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  • Val T.

Reaching new heights: Valley’s Perkins wins regional high jump, joins teammate Melanson at state

Updated: May 28, 2022

Fishback 6th in shot put, Keranko breaks 2 minutes in 800 for Zebras


Sports Editor, RTC

GOSHEN — At the end of the high jump competition at the Goshen boys track regional Thursday, it was just Dawson Perkins and the bar.

Dawson Perkins

The bar won this round, but they will have another date next week in Bloomington at the IHSAA state finals.

Perkins won his second consecutive regional title with a winning jump of 6-6, and after he won, he passed on 6-7 and 6-8 and asked the bar to be raised to 6-9.

He missed on three attempts at breaking his own school record of 6-8 ¼, but he will be back next week at state. He finished seventh at state last year.

Perkins will have company at state after fellow senior Wade Melanson finished third in the shot put. Melanson’s third throw of the preliminary round sailed 54-0 ½, and none of his competitors dethroned him from his perch.

Wade Melanson

NorthWood’s Brevin Miller won with a throw of 54-11 ½, and Elkhart’s Ty’shaun Williams was second at 54-6 ½.

Penn won the regional with 97.5 points. Mishawaka was second with 44. Valley was 11th with 25 points, and Rochester tied for 25th with four points among the 30 teams that scored.

Pioneer did not have a scoring athlete.

The top three finishers or those meeting a difficult qualifying state standard advanced to state, which will be held at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington on June 4. There were no athletes who finished outside the top three but advanced by meeting this standard at Goshen.

The Goshen regional covers 49 schools.


Of Rochester’s four points, three came from Marshall Fishback in the shot put, and the other came from R.J. Keranko in the 800 meters.

Fishback’s first throw in the preliminary round sailed 48-10, and his second looked nearly identical and traveled 48-10 ¼. That was over a foot further than his sectional throw of 47-9 and led to a sixth-place finish.

Keranko made up late ground in the 800 and took eighth in 1:59.26, becoming the first Zebra to break two minutes in the 800 since Wesley Meyer won the regional with a 1:56.80 in 2016.

The other Rochester distance runners were Peyton Hiatt, who ran a personal-best 4:39.97 and made a late charge to finish 12th; and Chris Rohr, who trimmed nearly 11 seconds off his sectional time in the 3,200 and placed 15th in 10:34.79.

While the distance runners all showed improvement from sectionals, a hamstring injury to senior Zach Pickens shook the core of sprinters. Pickens was second at the sectional in the 400 meters in 51.57 seconds, but a torn hamstring earlier in the week ended his prep track career.

Pickens was also a part of the 4 x 400 relay team that qualified for the regional. Freshman Maddox Jewell filled in to join Hiatt, Keranko and Layne Backus, and that group finished 16th in 3:44.22.

Jewell also filled in for a suspended athlete in the 4 x 100 relay and helped that team to a 16th place finish in 45.88 seconds.

The 4 x 800 relay consisting of Dylan Steininger, Keranko, Hiatt and Rohr was 15th in 9:13.11.

In addition to his shot put showing, Fishback was also 12th in the discus with a throw of 131-4.

Other field event athletes included Braxton Mencias, who followed his sectional win in the long jump with a 15th-place performance in 18-8 ¾; and Dustin Siebert, who did not clear his opening height in the pole vault.

Tippecanoe Valley

Perkins won last year’s regional with a jump of 6-3, but the IU East recruit ended any drama when he cleared the state qualifying standard of 6-5. That ended a five-way duel between eventual runner-up Trey Thomas of Mishawaka, third-place co-finishers Kolby Haecker of Manchester and A’Marion Conyers of Northwestern and fifth-place finisher Matt Ross of Peru.

They all went 6-4 but could not keep up with Perkins.

Perkins then cleared 6-6. At that point, he wanted the bar at 6-9.

Perkins’ sophomore teammate Eric Burks tied for 15th with a jump of 5-8.

Melanson, an Indiana Wesleyan football recruit, studied videos of two-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Crouser and applied them to his own technique. With additional help from coach Rick Shepherd, Melanson consistently powered the heavy globe to the farthest reaches of the pit. In fact, his second and third best throws would have gotten him to state too.

Melanson also took 15th in the discus with a throw of 125-4.

The nearest miss was the 4 x 100 relay that consisted of Caleb Petgen, Perkins, Rex Kirchenstien and Wade Jones. One week after setting the school record of 43.50 in winning the sectional, they ran a 43.51 and crossed the finish line about simultaneously with Elkhart.

After studying the video, Elkhart, who was also clocked in 43.51, was given third place and the state berth.

A state callback could be in play. Six teams qualified for last year’s state finals with slower times than this year’s Valley team.

Minutes after the relay, Kirchenstien ran the 400 and placed 10th in 52.95 seconds. Kirchenstien had won the event in 50.96 seconds.

