The Columbus East boys track team has a lot of youth and first-time track athletes on its team, but that didn’t stop the Olympians from taking first place in its tri meet with Jennings County and Brownstown Central on Thursday.

The East boys outscored Jennings County 85 to 56, and Brownstown Central came in third with 26 points. The Panthers won the girls meet by scoring 71 points, with the Olympians placing second with 61 and the Braves third with 35.

Cody Horner led the Olympian boys by winning the 100 meters in 10.9 seconds and the 200 in 23.2.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

“We’ve got a big young team but it’s awesome,” East boys coach Scott Pherson said. “There are actually kids out here winning and doing stuff that have zero track experience.”

Swimmer Tanner Hatton and football player Seth Chandler are two of those athletes. They were on the 4×400 meter relay team, along with Isaac Van Curen and Luke Poindexter, that placed firs in 3:42.7. Poindexter also placed first in the 400 in 54.0.

The field events were led by Zarrien Johnson-Bey whose 6-foot high jump earned first place, and Crase Bergman who won the long jump with a 20-9 leap. Zach Clark won the shot put with a 45-2 throw, and Harrison McNeely won the discus at 124-4.

Isiah Ertel led the Panthers by winning the 110 hurdles (16.8) and 300 hurdles (42.3). Carter Leak took the 1,600 in 4:53.6 and the 3,200 in 10:37.6, and Keagen Craig captured the 800 in 2:09.5.

“East kind of dominated the sprints, and we dominated the distance,” Jennings boys coach Bill Ludwig said. “When it comes down to it, East was a little bit better than we were in the field events. We just have to keep trying to get better.”

Jennings is without a track this year because of renovations that are being done at the football field. However, the girls team still found a way to come away with a win, despite not being able to practice with all of its usual equipment.

“I was super nervous at the start of the season because that’s probably every coach’s worst nightmare in track,” Panthers girls coach Leah McLeod said. “You need hurdles, you need a high jump pit, you need pole vault. We don’t have a long jump pit, but this group of girls, they’re determined to win.”

Kayla Truesdell showed how determined she was by winning both the shot (38-5½) and discus (119-10). Alana Daeger took the high jump with a 5-0 jump. Other first-place finishes for the Panthers were Alexis Harsh in the 100 (12.5) and Izzy Daugherty in the 400 (1:04.9). Jennings also won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

East girls coach Glen Brown liked what he saw out of his girls and told them they must be a warm-weather team after witnessing the way they competed in Thursday’s warmer conditions.

Emily Stiles had a solid day for the Olympians, winning the 100 hurdles in 17.4 and the 300 hurdles in 51.5. Lizzy Frazier took the 800 in 2:42.8 before Sydney Wilson captured the 200 (27.2). East also won the 4×800 in 11:10.4.

“Obviously, everybody’s times dropped a little bit because of the warm weather,” Brown said. “We’re back to where I thought we should be. I’m very pleased with our effort and the way we came out and ran.”

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5632.