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  • Val T.

Flying coach: Bond between coaches, athletes help Rochester wins girls, boys TRC track titles

Calloway takes 800, 1,600, Bradley, Seward, 4 x 800 relay also win; RHS shot putter Fishback, Valley high jumper Perkins also win


Sports Editor, RTC

BUNKER HILL –- Nobody cheered harder for Rochester junior Kenzie Bradley when she crossed the finish line after winning the 100 meters at the Three Rivers Conference track meet at Maconaquah High School Friday than assistant coach Alysha Wachtmann.

Assistant coach Jon Wachtmann, Alysha’s husband, has set up a demanding workout routine for his middle distance runners, according to junior Zach Pickens.

Assistant coach Alex Gudeman is direct lineage to the coaching of former assistant coach in charge of distance runners Scott Stalbaum.

Assistant coach Ron Shaffer is capable of finding the most subtle of flaws in the form of discus and shot put throwers and correcting them.

Assistant coach Karmin Reeves is a highly respected teacher of the pole vault and the high jump.

Assistant coach John Nile counsels the sprinters.

And when it was over, head coach Ryan Helt had his athletes surround him and told them of what history they made. In 20 years of coaching track, he had never quite had a night like this.

Holding a tight bond with their coaches, their work ethic a signal of their complete trust, the Rochester girls and boys track teams both won TRC titles on a memorable night that started with a lightning delay and ended in the deep freeze with temperature near 40 degrees.

Rochester won the girls meet with 140.5 points. Manchester was second with 109. Tippecanoe Valley was seventh in the 10-team field with 43.

“To be honest, I’ve been telling the girls actually going back to last season that I thought we were contenders for a TRC championship and maybe a sectional championship,” Helt said. “But what ended up happening was we ran into a gauntlet of injuries, and I really thought they were going to knock us out of contention, and I was thinking maybe a third-place finish would be realistic where we were. But they came in and everybody who needed to perform performed, and we had some breaks, and some things didn’t go well for our competitors. I was pleased with the results.”

The boys meet was closer, but the Zebras prevailed there too with 101 points, 10 more than runner-up Manchester. Valley was fourth with 82.

“We’ve definitely put in a lot of hard work,” junior Zach Pickens said, cradling the trophy. “Everybody on the team put in a points. I don’t think it was one performance from one guy. It really was a team effort.”

Individual champions included Rochester’s Madilyn Calloway, Zoe Seward and Kenzie Bradley in the girls meet and Rochester’s Marshall Fishback and Valley’s Dawson Perkins in the boys meet.


Calloway, a two-time state qualifier in cross-country in the fall, had perhaps her greatest day on the track at Maconaquah. She won the 800 meters in 2:33.56 and the 1,600 in 5:36.70, and she also ran the anchor leg on the victorious 4 x 800 relay, which won in 10:58.25.

Seward won the 3,200 meters in 12:21.14, breaking off in the second half of the race. Only Manchester’s Josie Briner and Valley’s Chesnee Miller finished within 30 seconds of her.

Seward was also second behind Calloway in the 1,600 – the RHS duo was almost 200 meters clear of any competition over the final lap – and also ran a leg on the victorious 4 x 800 relay.

The other Rochester individual champion was Kenzie Bradley, who accelerated past Northfield freshman Hannah Holmes to win the 100 meters. She ran a 13.58 into a strong head wind.

“Hard,” Bradley said. “It’s definitely hard. I’ve definitely been working at it for a long time, so it feels great to accomplish it. … Mrs. Wachtmann definitely helps me with my starts and my blocks, which is super important for me, which I think definitely helped me win the 100, and then Nile helps me with my form and my finishes, so I think it all came together really well.”

But just as Rochester had five champions, they also scored points in every event but the high jump. That helped them beat a Manchester team that beat them earlier in the season in a three-way dual with Wabash on April 13.

Macie Nelson took second in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and also took sixth in the pole vault. Emily Basham was third in the grueling 300 hurdles. Savanah Eccles was seventh in the 100, and Lilly Watson was seventh in the 200. Isabel Dunwoody was sixth in the 400. Araceli Ochoa was third in the 800. Elena Bode was fourth in the 3,200.

