RENSSELAER — Kankakee Valley captured five first-place finishes and used its depth to score points in several events to claim a Rensselaer boys’ track sectional title Thursday, May 20.
It’s the first sectional title in 10 years for KVHS, which has six runner-up finishes over that span.
The Kougars had 108 points to beat runner-up Rensselaer Central (83). Two-time defending champion Boone Grove was third (63) and North Judson fourth (55). North Newton was sixth, Covenant Christian placed 10th and South Newton and West Central finished 12th and 13th, respectively.
Individually, senior Markus Ritchie picked up a pair of victories for coach Tim Adams, winning the 100-meter dash in 11.72 seconds and adding the 200 meters in 25.70. Lane Zander of North Newton was second in the 100 in 11.81 and Covenant’s Francisco Marquez also qualified for regional with a time of 11.88.
Marquez was also third in the 200 dash in 24.10 to finish behind Ritchie and North Judson’s Kelson Jordan (23.78).
Junior Justin Hoffman was first in the 1,600-meter run for the Kougars, covering four laps in 4 minutes, 39.66 seconds. He edged Rensselaer’s Tristen Wuethrich, who had a time of 4:40.51.
KV freshman Josiah Johnson cruised to the 300 hurdles title in 41.81 seconds and ran the third leg on the team’s winning 4-by-800 relay team that also included Hoffman, Adam Collard and Evan Ehrhardt. The team finished in a time of 8:41.09.
RCHS’s 4-by-800 team was third in 8:46.61, with Nolan Potts, Will Messman, Dalton Henry and Conner Parker carrying the baton.
Johnson was also second in the 110 high hurdles, recording a time of 16.39 seconds. RCHS sophomore Kolton Ploughe finished fourth in both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The Bombers did win a pair of field event titles, with sophomore Jordan Cree the discus champion at 150 feet, 1 inch. He was the only thrower to reach the 150-foot mark.
Runner-up Bram Arnett of Morgan Township was second at 142-2 and Winamac’s Beau Brandt had a toss of 121-11 for third. Arnett did win the shot-put over Cree, unleashing a throw of 54-9. Cree’s best throw carried 45-1 1/2. Trevor Hoffman of Hebron as third at 44-4 1/2.
Junior Hayden Box, meanwhile, moved up from his No. 3 seed to claim the pole vault title at 11-6. Box bested Bryce Brodner of KV, who vaulted 11 feet.
Covenant Christian’s Jonah Ingram was the 800-meter run winner in 2:03.33 and North Newton’s 4-by-100 group of Logan Vincent, Alex Miller, Lane Zander and Brayden Schoon claimed victory in 45.48 seconds.
Other local top nine finishers included Schoon (4th) and Kidd (8th) in the 100 meters; Zander (4th), Vincent (5th), Israel Hernandez of RCHS (6th) and Cy Sammons of South Newton (7th) in the 200 dash; Collard of KV (4th) and Dalton Henry (5th) and Deric Duncan (6th) of RCHS in the 400 meters; Ehrhardt (6th) in the 1,600 run; Drake Fritz of West Central (8th) in the 3,200 meters; Zachary Gilger of West Central (7th) and Edgardo Andrade-Luna of South Newton (9th) in the 300 hurdles; Potts (7th) and Parker Becker of KVHS (9th) in the high jump; Xavier De La Paz-Marino of KV (5th) and Briar Rule of RCHS (9th) in the pole vault; Schoon (2nd), Marquez (5th) and Osbaldo Cruz of South Newton (9th) in the long jump; Matthew Barry (4th) and Ardyn Calinski (7th) of North Newton in the shot-put; and KV’s Grant Musch (4th) and Nathan Duttlinger (8th) and Calinski (7th) in the discus.