Marauders set the pace

FORTVILLE — Near the entrance of the football stadium at Mt. Vernon, the high school’s track and field records are posted prominently. After Thursday night, some renovations will be needed.

“They had just put up my two-mile record this spring,” Mt. Vernon senior Christian Noble laughed. “They’re going to have to scrape off that one and do it again. I’d probably wait until state to do that one, though.”

As the defending champion in the 3,200-meter run, Noble retained his title during the Mt. Vernon Sectional and crushed the previous record with a 9:08:67 as the Marauders boys track team finished third overall.

Lawrence North won the team title with 183 points and Anderson was second at 109, but Mt. Vernon’s 106 points came in record fashion.

Noble, who placed seventh at state as a junior with a time of 9:14.83, captured the 2014-15 sectional title with a 9:15.75. His seed time for Thursday’s sectional was 9:32.00.

Once the 3,200 began, Noble left little doubt as he lapped nearly every runner in the field but three or four and built a lead of more than 100 yards.

“That first mile was pretty relaxed and then I started feeling that 1,600 I ran earlier,” Noble said. “I kind of had to raise my mental game in that last mile. The plan was to run it under nine, but the 1,600 hurt me a little.”

The sectional record stood at 9:13.16, which Pendleton Heights’ Brock Hagerman set in 2007.

“I knew I just missed it last year by three seconds, so I wanted to get it this year to make my mark,” Noble said.

The 4×400 relay team followed suit in the final event of the night as the team of Blake Miller, Aaron Rush, Dushawn Tunstall and Nathan Casler broke a school record that seemed unbreakable.

Set in 1974, the quartet rewrote history with their time of 3:27.30 for third in the relay.

“When it comes to the 4×400, it’s about digging deep,” Briscoe said. “By that time everyone has at least one race under their belt. It’s about finding out what you have left.”

The Marauders had plenty and didn’t hold back earlier either.

“If Christian is going to break records, then by golly, we’re all going to break records,” Rush joked. “We tried last week, this week and we’re going to give it everything every time.”

Rush looked to set the pace in the 1,600-meter run, taking the lead twice against Lawrence North’s Kyle Harris on the second and third laps.

Noble, who waited back in fourth early on, pushed to third midway through the race before Pendleton Heights’ Parker Jones made his final kick.

Jones, who had a seed time of 4:18.27, passed the leaders on the second turn of the final lap and fended off both Rush and Noble down the final stretch. Jones crossed the finish line with a winning time of 4:17.63, which set a new sectional record.

Rush was second at 4:24.40, and Noble was third at 4:24.58. Harris was fourth at 4:28.40.

The previous sectional record was 4:18.58 established by Ethan Hoeft of Lawrence North in 2015. Jones finished third behind Rush and Hoeft that same year.

Noble’s sectional seed time in the 1,600 at 4:10.89 was first among all competitors. He recorded the time at the Hancock County Meet earlier this month.

It was the second fastest time posted in the state this year behind Carmel’s Ben Veatch (4:10.34), according to

Rush qualified and placed ninth at state in the 1,600 last year. He ran a 4:16.63 at state as a junior. At sectional last season, the 2015-16 All-State cross country runner, who placed 19th this past November, ran a 4:21.64 in the 1,600 to take runner-up.

Wood entered the sectional as one of five competitors with a seed time under two minutes at 1:59.10 in the 800-meter run.

Last spring, Wood posted a 1:57.78 to take second at sectional. This year he saved his best for the final turn, overtaking both Harris and Anderson’s Jason Kabir to win in 1:57.19.

“The last 100, I just wanted to win,” Wood said.

“I tried to give all I had left to win. I wanted to make it through with my time and win.”

Harris was second at 1:57.24. Kabir was third at 1:58.28 after leading the race on the final lap.

Brisco also teamed with Brandt True, Brian Bozymski and Alex Carver to place third in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 8:37.70.

The Marauders finished 1-2 in the high jump, securing their fifth and sixth regional qualifiers of the night, among others that will head to the North Central Regional next week.

Casler took first with a sectional championship throw of 5 feet, 11 inches. Mark Lough was second at 5-10.00, winning on a tiebreaker against Daleville’s Dylan Hicks and Lawrence North’s Jordan St. Clair.

Lough was seventh at sectional last season, hitting his ceiling at 5-06. At this year’s county meet two weeks ago, Lough peaked at 5-06, but he later reached 5-08 at a soggy Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet the following week.

Casler cleared 5-10 for runner-up at HHC and was third at 5-08 during the county meet.

“This gives us a lot of momentum for next week,” Casler said. “We’ve set the bar high, so it should help stay motivated and continue to push ourselves.”

Jordan Ashton recorded a jump of 11-06 to take third in the pole vault and automatically qualify for regional. Damari Gatewood was third in the long jump at 21-01.00.

Eastern Hancock’s Reese Burkhart registered a throw of 45-11.75 to take third in the shot put.

The top-three finishers in each sectional event advance to next week’s North Central Regional along with the next four fastest times among the four sectional feeder sites.

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Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at or 317-477-3227.