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West Lafayette boys track wins sectional crown
June 3, 2014Lafayette Jefferson High School
William Mbongo and Brandon Watt made sure to enjoy the moment, flashing smiles and flexing their biceps as parents and friends snapped photos.
Each has hoisted a sectional championship trophy in different sports. Thursday night, though, was extra special for the two West Lafayette seniors.
For the first time since 2001, the Red Devils won the boys track and field sectional and in the process ended Lafayette Jeff's quest for a 10th straight.
West Lafayette won its first boys track sectional title since 2001.
"It's quite a bit of responsibility being a senior on this team," Mbongo said. "Coach expects you to be a good performer, if not a great one, and also a role model for your teammates. I am proud of myself and Brandon and all the seniors for helping us win this one."
The Bronchos finished behind West Lafayette 144-123 but had a pair of record-breaking performances at Scheumann Stadium.
Mbongo finished second in the 110 high hurdles, but was disqualified. The loss of eight points could've been crucial in a meet where WL coach Lane Custer had the Red Devils as two-point favorites coming in.
"It was tight. When a Jeff kid passes a West Side kid, it is a four-point swing. Our DQ in the high hurdles was eight points," Custer said. "During the meet, you don't know what others are doing. You only know where you've gained points or where you lost points. It is a pretty crazy way to make a living, but it is exciting."
Defending state 100-meter champion Matt Johnson broke his own sectional record in the event, winning in 10.59 seconds. Tim Wilson edged Mbongo in the 300 hurdles. Both made the state standard time, but Wilson's 38.29-second mark also broke Lafayette Jeff graduate Tyyon Neal's sectional mark from 2005.
Wilson said he was chasing the school record but fell just short, which serves as motivation to continue his improvement for the regional.
"I wanted to break the school record and I got close. I just keep getting closer and closer, and now I am going to have to go harder in regionals," Wilson said.
Jeff and West Side each won five events, but the meet shifted after a come-from-behind victory in the 800 by WL's Jake Cohen. Cohen was fifth entering the final 200 meters before kicking into overdrive and bringing Frankfort's Logan Crum with him. Cohen edged Crum at the line in 1:58.98. Prior to the 800, Jeff and West Lafayette were tied at 78 through eight events.
"That was amazing watching him run," said Watt, who won the 400 in 50 seconds. "He is such a hard worker. I am glad he got that win, because he wanted it so bad."
Cohen's win and runner-up finish to Evan Johnson in the 1,600 helped WL score big points in the distance events. Cooper Williams and Dominic Patacsil crossed the finish line side by side in the 3,200. Williams was awarded the victory, helping the Red Devils match Jeff with a meet-high five event winners.
Aside from Johnson and Wilson, who also won the 110 high hurdles, the Bronchos were victorious in the 200, where DeMarques Jones nipped Johnson by .01 second, and with the 3,200 relay team of Cayce Griffin, Shane Shipley, Daniel Feltis and Preston Forestal.
North Montgomery's Brayden Smith was a double event winner, taking the shot put (49-11) and discus (143-9). Clinton County was represented with two champions: Clinton Prairie's Dallas Miller (14-6 in pole vault) and Clinton Central's 1,600 relay team of Tyler Burns, Andrew Crider, Jordan Petty and Adam Miller. Southmont's Jason Christensen won the high jump, clearing 6-5 to outduel Wilson.
Clinton Central benefited in the 1,600 relay when McCutcheon was leading and dropped the baton on a handoff exchange. The Mavericks were winners in the 400 relay when Donnie Blount was able to hold off a hard-charging Johnson in the last leg to earn the win along with John Bonaguro, Brett Davis and Salvador Salazar.