Northwest Won Back-to-Back
By: Kevin Milsted
Monday, May 29, 2017

Northwest won the boys 4A outdoor track state title for the second consecutive year, topping second place Digital Harbor, 64.5 to 39.

A couple of superstars can win a state title in high school track. This indoor season, you could point to Josh Netterville. Last year it was Shyheim Wright and Andrew Daniels. It was Diego Zarate a couple of years ago that led Northwest to state titles.

What can you say about this year's team? This year's team does not have a superstar. Northwest's only individual state champion was first year high jumper, Divinus Muteba. Chase Osborne (1:54.26 800m) and Khaloni Mganga (11.11 100m/ 22.34 200m) certainly are approaching elite status, but this year's team can be more aptly described as a team on the rise. 27.5 of Northwest's 34.5 points in individual events came from sophomores and juniors.

"It was about sacrifice. That's why they won again this year," said Northwest head coach Robert Youngblood.

"I mixed and matched," said Youngblood. "You saw JJ our 800 runner on the 4x2. He had our second fastest split on the 4x2. Khaloni sacrificed running the 400 so he could run on the 4x2."

Youngblood pointed to the 4x1 placing fourth as an unexpected highlight, even more so than the 4x2 relay which placed first. The team's top sprinter, Mganga, did not run on the 4x1. Only AJ Woods and Aaron Taylor competed on both the 4x1 and 4x2, while "football guys," Barr Farri (Juwuan) and Tray Dawkins, stepped up.

Said Youngblood, "The head football coach happened to come here, Neubeiser, to watch it. He was so excited for it. They were running 46 at the beginning of the year and now they're running 43-something [43.64]."

"What does it mean? I don't even know. It's crazy. It's unreal honestly... We have more superstars on the female side than the guys' side. We talked about that. I told them about depth. You talked about reloading: that's what we do."

See also: Mocorunning's Friday Recap which highlights Northwest's state champion high jumper, 4x200 and 4x800 relays. Youngblood expects the 4x8 relay to travel to nationals to hopefully face less windy conditions than they saw Friday night.


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