Pilgrims win 6th straight sectional

PLYMOUTH — Winning championships never gets old.
Just ask Plymouth’s boys track team.
The Pilgrims won five championships in five events and led the field throughout the night as they coasted to a sixth straight sectional team title on their home turf Thursday night.
Culver Military Academy placed second behind the defending champs, while Culver Community was fourth and Triton was eighth at the 10-team meet.
“Our kids understand that it’s a lot of pride to win our sectional,” said Plymouth head boys track coach John Barron. “We expected to win, but it’s one thing to talk about it and another thing to do it. Our seniors have won it every year, so I’m glad for them to do it every year that they were a part of our track team. I’m most happy for those guys.”
“It means a lot because I know I’m never going to get this chance again,” said Plymouth senior Derrick Lee. “It was fun, it was a great night. I just love running and winning because that’s what it is — you either win or you lose. If you win you feel great, if you lose you don’t feel that great, but you pick yourself up and try again. Luckily we pulled it out today and had a fantastic day.”
Lee led the Pilgrims with three sectional championships in the wake of another three-title performance at the Northern Lakes Conference meet last week.
He won his second straight championship in the pole vault — where he finished out his junior season at state last year — and he clocked a 51.07 in the 400 to beat out Culver Military’s Marcus Shannon in the home stretch. Lee also ran on Plymouth’s winning 1600-meter relay team as the Pilgrims claimed victories in both the 4X400 and 4X100-meter relays.
The team’s 1600-meter relay finish was the most dramatic of the tourney as a rough hand-off left Plymouth trailing in the final leg of the meet closer, but Sam Stevens overtook Rochester’s A.J. Hudkins for the win, throwing his body over the finish line and rolling to a stop.
That kind of sacrifice is emblematic of Plymouth athletics, says Barron.
“To me, being a part of Plymouth Community Schools now for the past 20 years, that kind of symbolizes what our athletes are like,” Barron said. “It’s that kind of determination I think that separates Plymouth kids, and I think makes it a special place.
“That was a great race. Hat’s off to Rochester. They came in with a slower seed time than that, and boy, did they push us all the way to the finish line.”
A technically smooth Brandon Kleckner won the discus with a 147’03” mark in Plymouth’s only other championship performance of the meet.
Culver Military won a pair of championships Thursday as newcomer Juwan Brescacin cleared 22’01” ahead of Jordan Knapp and fellow Pilgrim Brock Smith in the long jump, while Shannon recovered from his narrow loss to Lee in the 400 to win the 200 dash with a 22.96 stop.
“He came over and we chatted a little bit (after the 400),” said Culver Military head coach Michael Chastain of Shannon. “I just said ‘You’re really stiff.’ He needed to loosen up and relax and just go out and run, and that’s what he did. He looked good.”
Culver Community was led by throwers Max Burgess and Jeremiah Harvey at the meet, meanwhile. Harvey placed third in the discus to advance to next week’s Kokomo Regional in that event, and the heavyweight state champion wrestler tossed a 53’03.25 in the shot put to outdistance Plymouth’s Dan Samuelson by nearly four inches.
“That’s kind of where we’ve wanted him,” said Culver head coach Chad Hollenbaugh of Harvey’s championship throw in the shot put. “He showed that and then went on his senior trip and had to kind of shake off the rust. He threw the 53 tonight and that qualifies him with the elite in the state, so that’s real good.”
“It means a lot,” Harvey said. “I’ve put a lot into this track season, and I wanted to get some results.”
Burgess also made the cut out in the shot in fourth place, while Jake Tutorow threw a personal-best 145’07” for second place in the discus, and Tyler Ameigh finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with Culver’s Larry Clingler and Plymouth’s Sean Smith in the high jump.
Tutorow and Ameigh will move on in their events, while teammate Trenton Stackhouse will move in the 1600 after a scratch in the event.
It was a slightly disappointing finish for the Trojans after their runner-up finish in 2010.
