CROWN POINT | When Wes Honaker came up sore after the 100-meter dash trials and bowed out of two events Wednesday, Crown Point's hopes for its first Duneland Athletic Conference boys track title seemed to have taken a big hit.
"He's a big factor. He's usually consistent first place," C.P.'s Troy Grady said. "We knew we really needed to be a lot stronger in the other events. We couldn't let it stop us."
How well did the Bulldogs respond to the key loss in the miserable weather? When Grady hit the finish line as the anchor of the winning 1,600 relay, they had already secured the title. Crown Point, which had never even beaten Valpo in a dual until last year, amassed 129 points to the Vikings' 101.
"The kids stepped up tremendously," C.P. coach Keith Iddings said. "Our first concern was for Wes, but then you start thinking about the rest of the team and how it was going to impact the other events. They really dedicated themselves. I couldn't be more impressed with the effort they put forth. It's a credit to the boys. It was fun to be a part of it."
In addition to Grady, who won the 110-meter high hurdles, Tristan Peterson took the 300 intermediate hurdles and was a late fill-in on the 1,600 relay. Spencer Swope took the high jump.
On a day when a surly Mother Nature hampered performances, LaPorte's Anthony Didion (1,600, 3,200) and Lake Central's Gelen Robinson (throws) were double winners.
"I want to run some really fast times yet, but the weather hasn't been nice to take advantage of it," said Didion, who pulled away in the final 400 of each race. "This is probably the worst track weather I've ever run in. As it was, I was just running for the win, to have a good final lap. It gives me a lot more experience for the future, when I probably won't be able to go out and have nice and easy laps."
Robinson defended his titles in both events. He also won the discus as a sophomore.
"It wasn't my best, but it was good enough to win," he said. "I've been practicing in (this weather) all year, I can't let it affect me. The discus was a little harder for me because I rotate now. The surface was slick. I definitely had to be a little more careful. Hopefully, we can get a couple of good days and I can come out and throw like I'm capable of."
Portage's Lorenzo Wells, sidelined much of the season with a hamstring pull, cruised to a win in the 200 and helped the 400 relay bring home a victory as well. He didn't run the 100 as a precaution.
"It held up right until the end," Wells said. "Coach (Nick Haas) just told me to stay warm. I had a lot of disappointment built up, watching everybody else catching up to me. It was kind of half and half. Sectionals, it'll be all out."
Chesterton's Billy Biehl captured the 800 and ran a leg on the winning 3,200 relay, which defended its title despite the recent loss of Archie Sullivan.
"My plan was to take it out as hard as I could and hold on from there," Biehl said. "With the conditions, the wind and the rain, I was just giving it my all and trying to get the win. (Our relay) did pretty good for a day like this. I still think we can do pretty good."