LIMA — When Lima Central Catholic’s Mykale Rogers came on to the scene two years ago, he didn’t take long to make a name for himself.
His freshman season, Rogers competed at the Division III state track meet in the long jump (second place, 22 feet, ¼ inch); 400-meter relay (sixth, 43.67); 200-meter dash and 800-meter relay.
Last year as a sophomore, Rogers won the Division III state title in the long jump (22-11) and was the anchor leg for the 400 relay that finished third (43.25). He also placed fourth in the 200 (22.89).
The 400 relay — which was comprised of Jon Washington, Lee Stewart, Jamir Coleman and Rogers — is still in tact as all four athletes return this season.
With the entire relay team back, there is plenty of optimism at LCC this spring.
“We have the whole relay team back,” Rogers said. “We’re going to be really strong this year; hopefully, better than last year. We finished third last year (400 relay), but I think we can win gold this year.”
Rogers feels that as a team, the Thunderbirds could be in the hunt for a state team title.
“I think we have enough athletes to where we can have two guys in the 100 and 200. Jamir (Coleman) has been jumping great this year (indoor season). He got 23 (feet) even at the state indoor meet, so it’s going to be a fun year. I think we’ll go one-two in the long jump, too. Some years, 40 points is all it takes (for a state team title).”
Individually, Rogers has his sights set high this season. In 2012, he battled some nagging injuries, which hampered his training.
“I had a sprained ankle and also turf toe,” Rogers said. “I missed the first four weeks of track. It was a lot of hard work to get back to where I was before. I wasn’t expecting to get 24 (feet in the long jump) at the beginning of the year, but I worked for it and I eventually got in the 24 (-foot) range.”
LCC head coach Nathan Garlock is optimistic on his team’s chances this season.
“I have an awesome problem right now. I can’t complain,” Garlock said. “I have everybody back from a relay that got third at state last year. The two (teams) above us (at the state meet) graduated a couple kids each. So, coming in I have to believe we are one of the favorites in the four-by-one.”
Garlock will have plenty of flexibility on combinations he can choose from in the events. Along with the entire relay team coming back, he also has an addition to his team this season. Football standout Darius West will be competing in track for the first time.
“I also have a secret weapon this year … I have Darius West,” Garlock said. “I got him out for track. He runs a 4.3 (-second) 40 (-meter dash), so we can only get faster. It’s going to make our relays that much better. From top to bottom, we’re going to be really strong. It allows me to move Lee Stewart up and use him in the 400 and four-by-four and it makes those guys that much stronger.”
Rogers has one goal in mind when it comes to his favorite event, the long jump.
“(My) goal is 25 (feet). By the time I graduate, I look to break the national record. …It’s 26 (feet),” he said.