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  • Val T.

Jones wins 100, 200, but Valley falls to NorthWood in track opener


Sports Editor, RTC

AKRON — Wade Melanson, Dawson Perkins and Rex Kirchenstien have graduated, which leaves Wade Jones without the role models he once had, but that has not slowed the Tippecanoe Valley junior.

Jones won the 100 and 200 meter races, and he anchored the victorious 4 x 400 relay win with a stellar final lap, but NorthWood went on to win 76-38 at Smith-Bibler Memorial Field Home of Death Valley Football Tuesday in the track season opener under partly sunny, chilly conditions with temperatures in the 40s.

In the girls meet, NorthWood won 107-6.

Jones finished 24th at state in the 200 last year and was also a regional qualifier in the 100. He started his day by winning the 100 in 11.12 seconds. He then won the 200 in 22.89 seconds, beating the field by more than 1.3 seconds.

He then erased a 10-meter deficit in the last lap of the 4 x 400 relay.

“He’s creeping up on midseason (form) already,” Valley coach Jenny Moriarty said. “He’s put in a lot of work. It’s just an adjustment. We lost a lot of seniors last year, and he had a lot of mentors and kids he worked out with, and it’s an adjustment for him, but this group of kids we have that are young are pushing him too.

“He’s very focused. I’m excited where he’s starting out right now. Come May, it will be interesting where he’s at.”

Other Valley individual event winners included Eric Burke, who inherits the role of Valley’s top high jumper from seventh-place state finisher Perkins and won with a leap of 5-8; Philip Smith, who hurled the discus 104-2, and Dalton Alber, who won the shot put with a throw of 42-1.

“Phil was a surprise, a great surprise,” Moriarty said. “I like that. Dalton, we were expecting that from him, and then Cameron Mason, we literally kind of just got back. So he’s just getting back into the swing of things from his surgery from football. So very pleasant surprise there.

“Because our field events, our boys have always done well, and I was wondering how this season would go, and it’s a good start. I like it, and we took high jump also. Eric Burke won that.”

In the girls meet, Chesnee Miller led the senior-less Lady Vikings by accounting for four of the team’s six points. She was second in the 800 meters in 2:38.34 and third in the 1,600 in 5:42.72.

The other points came from Ava Smith, who was third in the 400 in 1:06.11, and Kelsey Cox, a newcomer to track who took third in the shot put with a throw of 24-10.

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