BLOOMINGTON | Bowman's Cornelius Strickland was on a mission Friday.
Competing for the second time in the IHSAA Track and Field State Championships in Bloomington, Strickland wanted to do better than his fourth place finish in last year's 100-meter dash.
He did. With a final time of 10.73 seconds, Strickland took second place behind Center Grove's Nick Stoner.
"This year I was actually on a mission and I did pretty good on my mission," Strickland said.
The 100 was not the end of Strickland's day -- or his mission. He also competed in the 200, alongside Hobart's Jarvis McMillian, the defending champion, and Merrillville's Rahim Conwell.
All three made the finals in the event, guaranteeing a spot on the podium. But Strickland didn't leave any doubt that he was the best of this trio of region sprinters, taking home third place with a time of 21.85. McMillian finished behind him at 21.96 and Conwell back in seventh with a 22.27.
"I'm making history in my school," Strickland said. "I'm proud of myself. All the hard work has paid off. I sprinted to make podium and I made history."
Once again, Stoner caught Strickland to win the 200 as well.
"(I knew) he's going to be coming fast," Strickland said. "In the straightaway he ended up getting me. He's a good athlete. He's a good runner."
With Stoner graduating this year, Strickland has one mission next year: to take the final step and bring home the crown.
Meanwhile, Conwell, who just started sprinting last year, remained proud of the progress he made.
"I feel accomplished," Conwell said. "I'm still new to this. I have a lot of development to go. It means a lot because I put a lot of work in it. I went from barely making it out of Sectionals to this."
McMillian, who won three medals last year, did better in the 400-meter, placing second with a time of 47.73.
"My goal was to try to get David Neville's record," McMillian said.
McMillian's time didn't beat Neville's record of 46.99. McMillian also said he changed his running style in order to try to break the record, and he believes this affected his running.
"It took a lot out of me on the last 15 meters," he said.
Despite being plagued by a hamstring problem during the season, McMillian said it didn't bother him at all Friday.
Andrean's Chris Ariva, who is AAU teammates with McMillian, finished in third in the event with a time of 48.69.
"It's a big success for me," Ariva said. "At the state meet, crazy stuff happens. I found a new gear in me. It's just unbelievable right now."
After placing ninth in the discus last season, Hanover Central's Derek De St. Jean hoped to improve on that Saturday and medal in both the discus and the shot put.
After going undefeated during the regular season, it was a different feeling for him to not have the top throws among his competitors, but De St. Jean was still able to medal in both the shot put and discus, taking home ninth place in each event, an improvement considering he didn't medal in shot put last year.
"I might not have the state title, but I do have the Region title," De St. Jean said. "Just being here is an overall great feeling knowing that I represent my school and the Region in the finals.
"To be top 10, ninth place in both events, it's an amazing feeling to have."