BY JOSH SIGLER KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — MARION — Last season, Western’s boys track and field team captured a Howard County championship, only to see Eastern return the following week and deny the Panthers a conference crown.
Western made sure history did not repeat itself Tuesday.
The Panthers’ depth continued to outshine the field in the Mid-Indiana Conference championships, taking the team title with 152 points to leave little suspense before hoisting the hardware here in the steady rain at Indiana Wesleyan University, and in the interim, denying Eastern a fifth straight conference crown.
“It’s nice to have a difference like that,” Western coach Marvin Boswell said. “I’m proud of our senior leadership. The way our seniors have been able to compete and lead our younger kids — they’ve really done a nice job. I think that’s been the biggest difference we’ve had, and that’s what I owe a lot of this to.”
Senior Matt Grider continued his steady improvement from a foot injury, and swept the distance events to repeat as MIC champ, winning the 1,600-meter run in 4:29.50 before putting in a dominant performance in the 3,200, taking top honors in 10:09.46, 14 seconds ahead of teammate Riley Carter.
Fellow senior Brett Boswell was tops in the shot put with a winning heave of 45-3.
And the Panthers’ 4x100 relay team of Christian Glenn, Cameron Dessing and Zach Shahan won going away, nearly setting a meet record before settling for a :44.50.
“It’s hard to [single out] because so many kids stepped up,” Marvin Boswell said. “We had a lot of first-place finishes, but one thing I’ve always told the kids is you win championships by placing two in every event, and we came close to that [Tuesday] night. There were only one or two events where we didn’t, and we scored well in all of the relays. Whenever you do that, you’re going to be competing for championshps.
Hamilton Heights was runner-up with 119 points, followed by Maconaquah (95), Eastern (81), Northwestern (74.5), Cass (60), Peru (34.5) and Taylor (8).
Maconaquah senior K.J. Walton was a quadruple winner for the Braves, sweeping the 100 (:11.16), 200 (:23.71) and 400 (:51.34) dashes before teaming with Luke Hann, Cody Hicks and Daltyn Childers to win the 4x400 relay in 3:30.04.
Josh Perry won the high jump (5-10) for Northwestern, while teammate Darren Curry cleared 13-0 in the pole vault to repeat as conference champion.
Eastern’s Riley Haupert won the 300 hurdles in :43.32, while Cass’ Cody Campbell won the discus with a fling of 147-11.
Led by three double winners, Northwestern won the MIC crown with 132 points, and like the Western boys, deny Eastern a fifth straight conference crown.
“This means a lot to me and [assistant] coach [Pete] Schroer because the girls have been working so hard, and to come out on a cold, rainy night and pull this off is wonderful,” Northwestern coach Mary Clem said. “The girls continue to come out and work hard every day, and we’re just waiting for the next one — the sectional — next week.”
Senior Taryn Thor was tops in the 1,600 in 5:14.03, besting the field by over 18 seconds. She also motored to victory in the 800 in 2:28.42.
Junior Kaitlyn Daanen set a meet record in motoring to victory in the 100 dash in :12.54, and returned to top the field in the 400 in a :59.45.
Brooke Treadway swept the shot put (33-4) and discus (101-7), and Hannah Ballard was victorious in the high jump (5-0) to cap a strong showing from the Tigers in the field events.
“Thor ran three events, and they weren’t her usual three. She did great in all three of them,” Clem said. “Daanen set two meet records, and Brooke Treadway came out and did her best in two events for the team, and Hannah Ballard won the high jump. So, I was proud of all of them, and I can’t wait to go congratulate all of them.”
Hamilton Heights was runner-up with 100 points, followed by Cass (82), Western (81), Maconaquah (77), Eastern (69), Peru (63) and Taylor (12).
Nicole Hampshire won the 3,200 for Western in 12:16.84.
Maysie Hewitt was tops in the pole vault for Maconaquah, clearing 9-10.
Cass took a pair of blue ribbons. Kelsey Smith won the 200 dash in :27.22, while the 4x800 relay team of Claire Crum, Gabi Carney, Brooke Langley and Haley Johnson opened the meet with a victory in 10:06.74.
And, Peru’s 4x100 team of Josie Murphy, Adrianna Spohn, Brooklyne Wood and Sidney Fuller was victorious in :51.61.