In the field events, Burkett, less than three months removed from meniscus surgery, was third in the long jump and sophomore Madalyn Brouyette was sixth. Kennedy Jackson was fourth in the discus and second in the shot put.

Nelson, a sophomore, accounted for 19 points in individual events after never scoring in a conference or sectional meet before. Basham, Eccles, Watson, Dunwoody, Ochoa, Bode, Brouyette, Jackson and Leslie had never contributed so much in such a big meet.

Senior Sidney Wagner, a Trine basketball recruit, was Valley’s top scorer, accounting for 17.5 points while taking third in the 400 in 1:06.72, third in the pole vault with a clearance of 7-6 and a tie for third in the high jump with a clearance of 4-6.

Freshmen Ava Smith and Miller also scored in multiple individual events. Smith took fifth in the 200 and tied for eighth in the high jump. Miller placed third in the 3,200 meters and fourth in the long jump.

Miller later was transported to a local emergency room after suffering a gash on her leg in a freak accident after tripping over a metal cart in the infield after running a leg in the 4 x 400 relay. Coach Jenny Moriarty said the wound would require stitches.

Freshman Erika Henderson was eighth in the 100 hurdles, and Chloe Shepherd was fifth in the discus.


Marshall Fishback was the only Zebra to win an individual title when he won the shot put with a toss of 48-7. He also was third in the discus with a throw of 134-1.

It continues a banner year for Fishback in multiple sports. He was also the TRC champ in wrestling at 285 pounds back in January.

He calls the footwork involved in the discus and shot put “completely different.” He came out for track for the first time in the eighth grade.

He said he comes into the weight room and lifts before school. He said it gives him energy throughout the school day.

Shaffer is filling in for Ken Hughes, who is skipping the season due to an undisclosed health matter. He said Shaffer excels at detecting flaws in his form through analyzing video.

“When we didn’t have a coach, I was throwing 35s (in the shot put), and he came, and in the discus, I was throwing like 100s, and he came in and ever since then, I’ve been able to increase every day in practice, every rep,” Fishback said. “If I do something wrong, he lets me know what I need to fix. He’s been a tremendous help.”

While Fishback was the lone individual champion, the event that might have symbolized the night was the 800, where R.J. Keranko, a sophomore, outhustled a fading Jarrett Wilson, a senior, of Wabash to the line for second place in the 800 meters. Keranko was also sixth in the 400.

Pickens was second in the 200 and third in the 400. He was also a part of the 4 x 400 relay which took third.

“Mr. Wachtmann, I train with him every day,” Pickens said. “He’s got hard workouts, and so have other people. Everybody puts in a lot of grit and a lot of hard work into practice. It really makes a difference.”

Peyton Hiatt was fourth in the 800 and fifth in the 1,600.

Braxton Jimenez was fourth in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the 110 hurdles.

Chris Rohr was fifth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600.

Zak Daake was seventh in the 100 and fourth in the pole vault.

Dustin Siebert lost his showdown with Maconaquah’s Cory Bockover in the pole vault on the fewer-misses tiebreaker, but Siebert’s vault of 11-0 was good for second.

Dylan Steininger was sixth in the 3,200 meters.

Braxton Mencias was seventh in the long jump after putting a mark of 19-0 ¾ in the dirt.

They were also sixth in the 4 x 100 relay, third in the 4 x 400 relay and second in the 4 x 800 relay.

“With the guys, they’ve been coming on,” Helt said. “They started off not a very impressive group. And they got better and better and better each week. And we’ve had a really tough schedule, and I think that prepared the kids to come in here and fight. We were at LaPorte a couple weeks ago with some big schools and Lime City (a meet at Huntington North) last week with a lot of the Fort Wayne schools. They were well-seasoned, they were ready, and they all did their jobs tonight.”

Valley scored 39 of their 82 points in the field events. Perkins, who jumped 6-4 in a downpour at Rochester three days earlier, won with a clearance of 5-10 this time.

Given that he was also running a leg in the 4 x 400 relay, the long night’s schedule made it hard to tell if Perkins had one of his better nights, according to Moriarty.

“It’s kind of hard to say because they were so far behind, and he just stopped after he knew he won,” Moriarty said. “He just stopped after he knew he won it. I don’t think they got done with the high jump until we were in the two-mile (3,200). I mean, it would’ve been, but he just said, ‘Hey, I’m done.’ He wanted to be ready for the four by four.”

