Jason Kimmet, Jacob Hampton and Sean Owens spent the fall as wide receivers on Columbus East’s Class 4A state champion football team.
But before that, the trio were state qualifiers for the Olympians’ boys track team last spring. Now seniors, the trio hope to make return trips to Bloomington in June and take a few of their teammates with them.
Kimmet finished 16th and Hampton 23rd at state in the 400 meters. Owens took 22nd in the 100.
Six other East athletes, including five seniors, were regional qualifiers in individual events. Senior JT Voelker missed qualifying for state by one place in the long jump. Also making the regional were sophomore Steven O’Neal in the long jump, senior Brock Patterson in the shot put, senior James Robinson in the 110 hurdles, senior Paul Baker in the 800 and senior Chase Banister in the 200.
“We have a lot of seniors who have been around awhile and are good leaders, and then we have a lot of young kids who are learning what it takes to be successful at the high school level,” East coach David Miller said.
Those young kids include junior Matt Buffo in the pole vault, sophomore Rhett Myers in the shot and discus, freshman T.C. O’Neal in the 400 and high jump and sophomore Isaac Richardson and freshman Paul Bean in the distance events.
“We have a lot of good kids distance-wise,” Miller said.
Senior Brian Fischer, junior Chase Thompson and sophomore Mitchel Busse return from the regional-qualifying 4x400 relay team but will likely be in other events this season.
The Olympians will look to improve on a sixth-place finish in the Hoosier Hills Conference and a third in the Columbus North Sectional.
“We have a great group of kids who work hard and enjoy coming out and competing,” Miller said. “We’re looking forward to the season. We want to finish at the top of the conference, and as long as the kids work hard and keep developing, I think a lot of that should work out on its own.”
The Bull Dogs also return three seniors who were state qualifiers last season.
Andy Carr finished 15th in the 3,200, and Kaden Eaton took 16th in the 1,600 after both won regional titles. Chris Sublette was 17th at state in the 300 hurdles.
Junior Ben Porter, seniors Sam Ford and Michael Keller and junior Joe Wright qualified for this year’s Hoosier State Relays, the unofficial state indoor meet in the 4x800 relay. Juniors Chase Ballard and Seth Williams were among the top four runners on the state runner-up North cross-country team.
“We have a pretty solid distance group this year,” North coach Lou Sipe said.
Junior Michael Behling was a regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles. Carr, Ford and junior Kyle Newland ran on the 4x800 relay team that missed qualifying for state by one spot.
Senior Kamal Maharjan was a regional qualifier in the discus as a sophomore. Other top returners include senior Andrew Jones and junior Andrew Ng in the 400.
The Bull Dogs finished fourth in Conference Indiana and second in their own Sectional last season.
“We have a lot of guys coming back and a lot of young guys that are stepping up,” Sipe said. “We had a great offseason. Our freshman class is very competitive, so we’ll look for some of those kids to be contributors right away.”
The Jets have 15 athletes on the team, up from nine last year, when they tied for fifth in the Mid-Hoosier Conference and finished 11th in the Columbus North Sectional.
“We can do a lot more with 15 than with what we had last year,” Hauser coach Ben Finke said. “We have quite a few athletes who are all-around athletic and versatile. They can focus on one or two events and then go out and do another event or two and do a good job at it.”
Senior Ryan Christy missed qualifying for regional by one spot in the discus. Christy, who also throws the shot, and junior Lee Hamilton in the 400 and 800 are the top returners.
The Jets picked up a midyear transfer in sophomore Jacob Bostic, who has ran cross-country and track at East, and freshman distance runner Owen Rush. Junior Ryan Seim in the sprints and jumps and junior Christian Case in the hurdles and sprints are back after sitting out last season.
“We thought we’d be a lot more competitive in the dual meets and tri meets this year,” Finke said. “We’re definitely looking to improve our conference place.”
The Panthers return a two-time state discus qualifier in senior Tom Alsup.
Alsup also finished sixth in the shot in this year’s Hoosier State Relays. Senior Danny Gerringer was a regional qualifier in the shot, as were seniors Colton Pifer in the pole vault and Jonah Woods in 1,600.
