NEW PALESTINE — Can someone dethrone Greenfield-Central? That is the big question entering the New Palestine Sectional. As the winners of the past three Sectional 15 titles, the Cougars will automatically enter the meet with targets on their backs. And with more depth this season than in recent memory, according to head coach Emily Logan, Greenfield-Central should be in the mix for a championship once again.
At the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet last month, with three of the same teams, the Cougars (463.5) topped the field. Sectional foes New Palestine (217), Mt. Vernon (194) and New Castle (116.5) followed.
Regardless of the team winner, though, several local swimmers will compete for individual sectional titles. Last season, Mt. Vernon junior Lydia Tierney won two individual events and was on two winning relay teams.
New Palestine senior Courtnee Coffman also claimed two individual titles last season as a junior.
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Greenfield-Central sophomore Carley Logan won a sectional title in her first postseason meet, while teammate Kortney Hodnett also found her way to the top of the podium in one event. The pair teamed with then-juniors Krista Zornes and Ashley Finney to win a relay. Then-junior diver Shyanne Milne advanced to regional action.
Eastern Hancock’s Shelby Kell owns 10 school records and will challenge in the 500-yard freestyle, among other events, on Saturday.
2016 sectional: Greenfield-Central won the sectional meet for the third season in a row, while five individuals advanced to the state finals. Carley Logan, Krista Zornes, Kortney Hodnett and Ashley Finney won the 200-yard medley relay. Logan won the 500-yard freestyle and Hodnett took first in the 100-yard breaststroke. Shyanne Milne was third overall in the diving portion of the meet. Cougars head coach Emily Logan was named Sectional 15 Coach of the Year.
This season: The Cougars have wins against Mt. Vernon, New Palestine, Pendleton Heights, New Castle, Shelbyville, Lawrence Central, Indian Creek, Oak Hill, Bishope Chatard and Franklin Central this season in addition to winning the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet. Greenfield-Central also finished fifth at the Hamilton Southeastern Splash N’ Clash.
Who to watch: Carley Logan, Krista Zornes, Kortney Hodnett, Ashley Finney, Megan Coffin, Anne Marie DeKeyser.
Diving: Shyanne Milne and Maci Montgomery lead the Cougars in diving this season. Milen won her third-straight HHC title last month, while Montgomery was fourth overall.
2016 sectional: New Palestine finished third (299) at the sectional meet last season. Courtnee Coffman won two sectional titles and set program marks in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. Her teammate, Shannon Jones, also set a new school record with an 11-dive score of 335.05, which placed her sixth overall.
This season: The Dragons lost to Greenfield-Central but have beaten Eastern Hancock, New Castle, Rushville and Scecina earlier this year. The girls also beat Mt. Vernon and finished third at the East Central Relays.
Who to watch: Courtnee Coffman, Jessica Rogers, Maria Virt, Hailee Holberton, Anna Doolin, Bethany Neeb, Natalie Shanahan.
Diving: Karen Shriver and Kylie Dhonau lead the Dragons in diving this season. They were eighth and ninth at the HHC diving meet.
2016 Sectional: Mt. Vernon finished second (308) at the sectional last season. The Marauders, which were second in 2015 as well, advanced four individuals to the state finals, led by a standout performance from Lydia Tierney. Tierney teamed with Gloria Gonzalez, Riley Chambers and Haley Moore to win both the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays for the second time in as many years, in addition to her individual titles in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly.
This season: The Marauders lost to Greenfield-Central and New Palestine but have beaten Shelbyville, Hagerstown, Cathedral and Warren Central this season. They were also second at the Hamilton Heights Invitational.
Who to watch: Lydia Tierney, Zoey Musick, Charlie True, Maddie King, Beth Ahonen, Madalyn Mull, Riese Thornton.
Diving: Maddie King and Halle Strege lead the Marauders in diving this season. King was second at the HHC meet.
2016 sectional: Eastern Hancock finished ninth overall (102.5) at last season’s meet. Shelby Kell led the team, which broke four school records, with two program-best finishes. She was sixth in the 100-yard freestyle and eighth in the 50-yard freestyle. Tatum Profitt also set a school record in the 100-yard breaststroke and teamed with Kell, Alyson Ray and Sinah Griessler to break the 200-yard medley relay record.
This season: Under head coach Derek McCormick, the Eastern Hancock girls’ swim team continues to make dramatic improvements each season. With numerous lifetime and season-best swims per meet, the Royals have wins over Lawrenceburg, Broadway, Tech, Rushville, Liberty Christian, Ritter, Herron, Scecina, New Castle and Elwood this season, according to online results.
Who to watch: Shelby Kell, Tatum Proffit, Alyson Ray, Jenna Hancock, Megan Marcum, Ellie Griesmeyer.
Diving: No diving at the school.
New Palestine Sectional
New Palestine Girls Swimming Sectional
Who: Centerville, Connersville, Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Hagerstown, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, New Palestine, Richmond, Rushville.
When: Thursday, Feb. 2 at 5:30 p.m. (prelims). Saturday, Feb. 4 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (finals)
Where: New Palestine High School Swimming Facility