Wade Melanson and Dalton Alber went 2-3 in the shot put, and Braden Shepherd and Alek Mikel went 2-3 in the long jump.

Melanson was also fourth in the discus. Mikel was also sixth in the pole vault. Freshman Eric Burke was sixth in the high jump.

On the track, the top scorer was Rex Kirchenstien, who did not improve on his school-record times that he set in an earlier meet against Culver Academy and Caston but who ran a 12.08 and a 23.88 in the 100 and 200 to finish second and third, respectively, in those events.

Jamasyn Virgil was also sixth in the 200. Mikel was eighth in the 400. Chase Miller was eighth in the 800.

The night ended with both Rochester teams taking separate team photos with their respective trophies on the track before combining for an even bigger photo at 12:15 a.m. on the track.

Then it was time to go home after a long night of almost seven hours at the track.

It was time for some needed rest. After all, some of them had the SAT at 9 a.m.

GIRLS RESULTS: Rochester 140.5, Manchester 109, Wabash 87.5, Southwood 81.5, Maconaquah 67.5, Northfield 48, Tippecanoe Valley 43, Peru 28, North Miami 10, Whitko 5

Scoring on 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for all events

All TRC champions plus all Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley scorers

100 m

1. Kenzie Bradley (RHS) – 13.58 seconds, 7. Savanah Eccles (RHS) – 14.60

200 m

1. Holmes (NF) – 27.79 seconds, 4. Kenzie Bradley (RHS) – 29.52, 5. Ava Smith (TV) – 29.65, 7. Lilly Watson (RHS) – 29.75

400 m

1. Kerr (MAN) – 1:03.87, 3. Sidney Wagner (TV) – 1:06.72, 6. Isabel Dunwoody (RHS) – 1:09.26

800 m

1. Madilyn Calloway (RHS) – 2:33.56, 3. Araceli Ochoa (RHS) – 2:46.47

1,600 m

1. Madilyn Calloway (RHS) – 5:36.70, 2. Zoe Seward (RHS) – 5:42.47

3,200 m

1. Zoe Seward (RHS) – 12:21.14, 3. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 12:50.54, 4. Elena Bode (RHS) – 13:22.57

100 m hurdles

1. Ball (SW) – 17.87 seconds, 2. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 18.67, 8. Erika Henderson (TV) – 19.94

300 m hurdles

1. Ball (SW) – 52.58 seconds, 2. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 54.83, 3. Emily Basham (RHS) – 55.03

4 x 100 m relay

1. Manchester (Garriott, Creager, Kerr, Auler) – 53.31 seconds, 5. Rochester (Lilly Watson, Savanah Eccles, Kenzie Bradley, Kami Burkett) – 55.46, 8. Valley (Molly Moriarty, Sidney Wagner, Mallory Durkes, Ava Smith) – 57.26

4 x 400 m relay

1. Northfield (Miller, Hoover, Haupert, Holmes) – 4:35.48, 5. Rochester (Macie Nelson, Isabel Dunwoody, Araceli Ochoa, Madilyn Calloway) – 4:42.47

4 x 800 m relay

1. Rochester (Araceli Ochoa, Elena Bode, Zoe Seward, Madilyn Calloway) – 10:58.25, 5. Valley (Ella Myers, Delaney Wagoner, Maria Henderson, Chesnee Miller) – 11:54.40

Long jump

1. Garriott (MAN) – 15-9, 3. Kami Burkett (RHS) – 15-5 ¾, 4. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 15-5 ½, 6. Madalyn Brouyette (RHS) – 14-3 ¾

High jump

1. Ball (SW) – 5-0, t-3. Sidney Wagner (TV) – 4-6, t-8. Ava Smith (TV) – 4-2


1. Wyatt (WAB) – 115-8, 4. Kennedy Jackson (RHS) – 101-0, 5. Chloe Shepherd (TV) – 99-3

Shot put

1. Wyatt (WAB) – 35-11 ½, 2. Kennedy Jackson (RHS) – 34-7 ¾

Pole vault

1. Roesler (MAC) – 9-0, 3. Sidney Wagner (TV) – 7-6, t-4. Mackie Leslie (RHS) – 6-6, 6. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 6-0

