For the Daily Reporter
PENDLETON — Eastern Hancock track and field coach Jerry Cain was hurting from a recent medical procedure, but his team gave him reason to feel better going forward both next week and into next season.
“Even with (the IHSAA) bringing Lawrence North down here, we scored more than I thought we would,” Cain said. “They’re great kids and really fun to be around.”
Eastern Hancock joined Mt. Vernon at the Pendleton Heights track and field sectional Tuesday night, and both schools had individuals shine in a tough field that included Lawrence North, which won the team event with 129 points.
Lapel finished runner-up with 95 points, followed by Pendleton Heights (93.5 points), Mt. Vernon (89.5), New Castle (55) and Eastern Hancock (53) to round out the top six.
Both Mt. Vernon and Eastern Hancock won events Tuesday, and each will be sending multiple athletes to next week’s regional at Ben Davis.
Royals shine in field events
Eastern Hancock senior Shelby Mourey, who will be heading to McKendry College in Illinois next year for high jump, was the reigning high-jump champion at the sectional, and despite a self-described “awful” night, she defended her title with a jump of 5 feet, 2 inches.
“I was hoping to break my record from last year, but I guess I won, so that’s alright,” said Mourey with a laugh.
“I’ve only let Shelby practice high jump twice this year because of shin splints, so I’m very pleased with where she is,” added Cain.
Mourey was not the only Royals athlete to win a field event. Her teammate and fellow senior Kaycee Ruble won the shot put with a throw of 36 feet, five inches. Freshman Bailey Allen surprised her coach by throwing a personal best 32 feet, eight inches and advancing to the regional as well.
Even with Mourey and Ruble set to leave the program after graduation, Cain is positive his squad can continue to compete against even the big schools.
“This group of seniors has gone 146-20 against schools for the last four years. The senior class has had a great career, but we are also loaded with juniors,” Cain said.
Coleman leads host of Marauders to regional
Another Hancock County athlete shined bright at the sectional Tuesday night, and that was Olivia Coleman.
Coleman won the long jump with a jump of 17 feet, two inches, the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 57.61, and was the runner-up in the 200 meters. Next year, Coleman will head to IPFW to play soccer and run track.
“She’s back (from a sophomore year ACL tear). So I’m glad to see her get a personal best in cold weather like this,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Leonard said.
Coleman was not the only athlete for Mt. Vernon to advance to the regionals. Meg Schleter and Maddy King finished in the top three in the pole vault to advance. Alexa Christensen finished third in the 100 meters to advance, and freshman teammate Alexis Franklin has a shot to run the 100 at regionals if her fourth-place time qualifies.
The new format of state tournament this year calls only the top three performers from each sectional to earn automatic regional big. The remainder of the regional field of 16 is to be filled out with the best times and distances from non-top three finishers of all the sectionals feeding into a regional.
The 4×100 relay team of Franklin, Christensen, Hannah Davis and Aubri Benbow will run as a team at the regional. Benbow also advanced with a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.
“We ran really well,” Leonard said afterward. “We had some (personal records), but at this time of the year, you’ve just got to do what you’ve done all year and let the other teams fall off around you.”
Looking forward to the regional, Leonard said, “The hay is already in the barn. We’ve just got to stay where we’ve built up to and let the rest of the field come down to us.”
Anderson, Blue River Valley, Daleville, Eastern Hancock, Knightstown, Lapel, Lawrence North, Liberty Christian, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, Pendleton Heights, Shenandoah.