PORTAGE — Following Thursday’s boys track regional, Michigan City senior Ryan Stefanko and Justin Wozniak knew there were bigger fish to fry.
While Stefanko won the shot put and Wozniak the discus, the Wolves brutes shared the same sentiment in regards to how they felt about their throws, knowing there was work to be done.
“That’s not gonna get me where I need to be at state,” Stefanko said.
“That won’t get the job done (at state),” Wozniak added. “I’m not planning on throwing that.”
Stefanko is seeded seventh at state in the shot put following his regional throw of 55 feet, 5 1/4 inches and is a week removed from his personal best toss of 59-9 3/4 at sectionals, which would have him slotted as the second seed. Terre Haute South’s Jason Swarens holds the spot at 62-4 1/2.
Last year’s personal best throw of 59-3 1/2 earned Stefanko a fourth-place finish at state. The goal is not only another personal record, but a state title.
“I know I have 60-plus (feet) in me,” Stefanko said. “There’s still a little bit of motivation there from last year, for sure. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t come out with first.
“A first at state has been my goal all of high school. This is my year.”
Like his football counterpart, Wozniak also recorded a PR at sectionals with a 173-2. He’s seeded fifth at 167-7 as he hopes to best last year’s tenth-place finish. Penn’s Caden Paquette is the top seed at 177-4.
“The goal is to definitely PR, I think that’ll get the job done,” Wozniak said. “I definitely just wanna make everyone proud and want to PR one last time in high school. It’s only my second year of track so there’s really not too much of a true bittersweet feeling, but being a senior, that’ll definitely have some meaning.”
New Prairie senior Jacob Corbett was a double-winner last Thursday, but will only compete in the 3,200 meters. He intends to scratch in the 1,600 with Cathedral’s Cole Hocker a heavy favorite.
Corbett, who hadn’t been to state in his prior three years, credited his coaching and teammates for his rise this season. He’s seeded 14th in the 3,200 at 9:30.85.
“We switched up some workouts this year and the credit really goes to all those workouts and my guys pushing me through it,” Corbett said. “Not having made it for three years and then making it is awesome. I’m ready to go.”
La Porte senior Mitchell Gits is seeded right behind Corbett at 9:31.18 and like him, will be making his first state track meet apperance.
“State is its own little fire you have to push through,” Gits said. “I’ll try to put myself in a better spot and go out with a hurrah and if I die in the process, well, I’ll try not to, obviously, but I’m going to go to state as confident as I can be.”
“There’s been kind of a boost for me being a senior this year. I did really well in cross country and kind of just rode the momentum until now. It’s been hard work day by day that’s led up to this. I’m sure state will be crazy, but I’m ready for it.”
Also joining Gits are freshman Cole Raymond, who received a callback to join the field is seeded 21st in the mile, and senior high jumper Ryan Nelson. After not clearing 6-2 all season, Nelson cleared a personal best height of 6-4 1/2 to earn an automatic qualifying spot at the regional. He’s seeded 14th.
“I’m really looking forward to jumping at IU. I’ve seen they have just an amazing facility, but I’ve never been down there,” Nelson said. “Like at regionals, it really all comes down to it being my senior season, so I gotta go out with a bang. Hopefully I can notch another PR down there.”
When: Today, 2 p.m. (field events); 3:15, 3,200 relay; 4, trials; 5:15, finals
Where: Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex, Indiana University, Bloomington