FORT WAYNE – Athletes were racing just as much to get back into their warm-ups and sweatshirts as they were trying to win their events at Saturdays North Side Relays.
Workers put buckets behind the runners at the finish line, so they could immediately get relief from the blustery conditions at the 62nd annual track and field event.
But the ones that seemed to be the least miserable came out on top as Wayne won its first North Side Relays team championship since winning back-to-back titles in 1996-97, outdistancing defending champion Indianapolis North Central and Bishop Dwenger on Saturday.
The No. 12 Generals had 120 points, while the Panthers had 108. The Saints were right behind with 107. Homestead finished fourth with 97, Huntington North was fifth with 78, and Northrop and Snider tied for sixth with 74.
We are probably a little unique because our boys are accustomed to running in this weather, Wayne coach Tom Hogan said. We have them outside almost every day in this weather. Very seldom are we inside because they get hurt more inside with the harder surfaces. Everybody would run better in the warmer weather, but we dont use weather as an excuse. We just get out here and do the work.
The temperature hovered around 40 degrees during the event, but a stiff breeze produced a wind chill factor that made it feel like late fall or early winter, complete with the occasional sleet shower. Unfortunately, the conditions have been a constant for spring sport teams, leaving little time for games, meets, matches and even practices.
In this kind of weather, you have to make sure if you are not doing a race you dont sit around, you have to do something so you dont pull a muscle, Wayne senior Carrington Robinson said. Thats the last thing you want.
Robinson was the high point winner for the sprints after winning the B 110-meter hurdles, while also winning the A long jump and finishing fourth in the A high jump.
I was a little shocked, but I knew we could do it, Robinson said of winning the team title. I am really happy with our performances. Everybody came to compete. We have small numbers, but we did what we have to do.
The Generals also got first-place finishes from Devon Stone (A, 110, 300 hurdles) and Shamarcus Ford (A, 100) and the B 400 and 1,600 and A sprint medley relays.
I expected this out of them (Stone, Ford, Robinson); they have been showing great leadership, Hogan said. But they took it to another level today with the weather and what have you.
We dont have many people. This is all we got, so I am really proud of them. I did not expect to win the North Side Relays. On paper I thought Homestead looked tough.
Other high point winners were Homesteads Brayden Law for the distance events and Jay Countys Tyler Back for the field events.
Law won the A 3,200, and Back was first in the A shot put and B discus.