Conference Indiana looks to replace departing members

Earlier this year, it appeared that the Hoosier Hills Conference might be in a state of flux with multiple schools possibly looking to leave.

As it turned out, all the HHC members, including Columbus East, have agreed to stay for at least two more years.

But now, the conference involving Columbus North is looking for new members. Two Conference Indiana schools have announced in the past two months their intentions to leave.

First, Perry Meridian decided to join the Mid-State Conference. Then last week, Franklin Central announced it is bolting for the Hoosier Crossroads Conference.

“Franklin Central kind of kept all this to themselves,” North athletics director Jeff Hester said. “They were pretty quiet about leaving. Perry Meridian was pretty up front about their intentions.”

Both schools are planning to stay part of Conference Indiana for the 2017-18 school year. But after that, only six schools would remain.

Hester, who was Conference Indiana president from 2012-15, said the league contacted East, Roncalli and Whiteland after Perry Meridian decided it was leaving, but none of those schools were interested.

Hester said Conference Indiana officials will be meeting again as soon as everybody gets back from spring break to decide how to proceed.

“There aren’t a whole lot of options,” Hester said. “I would venture to say the next couple of years, the demographics of some of the schools we talked to will change. A couple of schools that we talked to said they may have some interest in the future. If not, we’ll remain as six and carry forward.”

Besides Columbus North, Franklin Central and Perry Meridian, Conference Indiana currently consists of Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Southport, Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South.

Locals qualify for indoor state

A few local athletes have qualified to compete in Saturday’s Hoosier State Relays, the unofficial state indoor track and field meet, at Indiana University.

The large-school division will begin at 8 a.m. The small-school meet starts at 2 p.m.

For big schools, Columbus North senior Mitchell Burton has the state’s No. 1 indoor long jump this winter at 22 feet, 4 1/2 inches. Columbus East’s T.C. O’Neal is tied for sixth in the high jump at 6-4. North’s Coleman Tennyson is ninth and Hunter Wolford 22nd in the shot put, and the Bull Dogs are 10th in the 4×200-meter relay.

Jennings County’s Kayla Truesdell is ranked 14th in the girls shot put for big schools.

In the small school division, Brown County senior Maddy Fields is tied for first in the girls pole vault at 10-0. The Eagles are fifth in the 4×200 relay, and Vivien Crimmins is 19th in the high jump and 22nd in the 60 hurdles.

The Brown County boys are ranked eighth in the 4×400 relay, ninth in the distance medley relay and 14th in the 4×800 relay. Isaiah Keefauver is tied for ninth in the high jump.

The top 18 athletes in each division in the pole vault and high jump and the top 24 in all other events were invited to Saturday’s meet. If athletes are unable to compete, those with the next-best performances in their events are invited until the limit of 18 or 24 is reached.

Crusaders earn honors

Columbus Christian senior Logan Roth has been named to the Indiana Christian Hoops State All-Star first team, and eighth-grader Blake Barker is the Newcomer of the Year.

Roth averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game to lead the Crusaders to the ICSAA state final four and a National Association of Christian Athletes Division V championship. Barker added 15.2 points and shot 37 percent from 3-point range.

Hauser players selected

Three players from the sectional champion Hauser boys basketball team will play in the Sixth Annual Indiana Elite North-South Basketball Invitational at noon April 8 at Danville High School.

Juniors Justin Compton, Mason Sherman and Andrew Titus will take part in the All-Star Game. Titus will be playing for the third year in a row, while Compton and Sherman will be making their first appearance.

Another Hauser junior, Alex Gross, was selected but will be unable to play.

Girls hoops meeting set

Columbus East girls basketball invites all prospective freshman players and their parents of guardians to an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Room G043 near the athletic office.

Coaches will discuss spring and summer plans and answer any questions.