Pilgrims win 8th straight sectional

PLYMOUTH — Winning four races at any track meet is pretty special, let alone four sectional races. Michael Hartman won six Thursday.
The Plymouth junior started out the night winning both his heats in the prelims of the 100- and 200-meter dashes before clocking dual championship times of 11.48 and 23.08 in the finals of those sprints, then turned in a 50.87 for the title in the open 400. Hartman put the exclamation point on the night with his anchor turn on the Pilgrims’ winning 4x400 when he nosed out Culver Community’s Micah Budzinski in the final 50 meters, raising the baton in celebration as the hosts nipped the Cavs by less than three-fourths of a second with a championship time of 3:32.38.
The win completed a perfect sectional sweep by Hartman and put the cherry on top of Plymouth’s eighth straight team title.
The Pilgrims dominated their home meet with 128 points, while Manchester finished three points ahead of Rochester’s 86 for third, and Culver Military Academy finished just half a point back with a score of 85.5 for fourth place in a tight race for places two through four in the team standings. Culver Community tied with Northfield for fifth with 62 points, and Triton beat out Caston for eighth place, 24-22.5.
“I talked to Russ Teal, who was the head coach here for 25 years, and I asked him in the history over our school have we ever had an individual run the 100, 200 and 400 and then run the mile relay and he said no,” said Plymouth head boys track coach John Barron. “Michael accomplished something in the sectional that I don’t think anybody in our school history has, and he won them all in respectable times. He gutted out that mile relay there at the end — Culver had a really good relay team, and it was a great race. I can’t say enough about Michael… That was his sixth race of the night counting the prelims. Unbelievable, really.”
While Hartman’s rarified night included a sweep in the sprints and top honors in the 1600 relay with Mason Reed, Jack Barron and Taylor Fulton, Plymouth got its usual one-two punch from senior throwers Dan Samuelson and Adam Lacefield.
Samuelson won the championship in the discus with a winning throw of 151 feet even, while Lacefield finished third behind him and Manchester’s Cole Sellers, and Lacefield marked off a personal-best 52’10.25” in the shot put for the title there ahead of Samuelson’s runner-up toss of 50’5.5”.
“Like I said a couple weeks ago, those two guys, to be the best, they’ve got to beat their teammate,” said Barron. “We’re going to miss them. Those guys have scored big points for us all year long, all career long, really. We’ve got some younger kids in the works, but it’ll drop off considerably from those two. Great leadership by those guys.”
Also earning top-four berths to next Thursday’s Kokomo Regional for the Pilgrims, Fulton finished third in the 200, Reed was fourth in the open 400, and Eduardo Mayen was third in both hurdles races, while Clay Corsbie finished fourth in the 300 hurdles. Plymouth’s 3200 relay of Austin Rose, Brandon Brashere, Barron and Reed were fourth in their event, although the finish was scratched. Freshman Terrance Hooten made the cut out in the pole vault with a personal-record 11-foot clearance there ahead of Corsbie’s own PR of 10’6” for fifth place.
It was a feel-good finish to the team season for the Pilgrims after last week’s tough seventh-place finish in the NLC meet at Warsaw.
“We talked at length for a week after the Northern Lakes Conference championships about how the fourth, fifth and sixth places were going to be really important for us, and they really were,” said Barron. “It’s a nice way to finish. It’s a great thing that we host our sectional. I understand we’re the biggest school, but we’re right in the middle of the pack in the NLC as far as size goes, and we get chewed up. We win two meets in the conference this year, and we ran against kids that are really going to be state finalists. I think it really prepares our kids well for this competition, but you’ve got to give credit to all the schools that come here. I know that they’re battling to try to beat Plymouth — we’re the big school here, and I appreciate and welcome all that competition; that’s great. The coaches that come here from the area schools are great guys, and they prepare their kids well.”
“I really want to thank our coaching staff,” added the Pilgrims boss. “I can’t take much of the credit at all. Gary Fribley, anywhere we go younger coaches you can see they migrate to Gary because of his knowledge in the throwing events, and then Russ has been just the rock of Plymouth track for just about three decades. I know the kids look at those guys as head coaches too.”
