FRANKLIN — One season ago, the names Spencer Corey and Caleb Eagleson did not exist in the Indiana high school track and field world — among other names on New Palestine’s roster.
What a difference a year can make, though.
In their first season running for the Dragons, Corey and Eagleson helped New Palestine’s 3,200-meter relay team finish second (8:02.24) overall behind Warren Central (7:59.54) on Thursday at the Franklin Community Regional to advance to the state finals next week.
The team’s time was also its fastest this season and set a new school record.
“They’ve made a lot of gains this season, and all four of them feed off each other really well,” New Palestine distance coach Eric Branch said. “We don’t have a weak link on the team. They are as disciplined as a team as I’ve seen.”
Veterans Riley Wilson and Samuel Voelz were the third and fourth runners on the 3,200-meter relay team and will also compete at the state finals.
“We are all peaking right now,” Corey said, who also plays football and soccer. “It (facing Warren Central) just pushed us harder.”
Center Grove won the regional title on Thursday, dominating with 112 points while Columbus North was second with 61.
New Palestine and Greenfield-Central finished 10th and 23rd, respectively, with 21 and 5 points.
For Greenfield-Central, the 1,600-meter relay team of Cooper Hanson, Elijah Diehr, Braden Brown and Samuel Dekeyser came in fourth. It missed third-place and the state finals by less than half of a second.
Veteran distance runner Zach Bishop was fifth in the 3,200-meter run in 9:40.40, just missing the state cut while teammate Jacob Hansen was behind him in 12th (10:08.87).
Cougars Jacob Keener finished eighth overall in the pole vault to place after clearing 12 feet.
Hanson also competed in the 800-meter run and was 15th.
New Palestine’s Brady Walden, who finished second in the 100 and fifth in the long jump at the Whiteland Sectional last week, just missed the state finals after finishing fifth in the 100-meter dash (11.4) and fifth in the long jump (20-05).
Teammate Duke Blackwell finished 12th in the long jump behind Walden.
Walden and David Judy, who finished 14th in the shot put, are also newcomers to the track this season.
“We really encouraged the multi-sport athletes to come over,” Branch said. “When they finally committed to it, it filled out team out quite a bit. It really helped depth wise.”
Wilson and Eagleson competed against one another in the 800-meter dash and placed 10th and 11th, respectively.
The IHSAA State Finals will take place on June 4 at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University. Events will begin approximately 3 p.m.
3,200 relay: 2nd – Eagleson, Corey, Wilson, Voelz, New Palestine (8:02.24)
100 dash: 5th – Walden, New Palestine (11.4)
1,600 run: 6th – Crowder, New Palestine (4:36.59)
400 relay: 7th – Dye, Walden, Greene, Blackwell, New Palestine (44.18)
800 run: 10th – Wilson, New Palestine (2:04.85), 11th – Eagleson, New Palestine (2:05.24), 15th – Hanson, Greenfield-Central (2:10.58)
3,200 run: 5th – Bishop, Greenfield-Central (9:40.40), 12th – Hansen, Greenfield-Central (10:06.87)
1,600 relay: 4th – Dekeyser, Diehr, Brown, Hanson, Greenfield-Central (3:32.26).
Long jump: 5th – Walden, New Palestine (20-05), 12th – Blackwell, New Palestine (18-01).
Shot put: 14th – Judy, New Palestine (43-05).
Pole Vault: 8th – Keener, Greenfield-Central (12-0).