BLOOMINGTON — Going into Saturday’s Boys Track and Field State Finals, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Columbus North’s Tucker Smith would defend his title in the shot put.
The 4×800-meter relay wasn’t quite as much a certainty, but the Bull Dogs came away with not only a state title, but a state meet record in that event.
“Setting an all-time state record is something amazing,” North coach Rick Sluder said. “To be a team that’s run the fastest in that relay is incredible, so I’m really proud of those guys.”
Juniors Mateo Mendez and Clayton Guthrie and seniors Matt Newell and Reese Kilbarger-Stumpff ran 7 minutes, 37.90 seconds, breaking the record of 7:38.62 set by Lawrence Central in 2011.
“We’ve been looking at really killing the 4×800 for years now, and for that to come through and being with Matt and with Mateo and with Clayton, and Kellen (Hottell) was with us the whole way, that meant so much,” Kilbarger-Stumpff said. “That was so great. And for coach (Andrew) Keefaber and coach Sluder working with us to set that up for us, I’m so grateful for that. That was incredible.”
Kilbarger-Stumpff also finished second in the 1,600, and Newell took third in the 800 for the Bull Dogs, whose third-place overall team finish was the best in Columbus North history. Columbus High School took second in 1952.
“It was great,” Newell said. “That (4,800 relay) was our top priority coming in today — to run well as a team there. The record, we had an idea for, but the main goal was to win, and that record came along with it and we can’t be any more happy than we are now.”
Columbus North’s Tucker Smith received his state medal after winning the shot put with a throw of 66 feet, 6 3/4 inches Saturday at the Boys Track State Finals in Bloomington.
Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Meanwhile, Smith didn’t better the state meet record in the shot that he set last year, but still was able to win with a throw of 66 feet, 6 ¾ inches. He earlier had finished second in the discus.
“I’m pretty happy with it,” Smith said. “The main focus for today was just getting the team points. It was a good meet to end on.”