Talented Group Of Sprinters Shines At Marion County Championships, Including Jasiah Rogers (10.53), Christian Woodson (21.56) And Nickens Lemba (48.19)
By David Woods for DyeStat
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is a basketball state. Indianapolis, because of the Colts, is a football city.
Yet somehow, the primordial sport of track and field retains a grip on teenagers here.
Take Nickens Lemba. Or Christian Woodson. Or Elijah Jackson.
“You never know. Fate changes,” Lemba said.
The 6-foot-7 Lemba left Democratic Republic of the Congo hoping to earn a college basketball scholarship . . . and now will sign with Purdue for track. Woodson plays basketball, too, but might drop it to concentrate on sprints. Jackson, a 900-yard rusher who didn’t run track until last year, wonders if he has more opportunity as a sprinter than a ball carrier.
And they’re all chasing Jasiah Rogers, who missed qualifying for the 100-meter final at last year’s state meet and has been compensating ever since.
“The Midwest is kind of slept on because of the weather we have here. And being in the Midwest, our history in track isn’t stellar like Texas or Florida, maybe,” Rogers said. “Certainly, with this class of kids. And even the upcoming class of juniors are flourishing and doing well for our state and the Midwest.”
A deep reservoir of sprinters was on display Wednesday night in the Marion County boys meet, bringing together almost all of Indy’s top programs.
Rogers, of Park Tudor, repeated in the 100 meters in a PB of 10.53. Woodson, of host North Central, took the 200 in a PB of 21.56, or .02 off the Indiana lead. And Lemba, of Southport, broke a 35-year-old county record in running 48.19 in the 400.
“Basically, a preview of the state meet,” Woodson said.
Now, 10.53 might sound modest, but the wind was -1.0. And since former 9.99 sprinter Mark Jelks of Gary West Side ran a windy 10.25 in 2002, no state champion has been faster than 10.45. None has been in the 10.40s since 2009.
Moreover, four Hoosiers this year – Lawrence Central’s Jackson (10.47), Brownsburg junior Dominic Calhoun (10.50), Warren Central’s (10.53) and Rogers (10.53) – make it plausible something in the 10.30s will be required for a state title.
Rogers, also headed to Purdue, stated his case indoors. He lowered the Indiana record in the 60 to 6.68 for a US#6, and was fourth at New Balance nationals. He conceded the closing 40 meters of the 100 had been a weakness.
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