NEW HAVEN — It was chase or be chased at the ACAC Track and Field Championships on Tuesday.
For the South Adams girls and Heritage boys teams, the option was to be chased as both teams defended their titles from last season.
The Patriots won 166-131 over Woodlan and South Adams was third (73.5).
The Heritage boys won last year's championship with two event wins, but it was enough to motivate the team coming back to target a repeat.
"It means a lot," senior Hannibal Hall said. "We've had a target on our back pretty much since the beginning of the season and we all knew that we had to come out here and do our best. Everyone doing their best, everyone doing their part, it really helps.
"We wanted to prove that we were the best. We didn't want to leave any doubt, whatsoever. "
Hall won in the 100-meter dash (11.03 seconds) and the 110 hurdles (15.09); Cameron Mitchell won the high jump (6 feet, 1 inch) and won the 400 (52.71) just ahead of teammate Niklaus Smith (53.41); Derek Schaadt won the 800 (2:07.24) and Andy Kohrman won the 3,200 (10:33.71).
"I think (the target on our backs) made practice more exciting," Kohrman said. "It's always more fun when you're winning and we always work for this. We work in the winter for this, our sectional's really good so this is what we strive for, the conference meet."
The Warriors won the 3,200 relay (8:26.70), the 400 relay (44.23) and the 1,600 relay (3:34.69) while Amarion Hicks won the 200 (22.69) and Justin Durkes the long jump (20-5.5).
South Adams' Victor Vasquez won the 1,600 (4:42.64) and Lars In't Groen won the shot put (49-6.5) and discus (147-11).
The South Adams girls, who beat out Jay County156-145, did it with only 13 girls on its roster but came away with nine event championships with Addie Wanner winning the 100 hurdles in a new meet record of 14.72, the 300 hurdles (50.41), long jump (16-5) and high jump (5-2).
Kallee Patch won the 1,600 (5:30.93), 800 (2:25.20) and helped the 3,200 relay (10:25.41) and 1,600 relay (4:17.07) to conference championships.
"We knew it was going to be hard work but we knew we had the potential to win," Wanner said. "It was really hard because we had some disappointments throughout the night, everyone was like, 'Oh no, are we still going to win?' Being able to still pull it off seems really good."
The Starfires also went 1-2 in the shot put with Taylor Augsburger (33-3) and Shaelynn Bowman (32-11.25).
"It's the same boat we were in last year: Jay County knocked us off the year before," coach Clint Anderson said. "You target them. We've won it three out of the last four years. We know that every team comes in wanting to take it to us. Anytime they can beat us, I'm sure they're happy.
"It's nerve-wracking because Jay County scores twice in everything and it's hard to keep up with that but thankfully we have some talented kids to throw out there and we were able to hold them off."
Woodlan's Te'shyia McCarter won the 100 (12.90) and the 200 (26.87) and anchored the winning 400 relay (52.65), Adams Centrals' Lexi Smith won the discus (104-3) and Jay County's Kinsey Shannon won the 400 (1:00.87) and Sophia Fugiett the 3,200 (12:34.58).