For the Daily Reporter
WHITELAND — New Palestine scored 60 points to place fifth in the team standings at the first ever Whiteland boys track and field Sectional on Thursday.
Coach Kyle Ralph’s squad used a triumph in the 4×800-meter relay and other solid performances for an overall strong showing in preparation for next week’s Franklin Community Regional.
Greenfield-Central produced 32 points for seventh-place overall.
The Dragons started the meet strong with a convincing performance in the 3,200 relay.
Samuel Voelz, Caleb Eagleson, Riley Wilson and Spencer Corey teamed to run an 8:05.90. Runner-up Warren Central was just a shade under seven seconds slower with a time of 8:12.88 with Roncalli (8:17.69) taking third.
“We were going at it. We knew we Warren Central had good competition, and we knew Franklin Central was right behind us,” said Corey, who ran the anchor leg for the Dragons. “We were just going to try and stick with Warren, but we broke off and our guys really pushed through.”
New Palestine just missed shattering the sectional standard of 8:03.58 established by Franklin Central in 2003.
The Greenfield-Central quartet of Nathan Brand, Joel Carpenter, Clayton Jenkins and William Wickham took seventh in 9:17.39.
Dragons junior Brady Walden advanced in the 100-meter dash with a second-place finish in 10.94 seconds. Teammate Chase Crowder moved on to the Franklin Community Regional after placing second in the 1,600 in a time of 4:34.19.
“My strongest part was probably the last 250 meters. I started kicking in about that point,” said Crowder, who couldn’t quite catch first-place Warren Central senior Tyler Lowhorn, who ran a 4:31.83.
“I raced against (Lowhorn) earlier in the season. He beat me, and I learned from his strategy and how he runs. I was closer this time around.”
Walden came in fifth in the long jump with a best of 20 feet, 8¼ inches. Dragons’ senior Duke Blackwell was eighth having jumped 20-1¾.
New Palestine posted a time of 44.03 seconds to take fifth in the 400-meter relay. Greenfield-Central placed ninth in a time of 47.41.
In the 300 hurdles, New Palestine sophomore Jared Reed clocked a 44.13 to earn a seventh-place ribbon.
Cougars sophomore Cooper Hanson charged late to overtake New Palestine’s Wilson for second place in the 800-meter run. Hanson’s time was 2:00.99 compared to Wilson’s 2:01.06.
Meanwhile, Eagleson came in fourth with a time of 2:01.23.
“(Finishing fast) seems to have been the strategy in some races, but at conference the strategy was to take off as fast as I can so I can get an advantage and hold from there,” Hanson said. “But the last 100 meters seem to be my strong suit in most races.
“This was, by far, the best competition, I’ve faced all year. In all the other races I didn’t have anyone to push me.”
Greenfield-Central senior Zachariah Bishop extended his season coming in second in the 3,200 in 9:45.90, while Cougars junior Jacob Hansen came in fourth (10:03.73). New Pal freshman Kyler Harrison was eighth in 10:20.51.
Greenfield-Central pole vaulter Jacob Keener topped out at 11 feet, 6 inches to place fourth. New Pal’s Tyler Carrie (10-6) and Cougars sophomore Sean Paul (10-0) were sixth and eighth, respectively.
New Pal senior Andrew Yazel placed eighth in the discus with a top toss of 123-10.
The night’s final event, the 4×400 relay, saw Greenfield-Central’s foursome of Braden Brown, Samuel Grant DeKeyser, Elijah Diehr and Hanson come in sixth in 3:34.32. New Pal was eighth in 3:38.61.