Whiteland senior Will Jefferson pulled off an impressive triple in the distance races at the Mid-State Conference meet.
“He’s a hard worker and he’s a once-in-a-generation type kid to coach, so he’s special,” Warriors boys and girls track coach Brandon Bangel said.
Jefferson captured the 1,600 meters in 4:35.03, the 800 in 1:58.24 and the 3,200 in 9:55.82 as the Warrior boys placed second to host Plainfield on a chilly, wet Tuesday night. The Quakers won with 148.5 points and Whiteland had 124. Plainfield edged the Whiteland girls, 133-131.
“Unfortunately the girls came up three points short,” Bangel said. “We were ahead going into the last (4×400) relay, and Plainfield was second and we were fifth. Just couldn’t quite close the deal. We did the best we could. We battled from injuries and couple other things. The girls did a great job. We were in a position to win it and at the end that’s what you hope for, just didn’t quite have enough depth in that 4×400 to finish.”
Jefferson faced his toughest challenge in the 800 from Mooresville’s Mason Wolfe, who finished second in 1:58.75.
“He was able to cruise the mile and not spend too much energy,” Bangel said. “He did a great job, just ran hard enough to win the 800 and was able to come back and dominate the two miles.
Jefferson said it wasn’t easy.
“The 800 killed me, but I got fortunate that I felt fresh enough to still run the two-mile time,” he said. “I hung with the top guys for the first mile and then put on the burners in the second mile.”
The Liberty University-bound Jefferson won the 1,600 and 3,200 as a sophomore. The 2020 track season was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think I’m great shape,” he said. “I’m looking forward to sectional. Good competition in our sectional, it should be fun.”
Others boys winners for Whiteland were senior Tristan Thomas in the long jump (20 feet, 2 inches) and sophomore Tayton Schakel in the discus (152-6).
Whiteland senior Gabi Allen captured the 100-meter hurdles in 15.77 seconds and the 200 meters in 25.78 seconds. She was on the winning 4×100 relay team (51.09) and placed second in the 100 (12.64 seconds).
“Gabrielle has continued to get better and she’s shown how good she is as a sprinter and hurdler, which you don’t see very often,” Bangel said.
Given the conditions, Allen said she was pleased with her times.
“It’s cold and windy so it was definitely more difficult,” she said. “I’ve been really practicing hard with Coach Bangel and we’ve been really drilling. I hope I can keep running how I’ve been running.”
Allen said she was happy overall with the team.
“Everyone did what they needed to do and it just came down to that last relay,” Allen said.
Junior Drew Mallory was also a double winner for the Whiteland girls, capturing the shot put with a throw of 37-11 and taking the discus in 132-11.
“I was comfortable even though it’s kind of chilly,” said Mallory, who said she is making strides after missing last season.
Franklin girls winners include senior Jaclyn Boardman in pole vault (10-3), Brooke Coffman in the high jump (5-4) and Lillian Lacy in the 3,200 (11:30.11).
Greenwood junior Dylan Mayhew was a winner in the boys shot put with a toss of 50-1.