Keyshawn McGill

Michigan City's Keyshawn McGill, middle, chases down Lowell's Jaeger Gill in the 200-meter dash at Saturday's Dick Deardruff Classic at LaPorte's Kesling School.

LAPORTE — Decisions, decisions.

There are more than enough event options for Michigan City's Keyshawn McGill. The problem is, the rules limit him to just so many.

"We can only enter him in four," Wolves coach Lucas Snyder said.

Snyder has been faced with this good problem before. Makiyah Smallwood, now hurdling at Nebraska, had similar versatility, and he's approaching the process the same way with McGill.

"He's a lot like Maikyah in that there's a lot he does well," Snyder said. "You want to be fair to the athlete. There's only so much time."

Last season, McGill tied for fourth at state in the high jump, but a hamstring injury prevented him from putting all of his talents on display. He didn't make it out of the sectional in the 200-meter dash, his only other event.

"I'm trying to make up for last year," McGill said.

Back at full speed, McGill is back to a full plate on the track. He's done seven events -- the 100, 200, 400, long jump, high jump, 400 relay and 1,600 relay -- in the first month of the outdoor season.

"We're still looking at events," McGill said after being a part of two firsts (200, 400 relay) and a second (high jump) in Saturday's Dick Deardurff Classic. "We have to try to narrow it down. I can't do them all."

Three of McGill's events seem to be pretty safe bets -- the 200, the high jump and the 400 relay, where optimism is growing over the Wolves' foursome.

"The four by one's looking good," McGill said. "We've got a good young group, some fast freshmen coming up. I feel like we can go to state. The 100's not my thing. I'm not as fast at the start. I feel I can win the 200. In Lafayatte, I ran with some of the dudes I'll see at state and I beat some of them."

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McGill high jumped 6 feet, 4 inches Saturday, taking second to Wheeler's Thad Martz (6-6), finishing up the event after his 200 win. It was a case where McGill's hectic pace worked against him.

"It's challenging," he said. "That was his (Martz's) only event. I didn't really have my steps. Coach (Snyder) is a big high jump person, so he expects me to do big things."

In his first go at the long jump, McGill exceeded 21 feet and Snyder thinks he could go 23. He also ran a low 51 seconds in lousy weather (go figure) in his initial open 400.

"Zionsville on Friday and the (Duneland) conference meet, we'll toy around," Snyder said. "All year long, really every year, we use the season to get ready for the sectional. We always tell them we try to build for the postseason. We don't have indoor facilities, so we try to peak late. We're big on not overdoing it in practice, beating them into the ground. It's been working out pretty good."

It did two years ago for Smallwood, who won state as a junior before an ill-timed injury cost him his senior postseason. That same season, Daniel Armstrong and ShanQuan Hemphill went one-two in the high jump as the Wolves were state runners-up.

"I wanted to be like them," McGill said. "As a sophomore, they beat me, they embarrassed me, but I kept doing it."

As a senior, it's McGill wearing those senior spikes.

"I'm working hard," he said. "The young guys look at me (and think) if I work as hard as him, I'll get better. I'm going to keep pushing to get (to state)."

Once there, McGill hopes his performance will up the ante on his college prospects. He wants to play football. where he was an all-area receiver for the Class 5A regional champion Wolves, and do track.

"I've got some offers, but I'm waiting for a good one," he said.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.