Chesterton Tribune



Corzan wins state title in the 400; Raffin medals

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Even after he became a state champion, Chesterton senior Braden Corzan wasn’t completely satisfied.

“I should’ve ran faster,” he said.

Corzan won the 400 meters at Saturday’s state finals on the campus of Indiana University, finishing in 47.41 seconds -- over one second ahead of the field -- to complete his season-long dominance of the event.

But Corzan wasn’t just chasing first place at the meet.

“I wanted that record, more than I wanted the win,” he said. “The win would’ve come with the record.”

Corzan spent much of the postseason talking about running a time under 47 seconds, which would’ve broken the record of 46.99 set by 2002 Merrillville graduate David Neville, who later won a bronze medal in the 400 at the 2008 Olympics.

And in the first half of the race, Corzan felt like he was off to a good start.

“My first 200 (meters) felt faster than normal,” Corzan said. “But I saw the clock and saw how far away I was and I didn’t do it right. But a win’s a win, I guess.”

That reaction is just part of Corzan’s competitive personality, though, as coach Bryan Nallenweg explained.

“He’s so driven that, when he has a goal in mind and doesn’t, in his mind, achieve it, he gets down on himself,” Nallenweg said. “But that’s also why he’s as good as he is. He said he was disappointed, but I think that’s more of a knee-jerk reaction. He’s starting to understand that he’s a state champion and very few people can say that.”

The 400 was the main thing on Corzan’s mind at the state finals, even when he went out for the trials in the 100. His preliminary time of 11.14 wasn’t enough to qualify for the finals but left him with more energy for the 400.

“My block start felt the best that it ever has,” Corzan said of the 100. “But I was thinking so much about the 400 that I wasn’t really focused on the 100. Even my brother (Darren) said it looked like I was just jogging.”

Corzan was the only Chesterton athlete to finish first at the state finals, but he wasn’t the only medal winner. Classmate Ben Raffin wrapped up his high school career with a fourth-place mark of 15 feet in the pole vault.

Like Corzan, Raffin also had his eyes set on history: the school record of 15-7.

“I was way over 15-3,” Raffin said. “But I’m not the most consistent vaulter. I’ll need to work on that at college next year.”

Raffin’s next vaults will be at Hillsdale College, where he’s headed after graduation. After finishing 14th in the pole vault in 2017, Raffin took some pride in getting an all-state medal in 2018.

“Last year I only cleared 13-6,” Raffin said. “I knew I had to work a lot harder and what I needed to do when I came here. It wasn’t the goal, but I did want to, at least, get a medal.”

Elsewhere in the field events, senior Louie Razo finished 21st in the long jump with a preliminary round mark of 21-1.25.

“(Louie) had a great career,” Nallenweg said of Razo. “He was a three-time state qualifier. I know he wished that he would’ve made the final, but Louie gave it his all at the state meet one last time and that’s all you can ask for from a kid.”

Chesterton finished 10th in the team standings with 16 points, the highest placement for any school from Northwest Indiana.

In the penultimate race of the day, senior Jakob Kintzele finished 14th in the 3,200 with a time of 9:26.30. But the veteran of multiple state meets in track and cross country was caught off-guard by the slow pace of that race.

“Way too slow,” he said. “That was the one thing we didn’t predict. Once I saw it was too slow, I tried to take the lead for a few laps. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough.”

A lead pack of nearly 20 runners stayed intact for seven of the race’s eight laps, a rarity at the state finals.

“I’m a guy who leads almost every race,” Kintzele said. “I like to pace and string it out so, at the end, I’m the only one who can close hard enough. But today, the pace was so slow that everyone was there.”

Kintzele got boxed in by that large pack of runners a few times and to maneuver his way through a maze of bodies in a race that had far more physical contact than the typical track event.

“After all that jostling and running in Lane 2, it took a lot out of me.”

“I’m disappointed the way it ended,” the Princeton-bound Kintzele said. “Now on to bigger and better things.”



Posted 6/4/2018




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