With 108 kids on this year’s Columbus North boys track team, Lou Sipe has plenty of athletes from whom to pick.
The key for Sipe and the Bull Dogs will be finding a few of those athletes who can compete at the state level after North graduated all four of its state qualifiers from last season.
The Bull Dogs also hope to compete for a sectional title after finishing second behind Center Grove last spring.
“Obviously, we want to turn out a lot of personal records individually, but then as a team, we want to make a push for that sectional,” Sipe said.
“We have a couple dual meets in mind that we want to go after, but we have that sectional in mind to get as many guys through to regional and try to compete at that state level.”
North returns several regional qualifiers, including senior Nate Green in the pole vault, junior Kamal Maharjan in the discus, senior Joe Gedeon in the 110-meter hurdles and senior Karson Tays in the 1,600.
Junior Kaden Eaton and seniors Blaike Travis and Kevin Rudzinski are back from the regional-qualifying 4x800 relay team, as are seniors Shaquille Ash, Jamal Haliburton and Shannon McDonald from the regional-qualifying 4x100 relay squad.
Eaton and Tays lead a solid and deep distance crew that also includes juniors Andy Carr and Sam Ford and sophomores Seth Williams and Chase Ballard.
Senior Taylor Summa, who was able to compete in the sprints last season but unable to throw the discus because of an arm injury, will be back in those events.
“The weather has kind of kept us off the track,” Sipe said.
“We’re plugging away. We’re anxious for the season to start and for better weather.”
The Olympians have only four seniors this year but are led by a deep and talented junior class.
Junior Sean Owens in the 100 and junior Chase Banister in the 200 were regional qualifiers. Both ran on the regional-qualifying 4x100 relay team, and both also are long-jumpers.
“I’ve talked to those guys about getting in great shape because they’re going to be expected to do four events almost every track meet,” first-year East coach David Miller said.
Juniors Jason Kimmet and Jacob Hampton and senior Zack Herron return from the regional-qualifying 4x400 relay team.
Herron, junior Paul Baker and senior Dan Zwissler are back from the regional-qualifying 4x800 squad.
The Olympians have three solid throwers in senior Dakota Thompson, who was injured last season, along with junior Brock Patterson and senior Rob McKee. Junior Jordan Foster and Baker are the top distance runners.
“I think we have a lot of good talent coming back,” Miller said. “We’re excited. I think we should do pretty good this year.”
There’s nowhere to go but up for the Panthers after finishing eighth in the HHC.
Junior Tom Alsup finished 21st at state in the discus. Junior Jonah Woods was a regional qualifier in the 1,600.
Junior John Grimes just missed a trip to regional in the high jump. Seniors Conner Montgomery in the pole vault and Nathaniel Staples in the hurdles are among the top returners.
The Eagles will look to improve on a fourth-place finish in the Western Indiana Conference.
Senior Alden Westcott was a regional qualifier in the 3,200, and Westcott and junior Cody Whipker were on the regional-qualifying 4x800 relay team.
Other top athletes include senior Dylan Quackenbush in the sprints and pole vault, senior Connor Guingrich and sophomore Eddie Ryan in the distance events and senior Nick Harding in the sprints and 400.
New coach Ben Finke has only nine kids on this year’s team but has a potential state qualifier in senior Darren Brown.
Brown finished fourth in the regional in the 800, one spot away from a state berth, but is coming back from knee surgery over the winter. Senior Alex Saylor in the hurdles and sprints, sophomore Andrew Paetzel in the distance events and junior Ryan Christy in the throws are among the other top athletes.
The Cougars finished third in the Mid-Hoosier Conference last season and return a pair of regional qualifiers.
Juniors Chris Meadows in 300 hurdles and Luke May in the discus qualified for the regional. May also throws the shot, and Meadows also will try to run the 110 hurdles this year.
Other top athletes include Sam Studler in the 400 and high jump, Randall Canady in the sprints, Nick Grissom in the long jump and 400, and Byron Haley in the hurdles and long jump.
The Lancers will be looking for points in the postseason after being shut out in the Columbus North Sectional.
Juniors Dakota Sneed in the throws and Dakota Dayton in the sprints are the top returners. Edinburgh added sophomore Jon Mullins, a move-in from Franklin, for sprints and possibly long jump, and junior newcomer Tyler Smith in the distance events.
The Owls finished third in the HHC last season, led by a 1-2 finish in the pole vault from now-junior Ben Coomer and now-senior Hunter Klakamp.
Klakamp, however, had shoulder surgery this winter and will be unable to pole vault but will run hurdles and throw the shot.
Junior Jack Tormoehlen was a regional qualifier in the 3,200. Other top athletes include senior Cody Campbell in the shot put sophomore Daniel Hauersperger in the distance events and sophomore Zack Schlatterer and senior Jackson Stuart in the sprints.
With 21 boys out for the team, the Cougars have one of their biggest squads ever.
Seniors Mark Pinnow in the 300 hurdles and Matt Pinnow in the 800 were regional qualifiers.
They are joined by juniors Matt Zarick and Henry Welker to form a solid 4x400 relay team.
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