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Slicers, Wolves still learning at DAC boys meet

May 10, 2018

MERRILLVILLE — Coming into Wednesday’s Duneland Athletic Conference boys track meet, Michigan City head coach Lucas Snyder expected nothing less than he’s all season from his pack of Wolves.

Although other schools like champion Crown Point, runner-up Merrillville and do-it-all runner Braden Corzan and Chesterton dominated the top of the podium, Snyder was content with his team’s performance.

“We tell our kids all the time that we use the regular season to get ready for the tournament,” Snyder said. “This is really a lot like our regional. A lot of the kids and teams that we’re trying to gauge ourselves against are here at this meet.”

For La Porte, the boys looked to continue off the girls’ strong fourth-place finish in the conference meet on Tuesday with a solid performance of their own against the DAC’s best.

The Slicers finished sixth overall with 63 points, just ahead of City’s total of 56.33 points. Jacob Marsh outjumped City’s Keyshawn McGill and Lake Central’s Jack Davis in the high jump with a leap of six foot, four inches to win the conference title. Tyler Bensz’s jump of 22 feet, 1.5 inches was good enough for a runner-up finish in the long jump competition.

Adam Gasaway finished fourth overall in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:00.36, and in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:28.56. John Ferrell’s time of 51.69 seconds in the 400-meter dash was good enough to nab three points in the event.

Other top finishers for the Slicers included Ryan Steder, who finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.36 seconds, and Jake Thode’s best discus throw of 143 feet, two inches was good enough for a fourth-place finish behind Norton and Wozniak.

Despite not finishing overall near some of the top teams when the lengthened evening (thanks to a 30-minute lightning delay) ended, the Wolves’ Snyder was happy with some of his top stars.

“I thought it was a good meet,” Snyder said. “Justin Wozniak broke the all-time discus record when he threw a 169 tonight. [Ryan] Stefanko did well with his throws. Keyshawn [McGill] had a great day all over the place, too.

“There’s some kids with some room for improvement. We got some time through sectionals, but regionals is really where we wanna peak and get down to state to let it all loose down there.”

If it wasn’t for a ridiculous 176 foot, four-inch throw from Merrillville’s Brett Norton towards the end of the competition, Wozniak would’ve been a conference champion in the discus for his record toss. (According to City’s T.R. Harlan, the football tight end-turned-defensive end didn’t even start throwing until the outdoor season began.)

Stefanko finished second overall in the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, eight inches.

For a potential state qualifier like the Wolves senior McGill, who jumped a six-foot, two-inch high jump and finished second overall to Corzan in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.30 seconds, Wednesday is the type of scene he’s used to, and will be seeing over the next few weeks.

“We’re realistic with them, but we want them to come out here and do their best,” Snyder said. “We can’t replicate Keyshawn running with Corzan in practice obviously, but he’s getting better and better, and I keep telling him that he can get to state and really compete.

“Other kids are on different plans and trajectories, but we’re trying to have them qualify through sectionals so they can compete at regionals and feel what that’s like and continue to build in the years after that.”

Reach Michael Whitlow at mwhitlow@thenewsdispatch.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.

DAC boys track meet results

1. Crown Point (110 points)

2. Merrillville (104)

3. Chesterton (85)

4. Portage (81)

5. Lake Central (68.6)

6. La Porte (63)

7. Michigan City (56.33)

8. Valparaiso (55)