Bull Dogs finish runner-up in sectional; East takes seventh

Columbus North’s Drew Schiefer competes in the discus during Thursday’s Columbus North Sectional.

Tommy Walker | For The Republic

Columbus North started with a flash and finished with a bang Thursday night.

The Bull Dogs opened with a victory in the 4×800-meter relay and closed it with a win from Drew Schiefer in the shot put. In between those bookends, Jace Works ran to victory in the 800, and several other North athletes put together season-best performances to give the Bull Dogs 116 points, second only to Center Grove’s 185 in the North Sectional.

“Our 4×800, it just breathes energy when you start off with such a huge performance,” North coach Rick Sluder said. “The kids feed off of it. It was just a really special night for us. We’ve been pushing toward this, and they performed. I’m just really proud of this group.”

Draven Martinez, Logan Vanzant, Works and Akot Tong ran 7 minutes, 47.06 seconds in the 4×800. Works, who had been anchoring most of the season, switched spots with Tong, and both ran 1:53 splits.

“In the 4×800, I think we did a good job as a team,” Works said. “Our coach planned it out perfectly because he had us in that order for a specific reason, and I think we executed what we came here to do pretty well.”

Works came back to win the 800 in 1:54.80. The sophomore took the lead from the opening gun, running a 55-second first lap.

“I knew I had to go out hard,” Works said. “I can’t get stuck in a pack, or else I’m going to fall. So I just went out hard and made sure I didn’t let anyone pass me in that last 100.”

Schiefer threw 53 feet, 2 inches on his first attempt in the shot, and that held up for the win. The sophomore also finished second in the discus with a throw of 150-7.

“I came in and threw a good throw off the bat (in the shot),” Schiefer said. “I got a little tired from there, but I thought I did good overall. I’m going to focus on my week of practice, take it as it goes and go out and throw big at regional.”

Tong also finished second in the 800 (1:55.72) and teamed with Ben Stevens, Works and Derek Arau-Ortiz to take second in the 4×400 relay (3:25.03). Liam Milne was third in the 110 hurdles (15.09), and Jonny Klaus placed third in the 3,200 (9:35.06).

The top three in each event automatically qualified for Thursday’s Greenfield-Central Regional. Beyond that, the next-best four times or distances in each event from the four feeder sectionals to that regional advance. The Connersville and East Central Sectionals were contested on Thursday, but the Greenfield-Central Sectional was postponed to Friday.

A few Bull Dogs are in excellent position to earn call-backs, including fourth-place finishers Martinez in the 1,600 (4:25.89), Owen Russell in the 300 hurdles (41.51), Adam Reckers in the 3,200 (9:40.01) and North’s 4×100 relay team (43.80). Reckers was a late replacement for Neal White, the runner-up in the 3,200 in the state indoor meet, who was battling sickness.

“Missing Neal was a big deal because he’s a legitimate state title contender, and we were missing some people in a couple field events,” Sluder said. “But (Klaus and Reckers) rose to the occasion. We went third and fourth in that tough 3,200. Those guys hung in there and both ran (personal records), and in the 1,600, Draven ran a big PR.”

Other potential call-backs for North include fifth-place finishers Bryce Harriman in the shot (45-3), Russell in the 110 hurdles (15.66), Matt Burge in the 100 (11.51) and Milne in the 300 hurdles (42.99),

“We had guys that we doubled a lot,” Sluder said. “Ben Stevens had a big night for us running a lot of events and scoring in all of them. We had some guys make finals in the sprints and the hurdles, and then those guys did a fantastic job in their finals races. We scored big points in the throws. Hurdlers, sprints, relays were fantastic. We scored in a lot of events tonight. It was a great performance all up and down the lineup.”

Columbus East finished seventh with 19 points. Jared Brooks took fifth in the discus (140-2) and sixth in the shot (45-1 1/2); and Brody Miller, Austin Menefee, Rendon Scott and Kadyn Johnson-Bey were fifth in the 4×100 relay (44.17).

“We got some PRs, which is what we always look for,” East coach Jerone Wood said.

Edinburgh finished ninth with eight points, all coming on a second-place effort from Jackson Hartwell in the long jump (21-6 1/4).

Hauser finished 11th with two points. Luke Bruner took eighth in the discus (132-11), and Nolan Dailey was eighth in the 3,200 (10:16.36).