Meanwhile, Jones qualified fifth and finished fifth in the 200. After running his heat time in 22.69 seconds, he slingshotted himself off the curve and made up ground in the final to run a 22.52. The sophomore missed making state by 0.19 seconds.


Freshman Leighton Dodt cut over seven seconds from his sectional time in the 3,200 meters and placed 14th in 10:34.66, just beating Rochester’s Rohr by a head.

Sophomore and Hoosier North 800 meters champ Jackson Baker ran a 2:01.47 and finished in 10th this time.

Baker and Dodt also joined Jack Cooper and Carson Meyer on the 4 x 800 relay team that took 14th in 9:06.14.

Sophomore Cayden Hill did not clear his opening height in the high jump.

Goshen boys track regional results: 1. Penn 97.5, 2. Mishawaka 44, 3. Manchester 39.5, 4. Northridge 39, 5. Columbia City 38, 11. Tippecanoe Valley 25, t-25. Rochester 4, Pioneer 0

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

State qualifiers (top three) plus all Rochester, Valley and Pioneer athletes

100 m

1. Lawrence (Kokomo) – 10.76 seconds, 2. Hardrict (Penn) – 10.83, 3. Thomas (Concord) – 11.02

200 m

1. Lawrence (Kokomo) – 21.85 seconds, 2. Brooks (Madison-Grant) – 22.23, 3. Bourdier (Culver Academy) – 22.33, 5. Wade Jones (TV) – 22.52

400 m

1. Kelly (Maconaquah) – 49.62 seconds, 2. Johnson (Warsaw) – 50.28, 3. Taylor (SB Riley) – 50.86, 10. Rex Kirchenstien (TV) – 52.95, INJ. Zach Pickens (RHS)

800 m

1. Miller (Northridge) – 1:55.61, 2. Kaser (Penn) – 1:55.63, 3. Bradshaw (Western) – 1:55.84, 8. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 1:59.26, 10. Jackson Baker (PIO) – 2:01.47

1,600 m

1. Long (Tipton) – 4:20.21, 2. Roberts (Concord) – 4:20.83, 3. Hall (Columbia City) – 4:21.29, 12. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 4:39.97

3,200 m

1. Moore (Northridge) – 9:18.23, 2. Hall (Columbia City) – 9:23.74, 3. Claxton (Goshen) – 9:28.38, 14. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 10:34.66, 15. Chris Rohr (RHS) – 10:34.79

110 m hurdles

1. Lincoln (Manchester) – 14.94 seconds, 2. Jewett (Mishawaka) – 14.96, 3. Kaufhold (SB St. Joe) – 15.12

300 m hurdles

1. Lincoln (Manchester) – 39.03 seconds, 2. Floria (Northridge) – 40.13, 3. McClinton (Kokomo) – 41.18

4 x 100 m relay

1. Penn – 42.71 seconds, 2. Mishawaka – 43.35, 3. Elkhart – 43.51, 4. Valley (Caleb Petgen, Dawson Perkins, Rex Kirchenstien, Wade Jones) – 43.51, 16. Rochester (Braxton Mencias,Jarret Regan, Maddox Jewell, Layne Backus) – 45.88

4 x 400 m relay

1. Manchester – 3:25.55, 2. Warsaw – 3:28.38, 3. Penn – 3:29.37, 16. Rochester (Layne Backus, Peyton Hiatt, R.J. Kernako, Maddox Jewell) – 3:44.22

4 x 800 m relay

1. Penn – 7:57.27, 2. Goshen – 8:01.75, 3. Columbia City – 8:06.49, 14. Pioneer (Jackson Baker, Leighton Dodt, Ian Kitchell, Carson Meyer) – 9:06.14, 15. Rochester (Dylan Steininger, R.J. Keranko, Peyton Hiatt, Chris Rohr) – 9:13.11

Long jump

1. Nabieu (SB Riley) – 21-6 ½, 2. Woods (Mishawaka) – 21-2 ¼, 3. Ross (Peru) – 21-0, 15. Braxton Mencias (RHS) – 18-8 ¾

High jump

1. Dawson Perkins (TV) – 6-6, 2. Thomas (Mishawaka) – 6-4, 3. Haecker (Manchester) – 6-4, t-15. Eric Burke (TV) – 5-10, DNP. Cayden Hill (PIO)


1. Paquette (Penn) – 166-11, 2. Williams (Elkhart) – 157-9, 3. Miller (NorthWood) – 152-1, 12. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 131-4, 15. Wade Melanson (TV) – 125-4

Shot put

1. Miller (NorthWood) – 54-11 ½, 2. Williams (Elkhart) – 54-6 ½, 3. Wade Melanson (TV) – 54-0 ½, 6. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 48-10 ¼

Pole vault

1. Bourdier (Culver Academy) – 14-6, 2. Litherland (Columbia City) – 14-0, 3. Hulsey (LaVille) – 13-0, DNP. Dustin Siebert (RHS)

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