HIGHLAND | Depth is a great asset in boys track sectionals. Insane speed is right there with the large numbers when trophies are being handed out.
These two aspects went head-to-head at the Highland Sectional on Thursday night. Defending champion Munster had the great aggregate, while West Side had the lightening legs.
The Cougars, though, made history in winning seven events and taking home West Side's first sectional championship since 1997.
“This means so much,” West Side coach Gene Johnson said. “We knew Munster was the defending champ, and they would bring us some good competition. There were a lot of other good teams, too. This was for bragging rights. I think that's why they ran so hard.”
West Side junior Jonvae Johnson was the headline at the meet. The Lake Central transfer was running in his first sectional. The sprinter blew by the field in winning four events and ran the third leg of the 1,600 relay with the title on the line. Trailing by 30 yards, Johnson took off and handed off to Deronte Buggs with a 25-yard advantage.
“This was just a regular night for me,” Jonvae Johnson said. “I came out and tried to be legendary. This is what I do.”
The Cougars' 400 relay team of Carlton Sims, Johnson, Lonnie Johnson and Darnell Jones broke the sectional record with a time of 42.29.
Johnson won the 100 and 200 in state qualifying times of 10.97 and 22.13, too.
“I just had to make up for it. I said I had to do this,” Johnson said of his part of the 1,600. “I said, 'I got to do this.' I knew the team was relying on me.”
The Cougars won with 115 points, Munster was second with 99, E.C. Central had 71, and Bowman Academy had 56. The top four teams and finishers in the 16 events advance to next week's Valparaiso Regional.
Bowman Academy's Marsalis Gibson won both hurdles going away. He won the 110s in 14.69 and his number was 39.84 in the 300. Gibson was edged out of both hurdle events last year, so getting two firsts meant the world to the senior.
“I wanted to go out doing my best,” said Gibson who advanced to state last year but was nowhere near the top 10. “I didn't look at any other runners. I just focused on my own race. This feels real good so I want to take this into regionals.”
E.C. Central's Kenneth Lloyd broke the sectional high jump record with a leap of 6-foot-10. Munster's Tommy Bolanowski won the 1,600 and 3,200.