Senior Preston Teltow, who ran the 400 last year, could try the 300 hurdles. Other top returners include senior Matt Gasper in the hurdles, senior John Grimes and junior Wes Furgason in high jump, junior Zach Miller in the sprints and long jump, junior Reilly Losey in the long jump and junior Kyle Lewis and sophomore Enrique Hendrix in the distance races.
Jennings finished third in the HHC and seventh in the Columbus North Sectional last season.
“I think we’re pretty solid throughout,” Jennings coach Bill Ludwig said. “We have some returnees in all the field events, and we have three pretty good distance runners.”
The Eagles could be rebuilding this season after finishing third in the Western Indiana Conference and fifth in the Bloomington North Sectional.
“We really lost the house this year,” Brown County coach Rob Abraham said. “Between the seniors, and Collin Hoskins transferring to Edinburgh and Cody Whipker moving to Scottsburg, we lost a lot of depth. We’re going to see how things play out with the people that are coming up and how they can fill in the void.”
Senior Issac Glusenkamp and junior Eddie Ryan return from the regional-qualifying 4x800 relay team. Glusenkamp was also on the regional qualifying 4x400 team.
Other top returners include senior Cody Leeper in the sprints and pole vault, sophomore Happy Lacy-Connell in the high jump and junior Evan Markley in the sprints and maybe hurdles.
The Cougars will look to improve on a sixth-place finish in the MHC and a seventh in the East Central Sectional.
Senior Chris Meadows was a regional qualifier in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Senior Byron Haley also qualified in the 110 hurdles, and senior Luke May was a regional qualifier in the discus as a sophomore.
South Decatur qualified its 4x100 and 4x800 relay teams to regional. Meadows and juniors Josh Campos, Randall Canady and Sam Studler were on the 4x100 team; and Meadows, sophomore Justin Clark and juniors Studler and Nick Griffon were on the 4x800.
The Cougars have added freshmen Dilan Cowins and Damon Allen, who tied tied for the school’s middle school record in the 100. Cowins, however could move up to the 800.
The Lancers will have a small team with eight athletes.
Senior Dakota Sneed won the MHC in the shot to lead Edinburgh to an eighth-place team finish. The Lancers were 10th in the Columbus North Sectional.
Sneed and junior Elijah Parmer throw the discus, although Parmer has a stress fracture in his foot and is hoping to be back by the MHC meet. Freshmen Addison Lawler in the distance events and Jacob Smith in the hurdles could contribute.
“(Lawler) ran cross-country and did well as a freshman, so we’re anxious to see what he can do this year,” Edinburgh assistant coach Derrick Lacey said. “We’ve set some goals for him this year, and I think they’re attainable. I think he’s going to surprise some people.”
The Owls captured the Bedford North Lawrence Sectional championship after finishing fifth in the HHC, and several athletes return from that squad.
Senior Mitch McCoy finished 12th at state in the 800. Senior Jack Tormoehlen was a regional qualifier in 1,600 last spring and was a state qualifier in cross-country in the fall.
Junior Zach Schlatterer missed qualifying for state by one spot in the 110 hurdles. Senior Ben Coomer in the pole vault and junior Daniel Hauersperger in the 3,200 were also regional qualifiers.
“Distance races are probably where we’re going to be strongest,” Seymour coach Randy Fife said. “We’ll be decently strong in the hurdles and and distance races. We’ll be a little bit weak in the sprints this year. We’re a little on the lean side this year.”
The Cougars have a new coach in Chris Crenshaw and will look to improve on a 10th-place finish in the BNL Sectional.
Crenshaw said his top athletes include senior Henry Welker and Matt Zarick in the 400; freshman Matt McKay in the long jump and hurdles; freshman Sam Marksberry in the 200, 400, high jump and long jump; sophomores Luke Onken and Nikolai Haak in the distance events; sophomore Tyler McKay in the 1,600 and high jump; junior Seth Patterson in the hurdles, sprints and long jump and juniors Tommy Davis and Nick Toppe and senior Nathan Murphy in the throws.
“I want these guys to have certain goals and shoot for them this year,” Crenshaw said. “If that happens, I think it will be a success.”