PORTAGE | If there's anything that Jeron Blake has learned this spring, it's patience.
A two-event state medalist last year, Portage's star sprinter has missed much of his senior season with a hamstring-related issue.
Running a full complement of events for the first time, Blake flashed his old form, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes while anchoring the 400 relay to a victory in Thursday's Portage Sectional.
"My physical therapist said to wait for sectionals and she was right about it," said Blake, who caught a cramp after the 200 finish. "It felt like the first time. I was more nervous than I've ever been. It's a mindset thing. I just had to get my mind back on racing."
Blake took the 100 in 11.27, the 200 in 23.3 and brought home the relay in 43.03.
"I'm surprised," he said. "I haven't even done workouts yet. I was pretty tight in the 100. I've just got to get my legs, get my form right. Once I got to the up position, I was just hoping my hamstring doesn't pull. I didn't want to push too hard."
LaPorte's Anthony Didion was the only other double winner in individual events, cruising to victory in the 1,600 (4:19.32) before putting on a huge kick to nip Wheeler's James Mills in the 800 with a 1:58.64.
"It's always nice to have a strong finish," Didion said. "There's so many races, you can't waste all your energy in the first 1,200. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. The 1,600, I felt more in control. I was where I wanted to be the entire race."
Chesterton's Joe Troop held off teammate Archie Sullivan in the open 400, then anchored the 1,600 relay that Sullivan started to a win (3:21.76).
"Archie's a great runner. As much as it sucks to lose, he's a great help," Troop said. "During indoors, I was really hurting and the pain was like a mental block in my head. It just comes down to wanting it more. Plus, it was Portage. I always have really good luck here."
South Central's Isaiah Thomas, who missed sectionals last year with a hamstring pull, took second in the 100 and won the long jump (21-5 3/4).
"I was looking at the (long jump) seedings coming in and I was thinking, 'Oh, it's going to be kind of tough,'" Thomas said. "I really didn't think I was going to do that good. I was really nervous, but once I got here, you've just got to do what you have to do."
Valparaiso defended its team title, amassing 160 points to runner-up Portage's 121.
Hurdler Josh Marciniak won the 110 highs in 14.95, topping teammate Andrew Kittridge, and took second in the 300s. Peyton and Xavier Reed went 1-2 in the 3200.
"Our goal's to try to advance as many as we can," Vikings coach Brett Polizotto said. "We always try to set the bar pretty high. We made it in some (events), but not all."