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Written By StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Warsaw earned its 12th straight and 19th sectional title overall after barnstorming the Warsaw Girls Track Sectional Tuesday night. (Photo by Steve Clark)

WARSAW – Setting out to do what it aimed to do, Warsaw clobbered the field once again and stood as the Warsaw Girls Track Sectional champions. But it wasn’t without some interference.

Of the day’s 16 events, Warsaw claimed titles in six of them including all three relays in am impressive collection of split efforts. The 4×800 started off the day with Angie Vijil-Sanchez, Carmen Yoder, Adree Beckham and Remi Beckham zipping to a 9:50.76, and closed the show with a 4:05.57 from its 4×400 team of Vijil-Sanchez, the Beckham sisters and Maygan Bellamy. In the middle was the 4×100 relay, which broke a 35-year-old sectional record with the new standard of 49.12, posted by Shunterra Davis, Kendra Love, Abbi Curtis and Makayla Clampitt.

Mia Beckham rolled to a mile win at 5:05.41 with teammate Emma Bohnenkamper taking second and securing one of 18 automatic top-three regional bids that the Lady Tigers earned. The Warsaw field portion of its show got a pair of wins, Lynae Dawson sending the shot put 34-00.25 and Caitlin Kehler set a personal best with a 10-9, easily winning the pole vault.

“I feel like I am biased but any girl could stand out tonight,” said Warsaw head coach Megan Davis, who coached her team to 167 points and its 12th straight sectional title and 19th overall in her rookie season. Davis noted over a dozen athletes, and added, “It’s really hard to pick out major standouts. If I had to pick out my top ones of the night, I think it was probably Michaela Buriff in that 300 (hurdles, second at 47.65) and Mia Beckham in the 1,600.”

Where Davis was slightly cautious were events where her athletes have excelled, but were clipped Tuesday night. Mia Beckham has made the distance double look easy all season, and after taking the mile, was seemingly a lock to win the two-mile. Not so fast said Elkhart Central’s Lauren Dibley, who caught Beckham on the back stretch of the final lap and was stride for stride with Beckham the final 25 meters. A legitimate photo finish put Dibley on the board in first at 11:23.68 to Beckham’s 11:23.72. Columbia City’s Cassandra Burdge dethroned Alexie Day as the high jump champion, going 5-5 to Day’s 5-4.5, and Fairfield’s Olivia Elledge outflew Kendall Menzie by three-quarters of an inch at 15-09.75 to win long jump.

“On paper, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it really comes down to who performs,” Davis said. “Teams came out and ran phenomenally and they pushed us. Just because we are the favored team, we still have to come out and give it 100 percent. If we try to slack off or try to not run our best each race, there was a chance we could have not made it out of the sectional.”

Wrapping up automatic regional qualifiers for Warsaw included Clampitt in the 100, Curtis in the 200, Bellamy in the 400, Bohnenkamper and Remi Beckham in the 800, Buriff in the 300 hurdles, Dawson in the discus and Passion Gardner in shot put.

Wawasee’s Jada Parzygnot was the lone qualifier for regionals after taking third place in pole vault with a clearance of 9-6. Parzygnot achieved the height ahead of Elkhart Central’s Analena VanderZwagg, who also made 9-6 but was bested by her gymnastics adversary in attempts. While Parzygnot was qualifying for pole vault, she was skipping over to the adjacent long jump pit, and landed a season-best 15-3.75 to place fourth, just outside of qualification, but one of several Wawasee athletes on the bubble for a call-back to Kokomo next Tuesday.

Sara Pritchard was fourth in discus and fifth in shot put and Bailey Mayhew was fourth in the 800, just back of Beckham at the line.

“It was two years ago we called down to (Cory) Schutz to find some Western Sectional results to come up, and it was midnight and we didn’t have anything,” said Wawasee head coach Doug Slabaugh on possibly waiting late into Tuesday night for potential call-backs for his fringe athletes. “It’ll be midnight or so or just wait until tomorrow.”

NorthWood had two breakthroughs to regionals. Erica Stutsman continued to peak at the right time. After winning a Northern Lakes Conference title in the 400 last week, the senior bumped back up to her familiar 800 and looked like an old pro, racing to a 2:17.38 championship, a full three seconds faster than Bohnenkamper.

Kenzie Moren also earned a regional place in the 100 in taking second to Concord’s Oniste Thomas, but spent time on the ground with an injury at the finish line after the 4×100 relay’s final leg. Per NorthWood head coach Mark Mikel, her status for the regional is unclear. But Stutsman, who seems fully recovered from an offseason leg injury, should be ready to go.

“I looked at the state best lists and she was sitting 13th in the 400 but not on the list at all for the 800,” Mikel said of Stutsman. “I looked at 2:20 got you on there, and that’s what Remi Beckham ran last week. When Erica is fresh she can do that. There are some risks in the 400, and certainly in the 800 with injury, but at this point of the year we have committed to it and will see what happens.”

Thomas would highlight a good night for Concord, which would end up runner-up in the team standings with 93.5 points. Thomas took the speed double, winning the 100 (12.52) and 200 (25.71) and was on the runner-up 4×100 relay. Jasmine Hudson won the 400 (59.78) and Jasmine Riffell took the 100 hurdles (15.85).

Goshen’s Jill Kissinger hit a state standard in the 300 hurdles with her 45.23 win and Elkhart Central’s Mia Pulianas won the discus at 107-06.

Posted In: Girl's Sports > Track and Field