For the Daily Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS — Amongst perennial powerhouses, the Mt. Vernon track and field team held its own Thursday and advanced four athletes onto the state finals.
At the North Central Regional, the three largest competing schools — Ben Davis, Lawrence North and Lawrence Central — combined to win 12 of the past 15 regional team titles, but that didn’t deter Mt. Vernon head coach Bruce Kendall and the Marauders.
“We have four guys going (to state) and I don’t remember the last time we had that many go to state,” Kendall said. “To go through this regional, though, that’s special.”
Aaron Rush was the first Marauder to qualify for state with his time of 4:19.93 in the 1600 meters. Rush started out the race in the back of the pack, but worked his way to the front during the second lap. Running out of gas down the home stretch he relinquished his lead but was far enough ahead to finish comfortably in third.
He pulled double duty in the distance events but was unable to qualify for state in the 3200. He finished sixth a time of 10:02.28.
Running alongside Rush was Christian Noble, who last week broke a 30-year old school record in the 3200 at Mt. Vernon.
Noble obliterated the competition with his time of 9:23.16 to win the regional and advance to state. He hung back to start the event but quickly surged to the front and never even made it close. Fellow teammates made the comment that Noble’s stride was so long that it equaled two strides of another runner.
Noble and Rush have been the distance kings for the Marauders all season long. The two have pushed each other at meets but also in practice throughout the season.
“Aaron has pushed me so much this season,” Noble said. “But not just on the track, it’s been in practice and it’s just nice having someone there with me.”
Running the long-distance events puts just as much pressure mentally on runners as it does physically. For Noble the key on Thursday and all year has been to push out everything that doesn’t involve running and just focus on the track ahead.
“Just staying on pace, keeping a good rhythm going and not to go out too hard has helped,” he said. “Just keeping it paced out keeps me focused.”
The high-flying Lincoln Hine topped the charts in the pole vault. He was the top-seeded participant entering Thursday with a seed mark of 12-10. He was unable to eclipse that result but didn’t have to win the event with a mark of 12-04.
For Hine, keeping the same ritual throughout the season has gotten him to where he is today.
“It’s like a ritual,” he said. “You do the same thing every time, and you think about getting your feet up because that’s all you have to do.”
Joining Hine at state in the pole vault will be Kyle Forsythe. The two have been competing together all season long and have finished in the top-three spots multiple times this season.
Hine reflected on how much it meant to him to not only win regional and get to state but to do it with his friend and teammate.
“That’s what we work for,” he said. “We’ve won county and conference and all these other things but to compete against him makes all the difference in the world, and I couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
Entering the pole vault competition coach Kendall was a little worried about how his athletes would perform.
“We have vaulted away from home in over month,” he said. “When you go away it’s not your pit anymore so coach Leonard spent the whole time with them focusing on the event.”
The Marauders had the third-most regional winners with two. Only Pike and Ben Davis had more individual winners.
“It’s just a great day for the program,” Kendall said. “Not winning the sectional last week was a bummer, but we really did well today.”
Eastern Hancock gains valuable experience
The Eastern Hancock Royals also performed admirably but were unable to send any of its competitors onto the Bloomington for the State Finals at Indiana University on June 5. The top three regional finishers in each even Thursday automatically qualified for state.
The Royals’ lone sprinter, junior Austin Smith, placed 12th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.38 seconds. Sophomore Aaron Riley cracked the top-eight in the shotput, finishing 8th with a distance of 47 feet, 8.5 inches. Fellow sophomore Reece Burkhart also broke through into the top eight, finishing eighth in the discus with his throw of 137-2.
Given another year to hone their skills, these Royals will be back on this stage to take the next steps in their track & field careers.
Date: Friday, June 5, 2015.
Site: Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex, Indiana University, Bloomington.
Order of Events
3 p.m. – Pole Vault, Long Jump and Discus
3:30 p.m. – High Jump; Shot Put
4:15 p.m. – 3200 M Relay Finals
5 p.m. – 100 M Dash Trials
5:15 p.m. – 110 M High Hurdle Trials
5:40 p.m. – 200 M Dash Trials
6:10 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
6:15 p.m. – 110 M High Hurdles
6:25 p.m. – 100 M Dash
6:35 p.m. – 1600 M Run
6:45 p.m. – 400 M Relay
7:05 p.m. – 400 M Dash
7:20 p.m. – 300 M Int. Hurdles
7:45 p.m. – 800 M Run
8:05 p.m. – 200 M Dash
8:15 p.m. – 3200 M Run
8:30 p.m. – 1600 M Relay
Note: Due to a delayed start of the Connersville Regional, results for Greenfield-Central and New Palestine track weren’t available Thursday evening. Look for a complete update in Saturday’s Daily Reporter.