Columbus North accomplished a rare feat last season when it qualified athletes to the regional round in all 16 track and field events.
Several of those runners, jumpers and throwers return this season for a Bull Dog boys squad that will look to do it again. They open their season today at home against Whiteland.
“We have a lot of returners, so we’re just building on our success from last year,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “We had a good presence there at the regional. We’d like to get more of those guys advanced to the state meet.”
Back to lead the Bull Dogs is senior Mitchell Burton. The Miami (Ohio) football recruit finished fifth in the state in the long jump.
Senior Triston Perry was a state qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles. Burton and juniors Jaylen Flemmons and Cortez Bandy return from the state-qualifying 4×100 relay team.
Returning regional qualifiers include juniors Brigham Kleinhenz and Grant Fehribach in the pole vault, senior Coleman Tennyson in the shot put, Burton in the 100, seniors Eli Fischer and Alec Embry in the 1,600 and senior Elijah Brooks in the 3,200. Fischer is currently injured and may or may not be able to run this season.
Senior Hunter Wolford also returns in the shot, and junior Charlie Allen and Abel Spalding and sophomore Sam Horak add to a deep distance crew. Two newcomers — junior J.D. Harris and freshman Daveed Jolley — have run on the 4×200 relay team this indoor season, and freshman Ben Malone will add depth in the hurdles and long jump.
North finished third in Conference Indiana and second in both the North Sectional and Franklin Regional last season.
The Olympians will look to defend their Hoosier Hills Conference title after pulling off a stunning upset in last year’s conference meet.
“It really depends on how hard the kids work and how much they improve over the course of the season,” East coach David Miller said. “Our goal is to always be running our best at conference time and sectional time. I definitely think we have the potential to compete for another conference title.”
The Olympians lost state discus runner-up Rhett Myers, who is now playing football at Air Force, along with two other state qualifiers. But they return regional qualifiers in senior T.C. O’Neal in the high jump and junior Kolby Mitchell in the 100, as well as members from all three relay teams.
Junior Jamon Hogan, Mitchell and senior Cam Wilson ran on the 4×100 team. Junior Caleb Pettit, O’Neal and Wilson were on the 4×400 squad. Senior Paul Bean and sophomore Isaac VanCuren were on the 4×800 team.
Wilson, Pettit and juniors Zach O’Connor and Ethan Summa can run the sprints and the 400. Summa is back after not running track last year.
Bean leads the distance crew and is joined by senior Josh Sensanbaugher and sophomore Garrett McGaha. Hogan, O’Neal and Summa could long jump, while senior Jared Clark and juniors Zach Clark and Cody Hagerdon will throw the shot and discus.
East finished fourth in last year’s North Sectional.
“It’s pretty similar to last year,” Miller said. “We have some key guys coming back, and also some young guys and some new guys that will hopefully be able to help us out.”
The Jets will look for a big improvement after finishing ninth in the Mid-Hoosier Conference and 10th in the North Sectional.
Twelve kids are out for this year’s team led by the top returning athlete senior Pete Trotter in the shot and discus. Junior David Seelye is the top distance runner, and sophomore Joe Hunter returns in the sprints.
Top newcomers include sophomore Will Trotter in the throws and junior Sam Robinson in the distance and middle distance events. Pato Cicero Gonzalez, an exchange student from Mexico, could run middle distance and long jump or high jump.
“We’re down to seven in our conference, so hopefully, we’ll place somewhere in the middle of the seven,” Hauser coach Ben Finke said. “To score some points at sectional would be great. We’re off to a little bit of a slow start because of basketball just getting over, but I know they’re hard-working and motivated and good athletes, so they’re going to really contribute, I think.”
Several runners from the state-qualifying Panther cross-country team will lead the track team this spring.
Juniors Alex Hendrix, Franklin Sanders and Isaiah Ertel ran on the regional-qualifying 4×800 relay team last season. Freshman Carter Leak, juniors Ryan Gasper and Dalton Craig and senior Wayne Komsi also were varsity cross-country runners.
Ertel also runs the hurdles, while Craig is a pole vaulter. Other top returners are sophomore Jacob Corya in the sprints and long jump, sophomore Brooks Wathen in the hurdles, senior Doug Gerringer in the throws and senior Alex Skelton in the discus.
Freshmen Kyle Collins in the sprints and Jared Corya in the sprints and high jump will look to contribute. Out for track for the first time are seniors Tucker Marsh and Chase Ketcham, who could do the sprints, long jump and possibly high jump.
Jennings finished sixth in HHC and second in Bedford North Lawrence Sectional last season.
