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Boys track: Valparaiso wins second straight sectional championship

Portage's JerBlake wins 100m dash with time 11.27 Portage High School Thursday May 16 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

Portage's Jeron Blake wins the 100m dash with a time of 11.27 at Portage High School on Thursday, May 16, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 18, 2013 8:29AM



PORTAGE — It had been a long wait for Portage’s Jeron Blake, as the Indians senior had spent the entire track season battling hamstring issues. Finally, at the Portage Sectional, Blake was cleared for a full workload for the first time this season — and the 2012 state finalist delivered.

“It felt like my first time; this is the most nervous I’ve been,” Blake said. “My physical therapist said I should wait until sectionals, so that’s what we planned. And she was right.”

Blake took first place in the 100- and 200-meter dash, and was part of a first place finish in the 4x100-meter relay. Although he cramped after the relay, his final event of the day, Blake showed no other ill effects during or after competition.

“As soon as the gun sounded I was just thinking about my start; that was my main focus,” he said, then added with a laugh: “Then I thought, ‘I hope my hamstring doesn’t pull.’”

Blake’s night helped Portage to a second-place finish at the sectional meet with a team score of 121 points. But it was not enough to catch Valparaiso, which captured tits second straight sectional title with 160. Fellow DAC member Chesterton took third with 102.5 points.

“We always try to aim high, for sure,” Valparaiso head coach Brett Polizotto said. “We had some guys that performed well tonight. As coaches, we try to stress that every point matters.”

One of the Vikings’ top performers was senior Josh Marciniak, who won in 110 hurdles and took second in the 300 hurdles.

Chesterton’s third-place finish was aided by a big night from senior Joe Troop, who edged teammate Archie Sullivan in the 400, then teamed with Sullivan to help the Trojans take the 4x400 meter relay.

“Archie’s a great runner. As tough as it’s been to lose to him, it’s been a great help,” said Troop, who’s traded the top two spots with Sullivan in the 400 all season. But in the relay, it was two opponents on his heels when he received the baton. “That’s how it’s been all year, especially being the fourth guy. Either you’re going to be chasing someone, or someone’s going to be chasing you.”

Representing one of the smaller schools at the nine-team meet, South Central’s Isaiah Thomas had a big night for the Satellites, winning the long jump and taking second in the 100 after injury issues kept him out of the sectional meet last year.

“There’s not much more that I could ask for,” he said. “It’s nice right now, but I still have to come out and perform next Thursday. It was nice to finally have a good night of running.”



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