Valparaiso's Andrew Kittridge, left and Joshua Marciniak flank Merrillville's Austin Jamerson during the final of the 110 meter hurdles at the DAC meet Wednesday May 8, 2013. Kittridge went on to win. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 10, 2013 2:28PM
VALPARAISO — A close defeat at last year’s Duneland Athletic Conference meet and a regular-season dual-meet loss to Crown Point became a distant memory for Valparaiso on Wednesday night, as the Vikings captured the DAC championship.
“All of our coaches were sitting up in the stands and, collectively, we all thought that we had a real good meet,” Valparaiso coach Brett Polizotto said. “It was one of those nights where every one of our guys did what they were supposed to do, if not better.”
After Lake Central took the 2012 DAC meet with a one-point victory, Valparaiso won the 2013 version by a much wider margin. The Vikings racked up 129 points, ahead of Crown Point’s 112 and Lake Central’s 101.
“It all kind of clicked tonight,” Polizotto said before reeling off the names of several standout Vikings performances. “We had quite a few, to be honest with you.”
Valparaiso’s Joshua Marciniak was one of the athletes that Polizotto named, after the senior posted a first-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, third-place in the 110 hurdles and was part of the third-place 1,600 relay team.
“I’ve been working on those 300 meters for a long time,” Marciniak said.
Polizotto also highlight the efforts of Andrew Kittridge (first in 110 hurdles), Pat Reilly (first in 100) and Mark Johnson (third in 100).
The MVP award for the running events went to Crown Point’s Tom Cierniak, after the Bulldogs junior finished first in the 3,200-meter run and second in the 1,600. Merrillville senior Austin Jamerson took MVP honors from the field events after winning the high jump and the long jump.
Lake Central junior Gelen Robinson continued his trek toward a return to the state final by winning both the shot put and discus.
“This is a big meet for me. It shows how much I’ve improved throughout the year,” said Robinson, who competed in those two events at last year’s state final.
But Robinson also said that he’s not up to last year’s level yet.
“I don’t think I’m there yet,” he said. “Last year I was throwing a little bit farther. I had to take a few weeks off earlier in the year so I’m still getting back into it.”