KADEN Eaton thought his high school running career was over after his ninth-place finish in the 1,600 meters at the state meet.
But three days later, the recent Columbus North graduate received a text from Byron Simpson, one of the Team Indiana coaches, about joining the squad for the Midwest Meet of Champions. With Bull Dog teammates Andy Carr and Mackenzie Caldwell already on the team, Eaton jumped at the chance.
Eaton made the most of his opportunity Saturday in Granville, Ohio. He ran 9 minutes, 12.20 seconds — a personal-best by eight seconds — to finish second in the 3,200, 19-hundreths of a second behind Ohio’s Bobby Johnson.
“Until Tuesday afternoon, I had no idea that I was going to be running that race,” Eaton said. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to see how fast I could go.”
Carr, who had finished third in the 3,200 in the state meet a week earlier, finished fourth at the Midwest Meet of Champions in 9:20.73. Eaton had a chance to run the 1,600 Saturday but wanted to run one final race with Carr.
“I felt like I had more potential left in the 3,200,” said Eaton, who will run at Belmont University. “I had been running the 1,600 the whole postseason and at conference, and I thought I had maybe another gear in the 3,200. Also, I thought it would be really cool to run my last high school race with Andy. He’s been such an awesome teammate, it was a great way to end my high school career.”
Caldwell finished third in the girls 3,200 in 11:01.10. Jennings County’s Tom Alsup took eighth in the boys shot put (52 feet, 9½ inches) and discus (159-5).
Indiana’s boys finished second and girls third in the annual meet featuring the top seniors from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Ohio swept the team titles.
Praise from Miss Basketball
This year’s Miss Basketball, Logansport’s Whitney Jennings, came away impressed with the Indiana Junior All-Stars, and in particular North’s Ali Patberg, last week.
Patberg helped lead the girls Juniors to an 82-61 win against Jennings and the Indiana (Senior) All-Stars at Logansport. The seniors salvaged a split by edging the Juniors 73-71 at North, then swept a pair of games from Kentucky over the weekend.
“She’s such a good player, and there’s a reason she’s going to Notre Dame,” Jennings said. “She’s so strong, she can handle the ball, she can shoot, she takes contact, she plays great ‘D.’ She’s just an all-around great player.
“That junior class is so strong, but I definitely think she’s one of the front-runners (for 2015 Miss Basketball),” she said.
Coach saw big wins coming
The Indiana All-Star boys dominated two games against the Juniors and two more against Kentucky, and one person who isn’t surprised is Columbus East coach Brent Chitty.
Chitty coached this year’s senior class last year as juniors when they swept two games from the Kentucky Juniors. That Indiana group also went 4-1 against other Midwestern states, losing only to Ohio on a last-second shot, to finish second in the National High School Basketball Coaches Association Rising Seniors Tournament.
“I knew they were very capable of sweeping the series,” Chitty said. “They’re a very talented group of young men. They’re very coachable, and the depth is just phenomenal. It didn’t surprise me that they could sweep in the fashion that they did.”
Locals in all-star games
Several area athletes are slated to play in the Indiana Class Basketball All-Star Classic on Friday and Saturday at Anderson University.
Patberg and North teammate Debie Gedeon will play in one of the Junior Girls games at 12:30 p.m. Friday. Jennings’ Brad Hunt will play in the 3A-4A Senior Boys game at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Columbus Christian’s Nick Bridgewater, Josh Miracle and Dalane Shaull will play in the ICST Christian High School All-Star game at 4 p.m. Saturday. Crusaders coach Kevin Roth will be one of the coaches in that game.
Baseball finals televised
Fox Sports Indiana will televise this weekend’s Baseball State Finals from Victory Field.
Noblesville plays Terre Haute North in the Class 4A game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s games feature Rockville and Shakamak in the Class A game at 1 p.m., Wapahani and Evansville Mater Dei in the Class 2A game at 4 p.m., and Andrean and Gibson Southern in the Class 3A game at 7 p.m.
Replays will be shown at 10:30 p.m. Friday (Class 4A), 5:30 p.m. Sunday (Class A), 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (Class 2A), 6 p.m. June 26 (Class 3A) and 2 p.m. June 28 (Class 4A).