MARION – Herb Widner might have to find room for a couple of tattoos.
The Bishop Dwenger boys track coach promised his team he would get a tattoo if it won the SAC title this year, which it did. He made the pledge again if it won a regional championship, which happened Thursday at Indiana Wesleyan.
The conference and regional titles are firsts in school history.
I guess we are ahead of the curve with this, Widner said of the regional title. It’s great for the school.
The Saints won the team title with 59 1/2 points, finishing ahead of Carroll’s 54.
Dwenger turned things around after finishing second to Carroll at last week’s North Side Sectional.
Lakeland was third with 46, while Marion and Homestead tied for fourth with 39.
It was the first time the regional meet was run at Indiana Wesleyan’s state-of-the-art track after years at Wayne.
It was a good meet, Widner said. Obviously we like it here.
Jared Schipper, the defending state champion in the pole vault, led the Saints with a first place in the pole vault (14 feet, 6 inches) and fourth in the long jump.
(Schipper) has been pretty consistent, although he did have a scare from that other pole vaulter, Widner said of Prairie Heights’ Zach Shepherd, who also cleared 14-6.
Dwenger got a 2-3 finish in the 800 with Jake Hursh and Greg Tippmann. In the shot put, Eric Cagnet was sixth and Nathan Niese was seventh. Cagnet was fourth in the discus.
The lone area double winner was North Side’s Tyvon Kelley, who won the 400 (48.58) and was the first leg on the winning 1,600 relay team (3:23.12).
I felt like I could have done better, Kelly said of the 400. For me, it wasn’t all about winning. It’s just about being one of the best in the state. I have something to prove.
Kelley ran on the state-champion 1,600 relay squad two years ago as a sophomore.
We have the potential, Kelley said of this year’s relay team. We just have to get everybody to do their best. As long as we can do that, we can at least be in the top three.
Blackhawk Christian’s Joel Shellabarger won the 110 hurdles in 14.89, a first for the fledgling track program.
I was close last year, so I was determined this time (to advance to state), Shellabarger said.
The program is in its fifth year of existence.
We are just getting started, and I think it is going to be strong for years to come, Shellabarger said.
Concordia’s Zach Panning won the 3,200, pulling away from Homestead’s Brayden Law and DeKalb’s Mark Beckmann with two laps left.
The three ran together in a pack ahead of the rest of the runners for the first six laps before Panning took over and won in 9:12.52.
Actually it was the opposite of what I was supposed to do, Panning said. I was supposed to take it out (and set the pace), but they went out so fast. I just tucked in there. I just stayed there until it was time to go.
I knew those two would be the ones up there to begin with that I would be running with. I just stayed with them, and it worked out.
Law finished second, and Beckmann was third.
Homestead won the 3,200 relay in a school-record 7:55.90, while the Spartans’ Jordan Davis won the 300 hurdles (38.86).
Other area winners were South Side’s Shaton Harris (200, 22.02), Southern Wells’ Grant Harris (discus, 158-6) and West Noble’s Brandon Arnold (1,600, 4:20.28).