Throwing successes dominate boys sectional competition

May 16—FORTVILLE — Whether it was a repeat at Mount Vernon or a first-timer at Kokomo, a pair of area throwers took home championships in the boys track-and-field sectionals Thursday evening.

J.J. Baxter of Lapel became a two-time champion when he took the shot put title at Mount Vernon while Rosin White of Madison-Grant broke through with the discus championship at Kokomo.

Baxter said the payoff came later after a slow start, but the senior was able to take first with a heave of 50-foot-2.5 inches, bettering his nearest competitor by just over two feet.

"It feels great," he said of the repeat. "My earlier throws weren't great, but once I got out of my head, it turned out the way I wanted."

Also a star lineman for the Lapel football team the last four years, Baxter will work to better his throwing motion so next Thursday's regional at Pike in Indianapolis will not be the end of the line.

"I'll try my best to get to that state standard," he said. "I think my strength is fine. There is just some technique that I need to work on."

White's margin at Kokomo was also a comfortable one, as his throw of 140-0 on his next-to-last attempt was just over four feet better than the runner-up from Eastern.

White's win led Madison-Grant to a third-place team finish at Kokomo behind the host Wildkats and Maconaquah. He will be joined next week at the Goshen regional by teammate Mavrick Griffin, who took second in the 110-meter hurdles as well as the M-G 3,200 relay team of Caleb Ewer, Gage Harris, Dylan Hofherr and Gavin Kelich, which was also runner-up with a school-record time of 8:22.38. This is the second straight year the 3,200 relay team has advanced for the Argylls.

Pendleton Heights was fourth in the team standings with 47 points, well back of the host Marauders with 188 as the champion over Lawrence North with 175 and Eastern Hancock at 59.

The Arabians will send a pair to regional next week as Benson Davis settled for second after leading much of the race in the 3,200 and Gabe Martin posted a third-place finish behind Baxter in the shot put.

There was heartbreak for PH, however, as Will Coggins fell just before crossing the 1,600 finish line with a regional-qualifying third-place run but was passed as he tried to regain his footing at the line and finished fourth.

His coach — and his father — knew it was important for him to return to the track, which he did in two later events.

"I think maybe it was (Benson's) PR. It was close," Bill Coggins said. "I wanted him to get out there and compete again because he had lost all confidence after that fall. He was really dejected. I told him he needed to get back out there (in the 800) to get his confidence back, and it worked. He came back later with one of his best 4x400 splits. I'm super proud of him."

After Blue River Valley in fifth, Lapel was next and, in addition to Baxter, Simon Nickelson will advance to regional after placing third in the 3,200.

Anderson was seventh with 27 points and will send its 400 relay team to regional with a second-place finish as well as senior and 2022 state finalist Tremayne Brown after a third-place leap of 6-3 in the high jump.

Anderson Prep was hot on the heels of the Indians with 23 points. It will send its own 400 relay team to regional after a third-place finish. J'Vion Chatman was third in the long jump, and he heads to Pike.

Antayvion Reed, one member of APA's relay team, was later injured while running in the finals of the 200 and could not finish. But, still competing in the shot put, was carried to the event on the back of Jets throws coach Jacie Dickerson and arrived just in time to complete his throws.

"I came over there and I said, 'What do you want to do? You have two minutes,'" Dickerson said. "He said it was his senior year and he wasn't going out like that. They started counting down. He jumped on my back, and I carried him over there."

Reed placed sixth in the shot put.

Shenandoah was ninth in the team standings but will also send a thrower to regional as Sam McClaughry's discus throw of 121-8 was good enough for third place.

Daleville finished 11th as a team, and no athletes qualified for regional.

While several athletes will look for possible call-backs to move on, Frankton and Alexandria could boasted one advancing event from the Marion sectional to the Fort Wayne Carroll regional site.

The Eagles 1,600 relay team of Jack Harrison, Ashtin Sigler, Blake Niccum and Dillon Pratt also set a school record with at time of 3:27.75 and moved on with a second-place finish.

Pratt is one watching for a call back after he was fourth in the 400, and Niccum was fourth in the 800.

Alexandria will also send an athlete to Fort Wayne after Xander Groce placed third in the shot put.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.