Injury hits East with sectional looming

Although she knew something was wrong, Elisa Watkins soldiered on through Columbus East’s 0-0 tie at Floyd Central on Sept. 12.

The next day, Watkins’ worst fears were realized. She had cartilage damage in her knee that would require surgery and cause her to likely miss the rest of her senior soccer season.

At the time of her injury, Watkins led the Olympians with six goals in nine games. She still leads the team with six assists.

“Obviously, this is a huge loss,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “She certainly has been a force in the middle both offensively and defensively. She’s been a great leader on the field, and she’s been a great leader off the field.”

Watkins was an All-District player last season, when she mainly played center back. Schwartzman said the injury likely wasn’t caused by contact.

“Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports,” Schwartzman said. “It’s important for the team to know how to adjust to injuries. We have changed our lineup, and we will need to make some additional adjustments. We will need to step up and take up the slack for her.”

East, which was 4-1-4 after that Floyd Central game, is now 5-2-5. The tournament draw is Friday, and sectional play begins Oct. 6.

“These are very humongous shoes to fill,” Schwartzman said. “I think we have a lot of capable players that can certainly fill the shoes, but we’re going to miss her. There’s still a slim chance that she might have an incredibly speedy recovery and be back for the sectional, but that would be very slim.”

Golfers set for regional

At least one of the state’s top 10 girls golf teams will be left out of a trip to the state meet from Saturday’s Lapel Regional.Third-ranked Columbus North appears to be the favorite, but No. 5 Cathedral, No. 7 Hamilton Southeastern, No. 9 Fishers and No. 17 Noblesville will also challenge. Only the top three teams, plus the top five individuals on non-advancing teams qualify for next weekend’s state finals.“I’d say based on rankings that we’re the favorite, but I also know that there are several good teams there, so we have to play well in order to just get through,” North coach Scott Seavers said.

The regional has been moved from New Castle’s Westwood Country Club to Edgewood Country Club in Anderson. Seavers likened the course to Greensburg Country Club, where the Bull Dogs won Saturday’s Greensburg Sectional with a 309.

“I like the way we played last week,” Seavers said. “I think the golf course that we’re playing at, based on what I’ve heard, is somewhat similar to Greensburg — probably a little bit tighter and more trees — but it’s pretty short with small greens. We’ve done well at courses like that, so hopefully, we can continue good play.”

Columbus East finished second at Greensburg with a 350 and will try to make its way into the top three Saturday.

“To get out as a team, it will be a challenge, definitely,” East coach Troy Buntin said. “Golf is one of those games where you have averages and you can see scores, and it’s kind of consistent. North and Cathedral, by what they shot, should be the favorites. Then, there’s Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers. We hope we have our best day and see what happens.”

Bull Dogs seek titles

The Columbus North boys and girls soccer teams will try to defend their Conference Indiana titles on Saturday at Karst Park in Bloomington.The Bull Dog girls will play Terre Haute North in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Perry Meridian and Bloomington South will meet in the other 1 p.m. semifinal, with the winners and losers playing for first and third place at about 5 p.m.The Bull Dog boys will face Bloomington North at about 3 p.m. Bloomington South and Perry Meridian will play in the other 3 p.m. semifinal, with the winners and losers playing for first and third place at about 7 p.m.

North senior takes 52nd

Columbus North senior Chase McQueen finished 52nd in last week’s International Triathlon Union Men’s Junior World Championship.The event was supposed to feature a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5,000-meter run, but weather conditions at Chicago’s Grant Park led to the cancellation of the swimming portion. Instead, competitors did a 5K run, 20K bike and 2,500-meter run.McQueen, who runs cross-country and swims for the Bull Dogs, was the fourth American finisher. He was in 45th place after doing the 5K run in 15 minutes, 43 seconds and moved up to 21st during the bike before a crash on the wet pavement moved him back. He ran the final 2,500 meters in 10:05.

Lancers coach nets first win

Derrick Ball picked up his first football head coaching victory Friday when his Edinburgh team outlasted Switzerland County 46-45 in four overtimes.The Lancers (1-4) had been shut out the previous three weeks before breaking out against the Pacers.“It was great because you finally got that monkey off your back,” Ball said. “Personally, I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t come sooner. But I think things are finally clicking, and we finally righted the ship. We’re on the right track now.”

Ted Schultz is a sports reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com.