Last year was more or less a rebuilding season for the Columbus East boys track and field team.
This year, the Olympians have most of their big point scorers back and are hoping for bigger things. East will be looking to improve on a third-place finish in the Hoosier Hills Conference, a fourth in the Columbus North Sectional and a sixth in the regional.
“We have some kids coming back from last year, and we have some young guys,” East coach David Miller said. “The kids have been working hard, and we’re seeing some improvement already. Our normal goals are to go out and compete and improve every meet and be running our best come conference and sectional.”
Miller has about 50 kids out for this year’s team. Leading that group is senior Rhett Myers, an HHC champion and state qualifier in both the shot put and discus. The Air Force football recruit finished 10th at state in the discus and 22nd in the shot last season.
Junior Paul Bean finished sixth in the regional in the 1,600 meters. Bean was a sectional champion and semistate qualifier in cross-country.
“He’ll definitely be the leader of our distance group,” Miller said. “He had a great offseason and will have a good track season this year.”
Senior Steven O’Neal in the long jump and junior T.C. O’Neal in the high jump were regional qualifiers, and both were on the regional-qualifying 4×400 relay team. Sophomore Caleb Pettit also returns from the 4×400 team, and junior Cam Wilson is back from the regional-qualifying 4×100 relay team.
The Olympians did suffer a big loss when Josiah Edwards, the sectional champion in the high jump, moved to Ben Davis following his senior football season.
Senior Aaron Kruchten teams with Myers to give East a solid 1-2 punch in the throwing events. Senior Alex Galle, a three-sport athlete, is back in the 400 and 800 after sitting out last track season.
Top newcomers for the Olympians are sophomore Luke Poindexter in the high jump, junior Brayden Burbrink in the middle distance events and freshmen sprinters Hunter Dickmeyer and Brady Smith.
“We have a good group of kids and kind of a mixture of young and old,” Miller said. “We have some kids that might be able to help us out in areas we need.”
Columbus East boys track
April 2;at Bloomington South;10:30 a.m.
April 5;at Seymour;4:45 p.m.
April 9;at Columbus North Invitational;11 a.m.
April 12;at Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.
April 14;at Brownstown Central;5 p.m.
April 19;Bloomington North;5:30 p.m.
April 21;Columbus North;5 p.m.
April 26;at Seymour Invitational;6 p.m.
April 29;at Shelbyville Invitational;6 p.m.
May 3;Brown County;4:30 p.m.
May 12;HHC at Floyd Central;6 p.m.