BLOOMINGTON — Columbus North’s Unified track and field team didn’t take long to look toward next season after finishing sixth in Saturday’s state finals.

With most of their Unified athletes and partners coming back next year, the Bull Dogs will look to build on that finish.

“I’m proud of the team today,” North coach Daniel Ho said. “They ran their hearts out and gave the best they had. We have a strong team with a lot of juniors this year, and I think we’ll have a better team next year. Hopefully, we’ll chase the championship next year.”

The Bull Dogs, who won last week’s Bedford North Lawrence Regional title, finished with 78 points Saturday. Merrillville edged Fort Wayne North Side 100-98 for the championship.

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Columbus North capped the meet with its best finish of the day, a second-place effort in the 4×100-meter relay. Anthony Ashcroft, Nathan VanDeventer, Ross Gill and Josh Holley ran 52.89 seconds, more than two seconds better than their regional time.

Bailey Hester finished third in the 100 in 12.14. Gill took third in the 400 in 55.89.

“I had a good run,” Gill said, “Josh had a nice run in his heat that got us some key points. It was a good effort today.”

Holley, a Unified athlete, finished fourth in his heat of the 400 in 1:04.96. He has been lowering his time by a couple of seconds at each level of the postseason.

“I felt great,” Holley said. “I beat my time again by two seconds. We’ve all had a great year this year. We’ve all done our personal bests. That’s all you can ask.”

Hester (17 feet, 8½ inches) and Matt Boldrey (16-9¾) finished fourth and fifth in the shot put. Noah Algee took fifth in the shot put (41-2), and VanDeventer was fifth in the 400 (56.37).

Anthony Ashcroft (14.70) and Devin Ashcroft (16.71) each finished fifth in their heat of the 100.

“Each meet, we’ve come together as a team really well,” Gill said. “Our teamwork has been awesome, especially here today, and we’re looking to build on that next year.”

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