All-RTC boys track: After winning state in 100 meters, Pioneer’s Lewellen is athlete of the year
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The fastest high school athlete in the state is from Royal Center, Indiana.
That would be Pioneer senior Ezra Lewellen, who won the state title in the 100 meters and as a result is our selection for RTC Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
Lewellen ran 11.25 in the 100 meters at the Hoosier North meet on May 13. A little over three weeks later, he had that time down to 10.67 at Ben Davis High School in his history-making run.
What makes his run even more impressive is that he also ran in the 100 hurdles and 400 meters at state as well. That’s not an easy program, especially given the talent level of the competition.
We’re not the only ones who noticed Lewellen’s performance at state. Lewellen changed his college choice from IU Kokomo to Purdue and will now be running at the NCAA Division I level next spring.
A special mention is deserved for Ezra’s brother Addai, who also qualified for state in three events (100, 300 hurdles, long jump) but was hampered due to an injury at state.
Pioneer finished fourth at the regional with just the two Lewellen brothers. They were a remarkable duo.
We now present the first ever All-RTC boys track team. We emphasize the conference and sectional meets, and we give greater weight to those athletes who advance beyond the sectional.
We thank coaches for their insights throughout the season, but this list is ours and ours alone. Please direct any and all complaints at us.
Ezra Lewellen (Pioneer) – Lewellen was also the RTC Football Player of the Year back in the fall.
Rex Kirchenstien (Tippecanoe Valley) – Kirchenstien was second in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters at the TRC meet and then qualified for the regional in both events.
Zach Pickens (Rochester) – Pickens combines power and speed in both the 200 and the 400, an event in which he qualified for regionals. He ran a 51.68 in the 400 at the regional, and he’s only a junior.
Peyton Hiatt (Rochester) – Hiatt’s cross-country background seems to give him a strong kick in the 800 and 1,600, and he qualified for regional in both events.
R.J. Keranko (Rochester) – Keranko exploded onto the secen late in his sophomore year, running both the anchor leg in the 4 x 800 relay and the open 800 meters. He qualified for the regional in both events.
Chris Rohr (Rochester) – Rohr was consistent in his 3,200 times – 10:45 at conference, 10:34 at sectional, 10:40 at regional. He was the only area runner to run the 3,200 in all three meets.
Addai Lewellen (Pioneer) – We will classify Addai Lewellen as a hurdler for the purpose of our list, but he was also an elite sprinter and jumper. He ran a 40.46 in the 300 hurdles at the regional.
Brady Evans (Caston) – Evans ran a 17.49 in the 110 hurdles and a 43.19 in the 300 hurdles at the sectional. Evans is only a sophomore, and in time, he’s only going to get faster.
Braxton Jimenez (Rochester) – Jimenez was a versatile, aggressive hurdler who ran an 18.44 in the 100 hurdles and a 45.15 in the 300 hurdles.
Dawson Perkins (Tippecanoe Valley) – Perkins finished seventh at state in the high jump, and he saved his best jumps for the state finals. He’s only a junior, and hopefully, he’ll have better weather for jumping next spring.
Alek Mikel (Tippecanoe Valley) – Long jump, pole vault and the 400 meters is an unusual combination of events, but Mikel made it work, and he capped his year by winning the sectional title in the long jump.
Zak Daake (Rochester) – Daake pole-vaulted 12-6 at the Plymouth sectional, which was the best vault by any area athlete this year. This was a close call over Jason Tankersley, Dustin Siebert and Braden Shepherd, all of whom also had outstanding years.
Marshall Fishback (Rochester) – Fishback was the TRC shot put champ, and he also qualified for regional in both the discus and shot put.
Wade Melanson (Tippecanoe Valley) – Melanson shook off a loss to Fishback in the shot put at conference and came back to win the sectional title in the shot put. Melanson is a behemoth of a man but also very agile in the pit.
Beau Brandt (Winamac) – Brandt threw the discus 121-11 and was the only member of the Winamac boys track team to make it to the regional.
Braden Shepherd (Tippecanoe Valley)
Dustin Siebert (Rochester)
Austin Dague (Caston)
Matthew Howes (Tippecanoe Valley)
Jason Tankersley (Winamac)
Destin Green (Culver)
John Malchow (Winamac)
Dylan Steininger (Rochester)
Kyle Olds (Winamac)
Jake Paschen (Caston)
Kolbey Wegner (Winamac)
Benton Nellans (Tippecanoe Valley)
Shane Stevens (Culver)
Kobi Martindale (Caston)
Dalton Alber (Tippecanoe Valley)
Jackson Baker (Pioneer)
Braxton Mencias (Rochester)
RTC Boys Track Athlete of the Year Ezra Lewellen
Marshall Fishback Addai Lewwllen Rex Kirchenstien
R.J. Keranko Alek Mikel Wade Melanson