North senior shines: Burton heading to state meet in three events

INDIANAPOLIS — Mitchell Burton’s evening at the Warren Central track and field regional was hectic, but rewarding.

The Columbus North senior qualified in three events for next week’s state finals after winning the long jump, placing third in the 100 meters and anchoring the Bull Dogs’ third-place 4×100 relay team.

Coach Lou Sipe’s squad placed third in the team standings with 64½ points, while rival Columbus East took fifth overall with 32.

“I thought we did really well,” Sipe said. “We had some really good performances, and we’re getting a number of kids moved on to next week. I’m very happy with how our kids performed tonight.”

Burton’s best jump was 22 feet, 9¼ inches, which bested Olympians senior T.C. O’Neal, the runner-up who soared 22 feet, ½-inch.

After qualifying for state in the 100, Burton credited an improved diet and rest habits for his success.

“It feels pretty good because qualifying (in the 100) is kind of what I’ve been working for,” he said. “Here in these past few weeks I’ve been eating right and trying to sleep more, and that’s definitely helped when it comes to shaving off time.”

Also for North, Charlie Allen came in second in the 3,200, as did Coleman Tennyson in the shot put. The 4×100 relay team included Damon Hunter Jr., Cortez Bandy, Jaylen Flemmons and Burton.

Other Bull Dogs performed well, including Elijah Brooks taking sixth in the 3,200, Triston Perry’s fifth in both the 110 high hurdles and 300 hurdles and pole vaulter Brigham Kleinhenz grabbing fourth in his specialty. North finished fifth in the 4×800 relay.

Like Burton, O’Neal, too, remained plenty busy. With the long jump and high jump pits next to one another, O’Neal kept changing shoes in between jumps in order to better his chances.

It worked. O’Neal placed second in the high jump by clearing 6-4. Also for East, Paul Bean was fourth in the 1,600 and Kolby Mitchell fifth in the 100. The Olympians were fifth in the 4×100 relay.

The top three in each event automatically qualified for the state finals. A maximum of three other spots are available for call backs in each event, depending on how many people from around the state reach the three-participant standard.