What a week it has been for the Van-Far boys track and field program.
The Indians started the week by winning their first EMO Conference Championship since 1976 and ended it by winning their fourth straight district title in dominating fashion.
In fact, the Indians scored 209 team points, crushing second place Valle Catholic, a good program, by 56 points.
“It was exciting not only to win the district again, but to be able to send the seniors out with four straight district titles,” said Van-Far head coach Kevin Baldwin. “We have a good group advancing on to Sectionals. Hopefully we can get most of them qualified for state.”
In districts, the Indians combined to have 29 sectional qualifying, top-four finishes. They also left New Haven with district titles in nine different events.
Josh Hodde, who was hurt last year when the Indians made their state championship run, made the most of his opportunity this year.
Hodde won both the 110-meter hurdles (15.98) and 300-meter hurdles (41.79) district titles. Hodde also leaped 19’7.5” in the long jump to finish third.
Trevor Crider also advanced to sectionals in both events after taking third in the 300 (42.50) and fourth in the 110 (16.87).
Verlyn Johnson shined by winning the 200 meters (23.85) title. He also took third in the 100 meters (11.87).
Parker Wallace won the 400 meters district title with a time of 51.77 seconds.
Dillion Minor was second in the 400 (54.58) and second in the 200 meters (24.39) to qualify for sectionals in both of those events as Van-Far went 1-2 in both the 200 and 400.
Jacob Garner qualified in the 100 meters after placing second (11.74). He was also second in the pole vault by clearing 11’. Teammate LaTrell Wright was third (9’6”).
Lathyn McMorris won the district title in the 800 meters (2:08.03). He also advanced to sectionals in the 1,600 meters (4:47.69) by placing second. He was third in the 3,200 meters (11:01.50) and fourth in the javelin (122’04”).
Sam Hazel also qualified in the 800 (2:12.67) while Tyler Robinson qualified in the 3,200 meters (11:09.32).
As for relays, the 4×100 (45.36) and 4×200 (1:35.51) unit both won district titles. This group includes Garner, Johnson, Wallace, and Trevor Crider.
The 4×400-meter relay team of Brennan Wheeler, Brogan Wheeler, Minor, and Wallace won the district title with a time of 3:38.61.
The 4×800-meter relay team of Morgan Slatten, Brennan Wheeler, Robinson, and Hazel qualified for sectionals after taking second (8:45.46).
In some of the other field events, Kyle Ebers moved on after tossing the discus 120’ for third place.
Alex Flowers tossed the shot put 40’4.25” to place fourth.
Walter Salmon qualified in the triple jump after leaping 35’10.5” for fourth.
Other top eight finishers who didn’t advance to sectionals but did score team points include Brennan Wheeler (fifth in triple jump), Blake Crider (fifth in javelin), Nathan Beatty (sixth in shot put and eighth in discus), and Robinson (sixth in 1,600 meters).
Winning the EMO Conference title
When the year started, Baldwin said his team’s main focus was to win the program’s first EMO Conference Championship since 1976 after the Indians missed winning a title last year by just a half point.
With a focus on dethroning Bowling Green, the Indians’ determination paid off last week as they ended a 42-year drought beating the Bobcats 178-165 to win the title at the event held in Montgomery City.
Wallace finished his day with four gold medals after winning four district titles.
Wallace won the 400 meters (52.45).
He also teamed with Trevor Crider, Johnson, and Garner to win the 4×100 (45.21) and the 4×200 (1:33.61).
Wallace then joined Brogan Wheeler, Brennan Wheeler, and Minor to win the 4×400 title (3:41.20).
Hodde won the conference title in the long jump (20’10.25”). He was also second in the 300-meter hurdles (42.29-PR) and third in the 110-meter hurdles (16.50).
Trevor Crider was second in the 110-meter hurdles (16.36-PR) and third in the 300-meter hurdles (42.61-PR).
Garner placed third in the pole vault (10’) while Wright was seventh (8’). Garner was also third in the 100 meters (11.47-PR).
Johnson took second in the 200 meters (23.02-PR) and fourth in the 100 meters (11.48-PR).
Minor was third in the 400 meters (54.75) and fourth in the 200 meters (23.50-PR).
McMorris placed second in the javelin with a school record and personal record throw of 131’02”. Blake Crider was sixth (115’04”-PR).
McMorris was also second in the 800 meters (2:11.71), third in the 1,600 (4:51.27), and third in the 3,200 (11:11.14). Tyler Robinson was fourth in the 3,200 (11:11.91).
Hazel was seventh in the 800 (2:15.53).
The 4×800 team of Brennan Wheeler, Robinson, Hazel, and Slatten placed second (8:52.95).
Brennan Wheeler was seventh in the high jump (5’2”) and seventh in the triple jump (36’04”). With his two relay performances, he scored in four events as a freshman.
Brogan Wheeler scored in four events as a freshman. Along with the relays, he also took third in the long jump (18’8.75”) and took eighth in the high jump (5’).
Flowers placed sixth in the shot put (37’8.75”). Dayton Sanders didn’t place but set a new PR (34’9.25”).
Ebers was eighth in the discus (114’).