Strengh in numbers

The Columbus North boys track and field team likely won’t have as much top-end talent as it did last season, but the Bull Dogs should have plenty of depth.

That’s the outlook for North as it prepares for its outdoor season opener March 23 at Whiteland. The Bull Dogs likely will be have at least a couple of athletes competing in the March 26 HSR state indoor meet at Purdue, based on their performances from this year’s indoor meets.

“I thought we’ve had a good start,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “We have some veteran guys that have been around, but we also have some younger guys that are doing some good things. It’s exciting.”

The Bull Dogs lost state qualifiers Chase Ballard, Seth Williams, Joe Wright and Trent Larson but do return one state qualifier in junior Mitchell Burton. Burton was a Conference Indiana and Connersville Regional champion and finished 12th in the state in the long jump.

Senior Ben Rankin was a Columbus North Sectional champion and finished fifth in the regional in the 1,600 meters. Burton, in the 200, and senior Alex Algee, in the long jump, each placed seventh in the regional.

Senior Chandler Steward returns from the 4×800 relay team that finished fourth in the regional, one spot away from qualifying for state. Junior Robert Pflueger, in the 400 and 4×400 relay; senior Drew Schoeberl, in the discus; and junior Hunter Wolford, in the shot put, also were regional qualifiers, although Wolford injured an Achilles in the Bull Dogs’ final football game in the fall and is still rehabbing.

Rankin leads a solid distance crew that includes juniors Elijah Brooks, Eli Fischer, Justin Spoon and Alec Embry and freshman Sam Horak. Burton is joined in the sprints by Algee, sophomore Cortez Bandy and senior Justin Abbott.

Senior Bryce Ables and junior Triston Perry return in the hurdle events. Junior Harley Huser is the top high jumper and will add depth in the long jump.

Sophomore Brigham Kleinhenz returns in the pole vault. Junior Brandon Wolter in the discus and sophomore Logan Abbott in the shot put will join Schoeberl in those events.

“We have some things to figure out, but we’re going to try to compete,” Sipe said. “I’m pretty exited about the group of guys. They work pretty hard and seem to enjoy the sport.”

North finished second in both the conference and sectional and third in the regional last season. This year’s regional will be at Franklin.

“We want to try to win the conference,” Sipe said. “We haven’t done that on the boys side in awhile. We want to win sectional, but our sectional is tough. We want to get as many through to the regional and state meet as possible. We have a good opportunity in a lot of spots to make that happen.”

At a glance

Columbus North boys track

2016 schedule

Wednesday;at Whiteland;5:30 p.m.

April 5;Bloomington South;6 p.m.

April 9;North Invitational;11 a.m.

April 12;at Seymour;5:30 p.m.

April 15;at Franklin Central Showcase;6 p.m.

April 16;Midwest Prep at Lawrence Central;11 a.m.

April 21;at Columbus East;5 p.m.

April 23;at Brown County TalonĀ  Relays;10:30 a.m.

April 26;at East Central (with Shelbyville);5:30 p.m.

April 29;Conference Indiana at Southport;5:30 p.m.

May 6;at Martinsville Koontz Relays;6 p.m.

May 11;at Franklin;5 p.m.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.