BLOOMINGTON | After only sending one team to a state championship, the East Chicago Central 1,600-meter relay team ran for not just themselves, but for their school and city Friday at the 108th IHSAA Boys' Track and Field State Championships.
"It really meant a lot," Tyree Purham said. "For us to get down here and place on the podium meant a lot. We felt like we did our city right."
The four seniors competed in the last event of the day, but when their time came, they finished with a time of 3 minutes, 19.76 seconds, fast enough to capture eighth despite not even having an outdoor track to practice on all year.
Besides running for his school and city, Matthew Rosado was also running for his grandmother who passed away three weeks ago.
"I made her a promise that we'd make it to state," Rosado said. "To get down here makes it feel so much better."
Good things to come: Despite being beaten by fellow DAC jumper Kody Galloway, Merrillville's Austin Jamerson sees a bright future ahead of him after his third place finish in the high jump.
"I'm real excited," Jamerson said. "Hopefully I can improve my next two years."
Kouts' Stephen Keller also finished 19th and Valparaiso's Jordan Romanov finished 22nd.
The one and only: After an eighth place finish in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles a year ago, LaPorte senior Skyler Coburn hoped to win it all this year.
But it wasn't Coburn's day, as he finished in seventh place.
"I'm pretty upset to be honest," Coburn said. "I was really convincing myself I was going to come out and win it."
However, Coburn took some solace out of the fact that he was the only person from the Region to medal in the event.
"To be the only guy to place from our region does feel pretty good," Coburn said.
Griffith's Troy Yarnelle finished 18th in the event and Portage's Othie Freeny finished 27th.
Lone Viking: Ahmad Aljobeh was the only Valparaiso Viking to medal Friday, placing sixth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:13.36.
"I'm pretty proud," Aljobeh said. "I think all the work I've done this season's paid off."
Aljobeh made it to state last year, but failed to medal. This year, all the focus was on medaling.
"This was the year to do it," Aljobeh said.
Munster's Tom Bolanowski also finished 26th in the event.
Personal day: In the pole vault, Chesterton's Justin Zosso took home the seventh-place medal, skying over the bar at 15 feet, 3 inches.
"I did alright," Zosso said. "I tied my PR (personal record). It's a good way to end your season."
His teammate, Peter Fouts, finished tied for 21st, while Lake Central's Jake Markiewicz finished 24th.
A 'Strick' leader: Behind their leader Cornelius Strickland, Bowman's 400-meter relay team edged out Portage, claiming sixth and seventh respectively. Crown Point and Merrillville finished 11th and 12th.