What a weekend in Columbus for the T-Bird boys track track team as Jamir Coleman, Mykale Rogers, Scott Willeke and Dimitri Floyd brought home the school’s first-ever team title and the school’s second championship of the year. Coleman led the way with three golds and a silver, only being kept from a clean sweep by his teammate Rogers who had to break a state record to do it. This was a team that had to battle through injuries from before the year even started, so having to work through a few obstacles on the weekend was no problem for this group as they got it done from the start of the competition.
It all started on Friday morning as Jamir Coleman and Mykale Rogers qualified for the finals in the 100, with Coleman running a PR and qualifying with the top time. Next came the 200, with Jamir again running a PR and qualifying with the second best time. Mykale qualified with the fifth best time in both events. Then Willeke and Floyd got involved, teaming up with Coleman and Rogers to run the top time in qualifying for the finals in the 4×2 relay. The first day was topped off with an epic battle in the long jump between the two top finishers from the previous year, teammates Mykale Rogers, the defending champ, and Jamir Coleman, the previous year’s runner-up. After Rogers opened up with a jump of 23′-1″, Coleman followed with his third PR of the day, jumping 23′-9″ and setting a mark that stood all the way until Mykale got ready for the final jump of his T-Bird career. After winning the long jump title both his sophomore and junior years on his final jump, Mykale did it again as he set the record he has been chasing for three years with a jump of 24′-5.5″. But the competition wasn’t over yet. As Jamir lined up for the final jump of his T-Bird career, still looking for his first individual title, he flew for what looked to be a length that might have done it, but he was called for a foul after barely stepping on the board and Rogers had his third consecutive long jump championship. And more importantly, the team had done all it could do to set itself up for a run at the title the following day.
(Pictures courtesy of The Lima News)
As championship day began, the only bit of unfinished business left for Jamir Coleman was winning that first individual title, and he took care of that in a hurry. Despite qualifying with the best time in the 100, the field still included the defending state champ, Levi Wyse from Archbold. But Jamir was not to be denied, winning his first individual gold with a time of 10.94. Adding in Mykale’s fifth-place finish, Coleman and Rogers had now combined to put 32 points on the board for the T-Birds.Now it was time for the entire team to get involved, and they did that in a big way. After breaking the state record, held by last year’s LCC team, at regionals the week before, they followed up that performance with a gold-medal winning run in the finals that brought the team total to 42 and firmly in first place. The only negative to the relay run was that Scott Willeke, who had qualified with the best time in state for the 800, fell on his shoulder while handing the baton to Dimitri Floyd and was unable to find the next gear when the 800 rolled around. He finished out of the points, but had already done his job leading off the relay win.
The final race of the day for the T-Birds brought about the coveted double for Jamir Coleman, who followed up his win in the 100 with another victory in the 200, again knocking off the defending state champ in a tight race to the wire. Jamir’s surge at the end supplied another ten points, bringing the total to an insurmountable 52 points and wrapping up the title for the T-Birds. Mykale Rogers finshed out of the points in the 100 after aggravating a back injury, but his long jump title and relay win had already helped create the winning margin.
Coach Nate Garlock thought that if everyone performed to their abilities a state title was within reach, but despite some injuries that held down the final total, it was an unbelievable performance from four athletes who brought home the title. But dealing with injuries started early for this team. Another aspect to this title that should be remembered is that two athletes, Darius West and Nick Taflinger, who were both a part of TWO state championship relay teams (4×1, 4×2) were unable to run this year because of injuries. With the help of those two runners and some better luck, the winning total may have been even higher. But winning the the first team track title in LCC history is good enough, and coming on the heels of the school’s second basketball title in March, it also marks the first time in school history with two state championships in the same year. Great job to the entire team and coaches, and congratulations for an accomplishment that will not be forgotten!