The task is a tall one, but it is one the Columbus North girls tennis team knows it is capable of conquering.
The 23rd-ranked Bull Dogs (19-6) will face No. 8 Terre Haute South (22-0) in the state quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Friday at Carmel. The Braves, the state’s only remaining unbeaten team, beat North 5-0 on May 16.
That match, however, may have been closer than the score indicated. Two of the five battles went three sets, and the Bull Dogs were competitive in two others.
“It was close, so we have to go in there with a little confidence,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “I think we just need to be a little more mentally tough. We have a couple of matches that we did not play that well, and then there were a couple of matches where we just didn’t finish them off.”
The Bull Dogs already have avenged one regular-season loss in the postseason, beating Bloomington North 3-2 in the regional semifinals. Columbus North then downed Seymour 4-1 in the regional final and No. 22 Evansville Mater Dei 3-2 in Saturday’s Jasper Semistate.
“We’ve been playing some good tennis down the stretch here, and we have to continue with that thought of just outhitting them one more ball every time and doing what we have to do to win,” Hammel said.
If the Bull Dogs win Friday, they would play the winner between No. 2 Carmel and No. 3 Cathedral at 10 a.m. Saturday at North Central. The championship match is at 2 p.m. Saturday at North Central.
Columbus North is making its first state appearance since 2010.
“Getting to state, we’re not one of those schools that sort of take it for granted year in and year out like some of the schools up in Indianapolis,” Hammel said. “I’m excited. I hope the girls are excited. I hope we are ready to play.”
East senior seeded fourth
Rhett Myers didn’t get the results he wanted in last year’s state track meet, but he’s primed for a couple of big finishes this season.
The Columbus East senior finished 10th in the discus — one spot off the medal stand — and 22nd in the shot put last season. This year, he’s seeded fourth in the shot and ninth in the discus going into Saturday’s Boys Track and Field State Finals.
“I feel pretty good,” Myers said. “I think having one year of experience will help me because it won’t be a new venue. I want to make up for last year and get on the podium. That’s been my goal all season.”
Columbus North junior Mitchell Burton also will look to make a leap onto the medal stand. Burton, who finished 12th in the long jump last season, is seeded eighth in that event.
“I think if I jump good like I have been recently, I should be top five or easily place,” Burton said. “If I don’t, we’ll see.”
Burton’s senior teammate, Alex Algee, is seeded 22nd in the long jump. Junior Triston Perry in the 110-meter hurdles and senior Bryce Ables in the 300 hurdles are seeded 20th, and senior Chandler Steward is 22nd in the 800. Algee, Burton and sophomores Jaylen Flemmons and Cortez Bandy are 21st in the 4×100 relay.
East senior Steven O’Neal, who received a callback in the 200, is seeded 17th. Brown County senior Cole Chudy is seeded 21st in the 1,600; and senior Collin Hoskins, junior Job Lawson, sophomore Wyatt Wyman and Chudy are 21st in the 4×800 relay.
In Friday’s girls meet, North senior Katrina May is seeded in a tie for third in the pole vault. Junior Rachel Brougher is 22nd in the 3,200, senior Sierra Lax is 24th in the 1,600 and sophomore Arig Tong, senior Avrie Allen, sophomore Kirsten Ballard and senior Nina Bouthier are 27th in the 4×800 relay.
East senior Katie Mack is tied for 18th in the high jump. Freshman Beyoncey Coleman-Turner is 20th and junior Seena Greiwe is 26th in the discus.
Jennings County freshman Kayla Truesdell is 26th in the shot, and senior Justine Corya is 27th in the 400. Brown County sophomore Kathleen McCann is 25th in the 100.
Jets set for semistate
On its way to last year’s Class A state softball title, Hauser won a 2-0 game against Borden in the semistate semifinals, then run-ruled host North Daviess in the semistate final.
Jets coach Craig Sims knows it won’t be as easy on Saturday when his team heads back to North Daviess. The semistate features four of the state’s top five Class A teams.
No. 1 Hauser (25-0) will play No. 2 North Central (Farmersburg) in the semifinals at 1 p.m. No. 4 Tecumseh and No. 5 Borden meet in the 11 a.m. opener. The championship is set for 7 p.m.
“I think the key is going to be who has pitching left in that second game,” Sims said. “You don’t pitch one kid in doubleheaders (in the regular season) in high school. You do that stuff in travel ball, so that’s going to be a change for the pitchers. That’s going to be asking a lot of them.”
The Jets beat the other top-five team in Class A, No. 3 Rising Sun, 10-0 in five innings in the sectional final. Hauser won the regional on Tuesday with a 12-1, five-inning victory at Edinburgh.
Locals make Academic All-State
Several local boys and girls track and field athletes have been named to the Indiana Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All-State teams.
Columbus North’s Johanna Anderson, Bouthier, Allison Coffey and May; and Columbus East’s Katie Emmert, Molly Green and Kailey Warner are on the girls first team. East’s Kira Singer made honorable mention.
North’s Alec Embry, Ahaan Singhal and Justin Spoon, Hauser’s Pete Trotter and Jennings County’s Matt Cornett are on the boys first team. Hauser’s Clayton Wilson and Jennings’ Ricky Hendrix made honorable mention.
East to play at Lucas Oil
The Columbus East football team will play in Lucas Oil Stadium this fall for the first time since winning the Class 4A state championship in 2013.
The Olympians will play Jeffersonville at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the third of three games that day. Shenandoah will face Eastern Hancock at 2 p.m., and Shelbyville will meet Mt. Vernon at 4:45 p.m.
Advance tickets are $11 for adults and high school students and $8 for students 12 and younger. Children 2 and under will be admitted free.