This is my Tuerff
La PORTE — Revenge, as the saying goes, is a dish best served cold, and thanks to the brisk conditions at Saturday’s Dick Deardurff Classic at the Slicers Track & Field Complex, La Porte’s Riley Tuerff was able to even a score of sorts in such a manner.
The Slicers’ senior rallied the 1,600-meter relay team of Kayla Jones, Arianna Steele and Ella Bensz to victory, overtaking Hobart’s Addison Metts in the last 100, crossing in 4 minutes, 17.31 seconds. Earlier in the meet, Metts edged Tuerff, 16.17-16.18, in the 100 hurdles.
“It was tiring,” Tuerff said. “It was such a crazy thing. I was just watching her the whole time, we got here on the homestretch, I was like, I can do it. At that point, the decision was already made, I just had to go for it, I heard everyone cheering. I was like, I’ve got to get something back. I was pretty upset about my (hurdles) performance. I saw she was on the anchor leg, I was like, OK, here we go again. She got the baton right before I did and I was like, OK, we’re going to see what we can do.”
Tuerff led the hurdles race clipping the second to last hurdle with her trail leg.
“After that, my form was all messed up,” she said. “I knew she was coming. I just like gave it to her. I knew she was a good competitor. It’s nothing to beat myself up about.”
A busy day of racing also included a second in the 400, which Tuerff ran rather than her usual 300 hurdles.
“They wanted me to run the 400 to try to break the school record,” she said. “The wind was tough on the backstretch. That was where I was trying to push it the most and it would push me back. I’ve only done it in these meets. It was fun to take a break.”
Otherwise, Lowell and Wheeler largely dominated the girls meet with New Prairie’s Skylar Denton taking the discus (104-10) and LP’s Jones the long jump (15-11).
On the boys side, New Prairie’s Jacob Corbett overtook Cole Raymond of La Porte on the final lap of the 3,200, finishing in 9 minutes, 54.06 seconds.
“I heard his coach talking about sub-10, you’re going to be off pace for it, so he took off and I followed him,” Corbett said. “I wasn’t really that surprised. I just locked on. I feel kind of rude about (drafting off him). I finally just decided to go the last lap. I was looking for a PR (9:46), but we switched the plan because of the wind. I’m happy I was able to do this on a day like this, just be able to hang in there. It’s fun. I love doing it.”
Michigan City’s powerhouse throwing tandem of Ryan Stefanko and Justin Wozniak claimed the shot put and discus, respectively, the combination of wind and cold keeping performances down across all events.
“In warm-up throws, I could barely feel my hands,” Stefanko said after posting a winning toss of 57 feet, two inches. “Indiana weather, man. I’ve had a slow start to this year so far, but the past two meets have been my season bests. I’m really starting to kick it up.”
Wozniak took the discus in 157-9 1/2. It was enough of a concern for him to get back in the ring and continue to throw after the competition was done.
“That’s why I’m still practicing,” he said. “It’s not a bad throw, but at the same time, my (personal record) is a 173, so it’s not what I was looking for. It was a cross wind, so it really didn’t help much. I’m not too worried about the distance because of the weather. (I’m) mainly just working on my technique, my mechanics.”
It took some convincing on Stefanko’s part, but he was finally able to persuade Wozniak, a football teammate, to join him in the throwing circle last year.
“I’d been begging him to come out and he finally did,” Stefanko said. “It’s a different feeling (than football). Out here, it’s just me and him instead of the whole team. I’m just glad he could be a part of this track journey.”
Stefanko finished fourth in the 2018 state finals in the shot, while Wozniak took 10th in the discus. This time around, the measuring tape has been set even farther.
“This year our goal is for both of us to win state,” Stefanko said. “We would be like the Indiana duo.”
In the process of becoming throwing partners, the two have become each other’s biggest fans as well.
“We definitely push each other,” Stefanko said. “It’s kind of been like, I hold down shot put and he holds down disc. We try to make each other better in both of them.”
Granted, the emotion is different than on a football field.
“It doesn’t get really intense,” Wozniak said. “In track, we try to keep everything inside, unlike football. If you hit somebody hard, you start yelling. We usually try to hype each other up before we throw. We cheer each other on because I know I’m not catching him in shot and he’s probably not going to catch me in disc. We pretty much came to that conclusion, that’s how it’s going to be.”
Stefanko will continue to throw in college, verbally committing to Grand Valley State recently.
“I just have a passion for track that I don’t really have for football,” he said.
In turn, Wozniak will play football at St. Francis, where he hopes he can work in some throwing as well.
“I want to throw in college,” he said. “I understand if (the football coach) just wants me doing more football, but there shouldn’t be a problem with it.”
Joe Rice added to M.C.’s field events success in the meet, winning the long jump at 19-10.