GREENFIELD — New Palestine junior Brady Walden did his typical stretch at the finish line — only he didn’t need to.
Walden won the 100-meter dash (11.6) by almost half of a second, but it was just the beginning. He took home three other blue ribbons Wednesday at the Hancock County Track and Field Meet to help the Dragon boys finish first overall with 81.5 points.
Walden also won the 200-meter dash (23.00), the long-jump competition and was a part of a winning relay team as New Palestine won its first county title since 2013.
Mt. Vernon finished in second with 61 points while Greenfield-Central was third with 54 points. Eastern Hancock finished in fourth with 47.5 points.
New Palestine led early (30-22) after five events and 47-38 after nine to hold on for the win.
“(Walden’s) been peaking at the right time,” Dragons first-year head coach Kyle Ralph said. “He’s really been doing a great, job and tonight was another highlight of his season.”
“Even when you’re ahead like that, you need to practice the little things. Last week at Zionsville, that lean actually won him the race.”
Veteran Mt. Vernon distance runners Christian Noble (athlete of the meet) and Aaron Rush, both seniors, made their presence known, as Noble won the 1,600-meter run with Rush finishing in second. Noble also won the 800-meter run (1:59.72) but was challenged by junior Clayton Brumfield of Eastern Hancock, who was seeded first, at the finish line.
Noble collected a third blue ribbon in the 3,200-meter run. His time of 4:10.89 in the 1,600 set a meet record, though, and is currently the fastest time in the state this season.
Eastern Hancock junior Reece Burkhart, who entered the meet seeded first in the discus throw and second in the shot put, won the discus throw on Wednesday (122-04). Garrett Mauk of Mt. Vernon was second.
Burkhart won the shot put, too (46-05).
New Palestine won two relays, as well, as the Dragons 3,200-meter relay team of Spencer Corey, Caleb Eagleson, Samuel Voelz and Riley Wilson finished in first while Mt. Vernon was second. The win (8:15.66) broke the meet record set in 2011 by the Marauders (8:18.84).
“It’s exciting, now we have a little bit of momentum going into conference,” Ralph said. “We really wanted to come out and perform at both. We think we have our lineup set. The kids have bought into the competition aspect.”
In the 400-meter relay, the Dragons also took first (44.33) as Logan Greene, Reid Dye, Duron Ford and Walden teamed together to finish ahead of Eastern Hancock.
For the Royals, senior Cole Cochard won the 110-meter hurdles in 16.95 seconds while Austin Hart was second for New Palestine.
The Cougars got a first place finish from senior Eli Diehr in the 300-meter hurdles with freshman teammate Luis Rizo finishing right behind him in second. Senior teammate Jacob Keener easily won the pole vault for Greenfield-Central (11-06).
Also for Mt. Vernon, senior Brisco Wood passed New Palestine junior Spencer Corey late to win the 400-meter dash in 51.09. Corey was second in 51.54.
Also for the Dragons, freshman Laine Schonauer won the high jump with a final leap of 5-foot-10.
Last season, Mt. Vernon scored 88 points to just squeeze out a win against Greenfield-Central (85 points). New Palestine followed in third with 40 points, followed by Eastern Hancock with 31 points.
Greenfield-Central’s boys remain in the lead with a total of 14 county championships in the 35 years the meet has been held. The Cougars are followed by New Palestine (12) and Mt. Vernon (nine). Eastern Hancock has yet to win a team title.