VALPARAISO | Valparaiso track coach Brett Polizotto said he knows his team manages to dominate its own annual relay, year after year.
Of more interest to Polizotto heading into the Valparaiso Relay, therefore, is not whether the team wins the overall title again, but how they went about doing it.
"I view every year as its own entity," said Polizotto after Friday's team victory, the 30th straight year the Vikings have won their own relay race. "It's a fun meet and gives the kids a chance to run in events they usually don't run during the season, but all the same, when they strap on the spikes, we become competitive."
The Vikings won eight of the 16 varsity events to easily outdistance the rest of the eight-team field with 131 points. Chesterton finished second (88 points), followed by Mishawaka (85), East Chicago Central (60), Hebron (39), South Bend Washington (30), Morgan Township (16) and Gary 21st Century (8).
"When we step on the track, we want to represent Valparaiso High School very much," said Vikings senior Mark DeBats, who ran the 800-meter leg of the Vikings' winning distance medley. "We are very respectful, tell everyone that goes onto the track 'good luck,' and then we compete."
Polizotto said the four members of his 4x400 relay team — Cody Zander, Nick Hartman, Isaac Withrow and Josh Marciniak — each ran personal best times on their way to winning the event in 3:26.59.
"I pretty much had it easy today," said Marciniak, who anchored that win and also ran the second leg of the 4x110 shuttle hurdles event the Vikings also won. "I didn't have to catch anyone. I just had to make sure I kept the lead."
The Vikings' Ahmad Aljobeh won the 1600 in a time of 4:24.32. Andrew Kittridge easily won the 110 high hurdles in 15.33, while the Vikings' 800 sprint relay team of Ish Pearson, Pat Reilly, John Halfman and Quin Geans also won.
ECC's Jacques Hall won the 100 in 11.19. The Cardinals 4x100 team of Jason Stewart, Martyveus Carter, Anthony Hunt and Hall also were victorious.
"It was all Jacques," said Stewart of the relay win. "He did the job, caught the last man and finished the race for us."
Despite finishing second overall, Chesterton won only one event, that by Trevor Wal and Sean Matheny in the combined shot put. Mishawaka's 4x800 relay team won that event and broke the 28-year-old meet record in the process.