jump and the discus throw. Randy Wells placed third in the shot put and Tyson Hollis placed fifth in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.
“Our goals are really high, everyone is trying to be on their ‘A’ game every meet and practice to make the state roster, so we definitely have been getting big PR’s when we can,” Hollis said.
This impressive performance helped the boys enter their sectional meet with confidence. Throughout the practices leading up to the meet, the team had been working hard during both practices and meets in order to perform as well as possible in their state run.
“We've improved through just competing, we've thrown time out the window and just want to race to win. This has made me personally perform better and my teammates as well,” senior Gavin Goodman said.
The boys had their best meet of the season at sectionals, as they placed first with 170 points, 62 points ahead of second place finisher New Palestine. The Warriors finished the meet with eight champions, five runner-ups, and four third place finishers, far superior to any previous performance the boys have put forward.
“Coming out of MIC and County, we knew we could perform better, and sectionals was that breakthrough we needed. Every event scored and numerous people placed higher than they were predicted. We hope to continue this all the way to the state meet as well,” Goodman said.
Hodge placed first in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, Price placed third in the 100 meter dash and first in the long jump and the 4x100, high jump, shot put, 4x400 and discus throw all managed to place first as well. The events that placed second included the 3200 meter run, 110 and 300 meter hurdles, the 4x800 and 200 meter dash, while the 300 meter hurdles, 400 meter dash and 800 meter run all also accomplished a high placing with third place. Athletes in 14 events advanced to regionals to continue their state run.
“It was a dominant victory and our best overall meet of the season,” O’Brien said. “We advanced people in nearly every event and it was the 21st title in program history.”
Now that the boys have hit their stride, they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon and are hoping to make a deep and successful state run.
“I really hope we can grind it out and not let up because it's the end of the season that matters more than the start, so hopefully our guys have that mental toughness to finish through and finish strong,” Hollis said.
The athletes and coaches had set high expectations for the season and they still believe the team has the potential to complete those goals with enough hard work and dedication.
“Our goal all season has been to win every meet we are in. So the goal now is to win Regionals, advance as many people as possible to State, and put together the best effort we can at State. Ideally that means we will be on the podium when it's all said and done,” O’Brien said.