“Last year we score 100 points, and this year we score 33 points,” said Triton head coach Curt Kreft. “We just didn’t have everybody back, and there were some injuries that really hurt us and some move-aways.”
At Plymouth
TEAM RESULTS: 1. Plymouth 134, 2. Culver Military Academy 110, 3. Rochester 89, 4. Culver 69, 5. Manchester 54. 6. Northfield 49, 7. Tippecanoe Valley 46, 8. Triton 33, 9. Caston 27, 10. North Miami.
(Top four move on to regionals)
100: 1. Kegan McNeely (M) 11.21, 2. Vinny Nunes (Ca) 11.51, 3. Chris Goodman (R) 11.59, 4. Justin Gunter (TV) 11.79; 200: 1. Marcus Shannon (CMA) 22.96, 2. Kegan McNeeley (M) 23.23, 3. Sam Stevens (P) 23.3, 4. Chris Goodman (R) 23.36; 400: 1. Derrick Lee (P) 51.07, 2. Marcus Shannon (CMA) 51.5, 3. Tyler Crum (P) 52.57, 4. Nolan Sponseller (TV) 54.04; 1600: 1. Matt Galley (N) 4:33.83, 2. Leopoldo Burguete (CMA) 4:42.85, 3. Connor Hague (CMA) 4:44.96, 4. Alex Shafer (R) 4:50.91; 3200: 1. Caleb Augustus (N) 10:06.16, 2. Brandon Kamp (R) 10:20.9, 3. Connor Hague (CMA) 10:35.69, 4. Justin Cousins (Ca) 10:39.22; 110 hurdles: 1. James Gregory (TV) 15.46, 2. Juwan Brescacin (CMA) 15.56, 3. Micah Budzinski (Cu), 4. Trae Bruce (M) 16.06; 300 hurdles: 1. James Gregory (TV) 15.46, 2. Trae Bruce (M) 42.76, 3. Brock Smnith (P) 43.49, 4. David Lee (P) 43.83; 400 relay: 1. Plymouth (Brock Smith, Michael Hartman, Jordan Knapp, Sam Stevens) 45.01, 2. Rochester 45.8, 3. Tippy Valley 46.15, 4. CMA 46.61; 1600 relay: 1. Plymouth (Tyler Crum, Derrick Lee, Jordan Knapp, Sam Stevens) 3:28.96, 2. Rochester 3:29.5, 3. Northfield 3:37.53, 4. Tippy Valley 3:38.85; 3200 relay: 1. Rochester (Evan Downs, Jeff Ferrell, Fritz Heinzmann, Brandon Kamp) 8:39.69, 2. Plymouth 8:48.26, 3. Caston 8:53.2, 4. Manchester 8:55.2; High jump: 1. Ramsen Bet-Nimrod (R) 6’02”, 2. Alexander Burke (CMA) 6’01”, 3. David Lee (P) 6’, 4. TIE Larry Clingler (Cu) 5’10”, 4. TIE Tyler Ameigh (T) 5’10”, 4. TIE Sean Smith (P) 5’10”; Pole vault: 1. Derrick Lee (P) 12’06”, 2. Cameron Bugno (R) 10’06”, 3. John Ahlenius (Cu) 10’06”, 4. Dylan Bennett (Cu) 10’06”; Long jump: 1. Juwan Brescacin (CMA) 22’01”, 2. Jordan Knapp (P) 22’, 3. Brock Smith (P) 19’11”, 4. Aramonti Phillips (CMA) 19’04”; Shot put: 1. Jeremiah Harvey (Cu) 53’03.25, 2. Dan Samuelson (P) 49’04”, 3. Tyler Vermillion (P) 48’03.25, 4. Max Burgess (Cu) 47’06”; Discus: 1. Brandon Kleckner (P) 147’03”, 2. Jake Tutorow (T) 145’07” 3. Jeremiah Harvey (Cu) 143’07”, 4. Aric Howard (M) 140’02”.