MADISON — The Columbus East boys track team came close to defending its Hoosier Hills Conference title but fell seven points shy of its second consecutive championship.
The Olympians were tied for the lead with Floyd Central after 11 events. Floyd Central ended up taking first place with 116 points, one more than Jeffersonville, and the Olympians fell to fourth at 109, one point behind New Albany.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” East coach David Miller said. “Floyd, New Albany and Jeffersonville are three really good teams. I think our kids competed. We have to move past this and get ready for sectional.”
T.C. O’Neal left the meet with multiple conference titles, winning the long jump with a 21-foot, 11-inch leap and the 400 meters in 50.83 seconds. He also was a part of the winning 4×100 team that finished in 43.27 — joining Jamon Hogan, Cam Wilson and Kolby Mitchell — and had a second-place finish in the high jump (6-4).
“We did really good, especially since this is our second race running the 4×1 with me in it,” O’Neal said. “Coming in here, I was thinking I was just going to maybe get two (conference titles), but walking away with three All-Conferences is nice.”
The Olympians earned two more conference titles in the discus with Jared Clark throwing 142-10 and the 1,600 with Paul Bean finishing in 4:28.32. Wilson scored points for East with a third-place finish in the 100 (11.7) in front of Mitchell, who placed fourth (11.87).
Miller said East can expect the same type of competition at the sectional that was shown Thursday.
“We’re going to fine-tune what we’ve been working on all year,” Miller said. “Our kids and coaches have done a great job of preparing for tonight and next week for sectional.”
Jennings County finished behind East in fifth with 56 points, two more than Bedford North Lawrence and Seymour
The two top finishers for Jennings County were Carter Leak with a second-place finish in the 3200 (9:57.8) and Dalton Craig with a second in the 800 (2:01.58). Craig, Alex Hendrix, Franklin Sanders and Ryan Gasper finished second in the 4×800 relay in a school-record 8:12.06.
Sanders placed fourth in the 1600 (4:28.32), and Chase Ketcham earned a fourth-place ribbon in the 200 (24.18.)
“I thought we did really well on the track,” Jennings coach Bill Ludwig said. “In addition to the three second places, Chase Ketcham ran well in the 200, and Isaiah Ertel had a pretty good 300 hurdle race. But when you don’t score any in the field events, you can’t expect to finish any higher than what we did.”