BOYS RESULTS: Rochester 101, Manchester 91, Wabash 88, Tippecanoe Valley 82, Peru 71, Southwood 62, Maconaquah 58, Northfield 29, Whitko 25, North Miami 14

Scoring on 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for all events

All TRC champions plus all Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley scorers

100 m

1. Cummins (MAN) – 11.94 seconds, 2. Rex Kirchenstien (TV) – 12.08, 7. Zak Daake (RHS) – 12.34

200 m

1. Winer (SW) – 23.68 seconds, 2. Zach Pickens (RHS) – 23.80, 3. Rex Kirchenstien (TV) – 23.88, 6. Jamasyn Virgil (TV) – 24.55

400 m

1. Nolan Kelly (MAC) – 50.91 seconds, 3. Zach Pickens (RHS) – 52.31, 6. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 54.31, 8. Alek Mikel (TV) – 56.54

800 m

1. Reed (WAB) – 2:03.99, 2. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 2:06.48, 4. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 2:10.03, 8. Chase Miller (TV) – 2:16.64

1,600 m

1. Sweet (SW) – 4:46.70, 5. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 4:56.93, 8. Chris Rohr (RHS) – 5:01.00

3,200 m

1. Sweet (SW) – 10:21.36, 5. Chris Rohr (RHS) – 10:45.37, 6. Dylan Steininger (RHS) – 10:55.14

110 m hurdles

1. Lincoln (MAN) – 16.37 seconds, 5. Braxton Jimenez (RHS) – 18.44

300 m hurdles

1. Lincoln (MAN) – 41.79 seconds, 4. Braxton Jimenez (RHS) – 45.15

4 x 100 m relay

1. Peru (Masters, Sailors, Adejokun, Scarlett) – 45.31 seconds, 3. Valley (Braden Shepherd, Jamasyn Virgil, Wade Jones, Rex Kirchenstien) – 45.85, 6. RHS (Braxton Mencias, Jarret Regan, D.J. Basham, Zak Daake) – 48.11

4 x 400 m relay

1. Wabash (Stout, Fuchs, McDougle, Reed) – 3:37.23, 3. Rochester (Zach Pickens, R.J. Keranko, Peyton Hiatt, Kaiden Towell) – 3:40.69, 5. Valley (Wade Jones, Dawson Perkins, Rex Kirchenstien, Alek Mikel) – 3:45.01

4 x 800 m relay

1. Wabash (Wilson, Ford, Guenin-Hodson, Reed) – 8:49.59, 2. Rochester (Peyton Hiatt, Dylan Steininger, Chris Rohr, R.J. Keranko) – 8:52.35, 5. Valley (Chase Miller, Jaxon Seaney, Brady Rodgers, Matthew Howes) – 9:21.81

Long jump

1. Hanley (NM) – 20-11 ½, 2. Braden Shepherd (TV) – 20-7 ½, 3. Alek Mikel (TV) – 20-5 ½, 7. Braxton Mencias (RHS) – 19-0 ¾

High jump

1. Dawson Perkins (TV) – 5-10, 6. Eric Burke (TV) – 5-4


1. Howard (WHI) – 150-5, 3. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 134-1, 4. Wade Melanson (TV) – 133-5

Shot put

1. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 48-7, 2. Wade Melanson (TV) – 47-9, 3. Dalton Alber (TV) – 44-10 ½

Pole vault

1. Bockover (MAC) – 11-0, 2. Dustin Siebert (RHS) – 11-0, 4. Zak Daake (RHS) – 9-6, 6. Alek Mikel (TV) – 8-6

The Rochester girls track team won the Three Rivers Conference title at Maconaquah Friday. Led by individual champions Madilyn Calloway (800, 1,600), Zoe Seward (3,200), Kenzie Bradley (100, holding the trophy) and the 4 x 800 relay team, Rochester scored 140.5 points, 31.5 points more than runner-up Manchester.

The Rochester boys track team won the Three Rivers Conference title at Maconaquah Friday. Led by shot put champion Marshall Fishback, Rochester scored 101 points, 10 more than runner-up Manchester.

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