While Culver’s time of 3:33.02 wasn’t quite good enough for a sectional championship Thursday, Budzinski, Bradley Beaver, Matt Hurford and Preston Hansel had to console themselves with breaking their own school record — after setting the previous program-low of 3:33.22 at the NSC meet just last week — as well as a Kokomo Regional berth in the event.
Budzinski easily won the 110-meter high hurdles with a 15.87 time there, overcoming a tough start to the race in which teammate Hurford was DQ’d for a false start with the duo seeded to go one-two as usual, and Beaver cleared 6-foot-5 to win the Cavs the championship in the high jump. Budzinski also earned a regional berth in third place in the open 400, and Budzinski, Beaver, Hansel and Lodge Burgess placed third in the 400-meter relay to advance to Kokomo next week, while Hurford earned his second ticket out in fourth place in the shot put.
“That senior class with Hurford, Micah Budzinski and Bradley Beaver have really been the heart and soul of the team,” said Culver Community coach Chad Hollenbaugh. “They’ve been multi-event guys and been able to score a lot of points for us. Tonight to come in and run that tough in that 4 by 4 after four events for all the guys — we loaded them up tonight to try to score team points, and they still came through and battled Plymouth right down to the wire. They obviously won’t be running four events next week. I think we rebroke our school record, and we’ll try to lower that even more next week.”
CMA won just one championship at Plymouth in Wes Hibbard’s 1:59.93 turn in the 800. He was never pushed after the race’s first 200 meters and crossed the finish line nearly six seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
“Wes had a PR in that and looked pretty good,” said CMA coach Michael Chastain. “He wasn’t really pressed. We’ll see; I hope he can lower it a little bit more at the regional.”
Leopoldo Burguete was third in the 3200, and the Eagles’ 3200 relay of Burguete, Hibbard, Landrum Neer and Abel Barerra Duran were runners-up in their event. CMA’s 400 relay team of Raul Gonzalez, Daniel Prescott, Eric Burns and Oluwatosin Bolarin also earned a regional berth in fourth place in their event, while Burns finished third in the high jump, Austin Sheldon and Caleb Nash went two-three in the pole vault, and Alexander Fayemi and Burns went two-three in the long jump as the Eagles stood out in the jumping events Thursday.
“Eric Burns, for a freshman to advance in two events individually to the regional is wonderful. He has a good future ahead of him,” Chastain said.
“Unusual for us, we almost get no points in the field, and this year that’s where we got a lot of points.”
Chastain also praised former Plymouth cross country and track coach and meet organizer Allen Shockney.
“Allen has done a wonderful job throughout his coaching career, his teaching career and running this meet for decades. It’s been wonderful.”
The Trojans earned just one regional qualification in freshman Jeremy Jones’ fourth-place finish in the 100 meters.
Trenton Stackhouse earned the Trojans their next best finish in fifth place in the 1600 with a time of 4:47.1, and he finished seventh in the 800 as well as seventh in the 1600 relay with Bryce Wanemacher, Derek Johnston and Trenton Cooper. Blake Johnson placed seventh in the high hurdles, and Jessi Burkholder was sixth in the vault.
At Plymouth
Team standings: 1. Plymouth 128, 2. Manchester 89, 3. Rochester 86, 4. Culver Military Academy 85.5, 5. TIE Northfield and Culver Community 62, 7. Tippecanoe Valley 41, 8. Triton 24, 9. Caston 22.5, 10. North Miami 21.
