Senior Aiden Woods of Warsaw makes his way over the hurdles during the 110 Meter Hurdles race.
Senior Aiden Woods of Warsaw makes his way over the hurdles during the 110 Meter Hurdles race.
WARSAW – The 2022 Max Truex Invitational is a meet honoring the Warsaw native who was an Olympian runner and record holder formatted to evaluate the team depth of the customary eight or nine competing squads. Most of these squads make deep runs at regional and state level.

The Carmel Greyhounds, a squad whose depth is a byproduct of its state-leading 5,300-student enrollment, made what they likely view a worthwhile trip to the Lake City capturing the team title with 125 points.

The Greyhounds were followed by Penn (101), and Carroll (93). The host Warsaw Tigers finished fourth with 78 team points.

Event placement is awarded by the combined times of two individuals in each event. The even greater testimony to a team’s depth is putting together two teams in each conventional relay event among the 400-, 1600-, and 3200- meter relay quartets.

Carmel captured first-place in ten events: the 100-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles, 800-meter run, 3200-meter run, both throwing events, and three relays (400m, 1600m, 3200m).

This year’s runner-up, Penn, won the 2021 invitational in the same dominant fashion, but the addition of Carmel to the field reduced Penn’s 2022 gold medal performance to two events: a tie for first with Homestead in the high jump, and the pole vault.

Berrien Springs (100-meter dash), Carroll (400-meter dash), Valparaiso (1600 meter run), along with Warsaw (long jump) were the only teams with gold-medal finishes last night,

The Tigers’ lone first place finish in the long jump was the combined efforts of Ashton Wade (19’3.5”) and Julius Jones (18’8.25”).

Warsaw had a strong performance among a field of teams customarily making perennially deep postseason runs.

The Tigers finished second in the shot put (92’1.5”) with a first-place individual finish by Noah Chew (49’9”). Trace Stookey tossed the 12-pound projectile 42’4.5”. The orange and black also earned runner-up honors in the 400-meter dash (1:42.83) with an individual first place run by Jeremy Johnson (50.42 sec.) and Colton Martin’s 52.41 showing.

Tiger third place finishes included Tyler Mimnaugh (9:52.61), Luke Nier (9:58.32) combining for 19:50.93, Johnson (23.31) and Haydin Rodriguez (23.35) for a 46.66 sec finish.

Warsaw finished fourth in four events. Chew (131’7”) and Stookey (126’8”) totaled 258’3” in the discus. Warsaw 1600-meter relay used quarter performances of 3:33.44 and 3:42.17 for a total time of 7:15.61. The pole vault duo of Tucker Curtis and Morgan Johnson (12-feet vaults each) reached 24 feet. Warsaw 4X8 4th 17:18.33. Warsaw’s tandem of 3200-meter relay foursomes turned in a combine time of 17:13.18 (Johnson, Nier, Sam Slough, and Garrett Hall – 8:26.10; Gabe Klein, Rick Orr, Nate Knecht, and Nick Kiplinger – 8:52.23).

Tiger throwers and vaulters have posted dominant performances in dual meet action this season, so the Truex Invitational was a chance to set their sights against a higher level of competition.

“Once that meet was over, we had to prepare for regional and state level competition,” Tiger head coach Scott Erba said. “A lot of these guys (in field events) have not advanced or seen this level of competition. Getting that shock and awe out of the way allows us to get closer when we see this caliber of competition again.”

Erba was pleased with his team’s finish last night considering those squads in the top three slots are accustomed to considerable success as deep as the state track and field finals.

“We’re glad to hold this meet to honor Max Truex,” Erba remarked. “It’s a high level of competition, and you can’t succeed in this meet at 90%. Our guys were fully recovered at 100% even coming off a double dual meet 48 hours ago.

“We bounced back 48 hours later starting strong and finishing stronger. We’re happy where we’re at, and we’d love to use this as a steppingstone to get into the conference and postseason meets.”

Warsaw will carry its 5-0 Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) record into its final double dual meet this coming week before they host the boys’ and girls’ NLC championship meet Tuesday May 10.