“I think we’re going to be pretty solid,” Jennings coach Bill Ludwig said. “We feel pretty good in the distance. We will be a lot better in the sprints.”
The Eagles won the Western Indiana Conference title last season, but lost their top two point scorers to graduation.
Junior Wyatt Wyman and senior Job Lawson return from the state-qualifying 4×800 relay team. Wyman also was a regional qualifier in the 3,200, and Wyman and sophomore Jackson McPheeters were on the regional-qualifying 4×400 relay team.
Other top athletes for Brown County, which finished sixth in Bloomington North Sectional, include senior thrower Baylee Mosier and junior sprinter Matt Chaiyasit.
“We have a pretty solid group of freshmen that came in,” Brown County coach Rob Abraham said. “I think that they’re going to end up doing pretty well for us.“
The Cougars have a new coach in Jonathan Black, who takes over a team that finished second in the Mid-Hoosier Conference. Last year’s champion, Eastern Hancock, is no longer in the MHC.
Senior Brandon Mallott was a regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles. Seniors Dylan Cowins and Mallott were on regional-qualifying 4×800 and 4×400 relay teams, and junior Cole Bower was on the 4×800 squad.
Juniors Charlie Hamilton and Carl Kroger are vying to join this year’s 4×800 relay team. Other top returners are sophomore Trent Nobbe in the hurdles and senior Kordell Meadows in the high jump.
Junior Noah Daugherty, a transfer from Columbus North, will run the 400. Freshman Jacoby Shook will throw the shot and discus.
“We don’t know if we’re going to be able to fill the 4×100 with a lack of sprinters, but we’ll definitely be able to compete in the 4×400 and 4×800, as well as the sprints and hurdles,” South Decatur assistant coach Bethany Fromer said.
The Lancers will have a small team with only about a dozen athletes.
Sophomore Hunter Dean, a basketball and football player who did not run track last year, is doing the high jump and sprints. Other top athletes are senior middle distance runner Addison Lollar, freshman distance runner Isiah Estes and senior shot and discus thrower Sean Bacha.
Edinburgh finished 10th in the MHC and ninth in the North Sectional last season.
“With a small school, it’s tough to win meets,” Edinburgh coach Derrick Ball said. “We’re really looking to get individuals to be successful. We have a heck of a sectional to go through, so if we can make a splash at sectional, we’ve done something right.”
The Cougars have a new coach in former Brownstown Central runner Caleb Tormoehlen.
Senior Matt McKay in the 110 hurdles and sophomore AJ Goecker in the 3,200 were regional qualifiers. Senior Sam Marksberry has has shown promise in the 400.
“Individually, this should be a very productive season,” Tormoehlen said. “We don’t necessarily have enough for all our relays, so we should be able to focus more on our individual events.”
Boys and girls track schedules for Bartholomew County schools:
April 1;Bloomington South;10:30 a.m.
April 4;Seymour;5 p.m.
April 8;at Columbus North Invitational;11 a.m.
April 11;Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.
April 13;Three-way meet;5 p.m.
April 18;at Bloomington North;5:30 p.m.
April 20;at Columbus North;5 p.m.
April 25;at Seymour Invitational;6 p.m.
May 2; at Brown County;4:30 p.m.
May 9;HHC at Seymour (girls);6 p.m.
May 11;HHC at Madison (boys);6 p.m.
April 4;at Bloomington South;6 p.m.
April 8;Columbus North Invitational;11 a.m.
April 11;Seymour;5:30 p.m.
April 14;at Franklin Central Showcase;6 p.m.
April 15;Midwest Prep at Lawrence Central;6 p.m.
April 20;Columbus East;5 p.m.
April 22;at Brown County Talon Relays;10:45 a.m.
April 25;Shelbyville, East Central;5:30 p.m.
April 28;Conference Indiana at Bloomington North;5:30 p.m.
May 5;at Martinsville Koontz Relays;6 p.m.
May 10;Franklin;5 p.m.
April 3;at Crothersville (with Trinity Lutheran);4:45 p.m.
April 17;at New Palestine (with Triton Central, Waldron); 4:30 p.m.
April 20;Rushville, Waldron;5 p.m.
April 21;at Edinburgh Relays;5 p.m.
April 24;South Decatur, Triton Central;5:30 p.m.
April 25;at Batesville (with North Decatur, Jac-Cen-Del);5 p.m.
May 4;at Indian Creek (with Brown County, Southwestern) 4:30 p.m.
May 9;MHC at Waldron;5 p.m.