Jayson West took a moment after his sixth-ranked Warren Central boys track and field team won the Marion County championship Wednesday at North Central, to reflect on his three years as the team’s coach.
West took over in 2012 for coach Dennis McNulty, an Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame member who won four state titles over his career at Warren Central. West admitted the transition was initially tough, but the team has bought into his vision. It paid off with the senior-dominated Warriors’ first county title since 2007. They edged runner-up No. 7 Ben Davis, the two-time defending champion, 113-106.
“It means a lot,” West said. “We’ve been together three years now and they’re really starting to blossom. And that’s hard to do in the spring, when you have graduation and all these things that come with being these seniors. They’re staying focused. They wanted this county (title) before they went out. They’re a great group of seniors and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Senior Isaiah Thomas brought home much of the hardware for the Warriors, with three wins on the night. Thomas secured the team win in the meet’s final event, with his burst of the final 30 meters of the 1,600-meter relay. Warren Central won it in 3 minutes, 25.4 seconds to Ben Davis’ 3:26.13.
“The adrenaline rush came. I was like, ‘I can’t do it,’ but my team depended on me,” said Thomas, who plans to run at University of Indianapolis. “(Winning county) is a big, big thing since it’s been a long time. I feel like the hard work we put in, we showed it on the track.”
Thomas also claimed titles in the sprints, winning the 100 in 10.82 seconds and the 200 in 22.0. He was named the meet’s most outstanding performer.
Warren Central senior Glendon Montgomery took home titles in the 110 hurdles (14.65 seconds) and 300 hurdles (39.1). The Warriors also got a win in the high jump, with senior Jarrell Dennis clearing the bar at 6-6 to repeat as county champion.
The runner-up Giants got a trio of first-place finishes. The Ben Davis 400 relay team of Chris Evans, Derrick Jones, Christian Powell and Rodney Williams won in 42.4 seconds. Powell claimed the long jump at 22 feet, 4 inches and junior Jalil Brewer won the shot put with a heave of 56-3.
Arguably the best two races of the meet both involved North Central senior Solomon Rice. He used a big kick to overtake Brebeuf Jesuit’s Zack Snider over the final 100 meters to win the 1,600 in 4:15.41. Snider led the entire race until then, with Rice staying right on his shoulder. He edged Snider by 7/100ths of a second.
The Columbia University-bound Rice practiced a similar strategy in the 800, except this time he had to pass four runners over the final 100 meters. He won by 2/10ths of a second of Park Tudor’s Evan Lee, who led the entire race.
“I’ve just been training hard, working a lot harder and doing a lot more of the little things,” Rice said.
The third-place Panthers also got a win in the 400 from sophomore Isaiah Ware, who clocked in at 50.03 seconds.
Brebeuf’s John Woolridge won the pole vault, clearing 12-0 and the Braves’ Snider won the 3,200 in 9:35.9. Snider was the runner-up in the event last year.
The Lawrence North 3,200 relay team of Ethan Hoeft, Timothy Jerger, Amulstaphia Sylvester and Kyle Harris won in 7:59.33. Park Tudor senior Marcus Downs threw 164 feet, 6 inches to win the discus title.
Boys Marion County Track and Field
Team scores: Warren Central 113, Ben Davis 106, North Central 65, Pike 64, Brebeuf Jesuit 53, Lawrence North 50, Park Tudor 38, Lawrence Central 37.5, Franklin Central 31, Perry Meridian 24, Southport 23, Roncalli 14, Speedway 3, Lutheran 2, Beech Grove 0.5.
110 hurdles: Glendon Montgomery (WC) 14.65; 100 meters: Isaiah Thomas (WC) 10.82; 200: Thomas (WC) 22.0; 3,200 relay: Lawrence North (Ethan Hoeft, Timothy Jerger, Amulstaphia Sylvester, Kyle Harris) 7:59.33; 1,600: Solomon Rice (NC) 4:15.41; 400 relay: Ben Davis (Chris Evans, Derrick Jones, Christian Powell, Rodney Williams) 42.4; 400: Isaiah Ware (NC) 50.03; 300 hurdles: Montgomery (WC) 39.1; 800: Rice (NC) 1:57.39; 3,200: Zack Snider (BJ) 9:35.9; 1,600 relay: Warren Central (Jermaine Brown, Mike Cornner, Justin Forte, Thomas) 3:25.04; Shot put: Jalil Brewer (BD) 56-3; Discus: Marcus Downs (PT) 164-06; High jump: Jarrell Dennis (WC) 6-6; Long jump: Christian Powell (BD) 22-4; Pole vault: John Woolridge (BJ) 12-0.