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La Salle-Peru senior Logan Zeman celebrates winning the IHSA Class 2A high jump state championship Saturday in Charleston. Zeman cleared 6 feet, 8 inches to become the school’s second state champion in any sport, joining wrestler Eric Siebert (1992-93). NewsTribune photo/Brandon LaChance
CHARLESTON — Heading into Saturday’s IHSA Boys State Track & Field finals, La Salle-Peru had never had a track state champion and had only one champ in any sport.
Senior Logan Zeman etched his name first on L-P’s track champion list and second on the all-sports list with his leap of 6 feet, 8 inches in the high jump.
“It feels awesome. It’s something that any high school kid talks about, not only wanting to make it to state but to win state,” Zeman said. “Eric Siebert is our only state champion in wrestling (1993). We’ve come close with baseball getting second. Volleyball got second this year.
“We’ve been fighting for another champion and it’s just awesome to get that second championship for L-P. … I’m going out with a bang.”
Zeman cleared 6-0 and 6-2 easily, missed once on 6-4 and hit 6-5 on his first attempt, but he took three attempts on 6-6 and 6-7.
Cavaliers coach Marty Makransky told Zeman to make sure he made 6-8 on his first jump since the senior’s ankles were starting to hurt him after so many jumps, Zeman said.
Zeman cleared it on his first jump and nervously waited for the three other jumpers to attempt 6-8.
They all missed to make Zeman the state champ.
“Whenever you get to your third try, you’re thinking the worst possible thoughts in your head. You’re thinking if I miss this than I’m done,” Zeman said. “I made 6-8 on my first jump and it was an amazing feeling. Sitting here watching all the other jumpers after me, as a good sport I want my competition to do good, but as a competitor, I want to win.
“It was an awesome feeling once that last guy missed. I jumped around and threw my fist in the air. It was great. It was great.”
L-P doesn’t have only one medalist to celebrate as Brett Kowalczyk bowed his head to receive the honor for his eighth-place shot put throw of 50-8.
The junior came to state hoping to medal and was overwhelmed with excitement when he accomplished his mission.
“I had a lot better form than (Friday),” Kowalczyk said. “My finish was a lot quicker and smoother. I felt more power and I was more calm than (Friday). Just making it to the second day is great and I wanted to medal. I got that.”
Area athletes also medaled in three other events, including the Bureau Valley 3,200- and 1,600-meter relay teams.
The 3,200 team of seniors Kane Eastwood, Ryan Taylor, Colten Peterson and Daniel Trone finished in fifth place with a time of 8:09.8.
“I’ve been with these guys all four years,” said Trone, the relay’s anchor. “We knew this was going to be our last race together, so it was for each other. Our coaches already said they were proud of us, so anything more was icing on top of the cake.”
Eastwood felt the same way for the fifth-place 1,600 relay team of Trone, Tucker Schoff, Peterson and himself that ran a 3:26.78.
“It feels really, really great to come down here and medal with both relay teams,” Eastwood said. “We worked really hard and came down here and did what we wanted to do.”
Henry-Midland senior Alex Pettis joined the BV relay teams in distance medals as he finished ninth — the final medaling position — in the 3,200 with a time of 9:54.82.
“It was my goal coming into this. I knew I was close to the top nine and in contention,” Pettis said. “I was eating right and training the way I was supposed to do for this moment right here.
“It was a tough race. It’s kind of warm out. But I knew if I didn’t give it my all, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Hall junior Al Baldonado finished the 3,200 in 11th place with a time of 10:01.84, and Fieldcrest junior Levi Schmillen crossed the finish line at 10:34.98 for 23rd place.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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