At Plymouth
4x800: 1. Rochester (Wesley Meyer, Brandon Kamp, Jeff Ferrell, Alex Gudeman) 8:18.60, 2. Culver Military 8:43.02, 3. Northfield 8:50.71, 4. Plymouth 8:52.81, 5. Culver 9:27.65; 110 hurdles: 1. Micah Budzinski (Culver) 15.83, 2. Brodi Carter (Manchester) 16.38, 3. Eduardo Mayen (Plymouth) 17.32, 4. Gunner Ream (Manchester) 17.40, 5. Clay Corsbie (Plymouth) 17.45; 100: 1. Michael Hartman (Plymouth) 11.48, 2. Michael Thacker (Tippecanoe Valley) 11.68, 3. Colin McNeeley (Manchester) 11.78, 4. Jeremy Jones (Triton) 11.88, 5. Tanner Wilcox (Northrfield) 11.90, 6. Jacob Casper (Manchester) 11.93; 1600: 1. Gudeman (Rochester) 4:35.61, 2. Caleb Augustus (Northfield) 4:39.11, 3. Meyer (Rochester) 4:40.70, 4. Devin Tracy (Northfield) 4:41.33, 5. Trenton Stackhouse (Triton) 4:41.45, 6. Leopoldo Burguete (CMA) 4:47.75; 4x100: 1. Manchester (McNeeley, Austen Oaks, Eric Knight, Casper) 46.00, 2. Northfield 46.25, 3. Culver 46.35, 4. CMA 46.45, 5. Plymouth 46.48; 400: 1. Hartman (Plymouth) 50.87, 2. Nolan Sponseller (Tippecanoe Valley) 51.30, 3. Budzinski (Culver) 52.62, 4. Mason Reed (Plymouth) 52.79, 6. Eugenio Seguar Vazquez (CMA) 53.19; 300 hurdles: 1. Carter (Manchester) 43.40, 2. Ream (Manchester) 44.95, 3. Mayen (Plymouth) 45.20, 4. Corsbie (Plymouth) 45.37, 5. Austin Sheldon (CMA) 46.22, 6. Wayne Young (Culver) 46.67; 800: 1. Wes Hibbard (CMA) 1:59.93, 2. Zachary Smith (Caston) 2:05.05, 3. Tracy (Northfield) 2:06.73, 6. Landrum Neer (CMA) 2:12.89; 200: 1. Hartman (Plymouth) 23.08, 2. Sponseller (Tippecanoe Valley) 23.13, 3. Taylor Fulton (Plymouth) 23.78, 4. Tyler Morgan (Northfield) 23.81, 5. Jones (Triton) 24.36, 6. Raul Gonzalez (CMA) 24.93; 3200: 1. Augustus (Northfield) 9:53.03, 2. Gudeman (Rochester) 10:00.70, 3. Burguete (CMA) 10:04.69, 4. Matthew Fahs-Brown (Manchester) 10:09.04; 4x400: 1. Plymouth (Reed, Fulton, Jack Barron, Hartman) 3:32.38, 2. Culver 3:33.02, 3. Northfield 3:38.52, 4. Rochester 3:39.12, 5. CMA 3:41.89; Long jump: 1. Ream (Manchester) 20-8 1/2, 2. Alexander Fayemi (CMA) 20-5, 3. Eric Burns (CMA) 20-4, 4. Jacob White (North Miami) 20-3 1/2, 5. Bradley Beaver (Culver) 20-1 1/2; High jump: 1. Beaver (Culver) 6-5, 2. Ramsen Bet-Nimrod (Rochester) 6-4, 3. Burns (CMA) 6-2, 4. Carter (Manchester) 6-0, 6. Oluwatosin Bolarin (CMA) 5-6; Shot put: 1. Adam Lacefield (Plymouth) 52-10 1/4, 2. Dan Samuelson (Plymouth) 50-5 1/2, 3. Ethan Beech (North Miami) 49-0 1/2, 4. Matt Hurford (Culver) 46-9 1/2; Discus: 1. Samuelson (Plymouth) 151-0, 2. Sellers (Manchester) 150-0, 3. Lacefield (Plymouth) 145-5, 4. Austin Calvert (Rochester) 131-9; Pole vault: 1. Cameron Bugno (Rochester) 13-0, 2. Austin Sheldon (CMA) 12-6, 3. Caleb Nash (CMA) 11-6, 4. Terrance Hooten (Plymouth) 11-0, 5. Corsbie (Plymouth) 10-6, 6. Jessi Burkholder (Triton) 10-0.