Greenfield-Central

Head coach: Scott Burton

2016 season: Greenfield-Central finished seventh at the Whiteland Sectional with 32 points and was third at the Hancock County meet with 54 points. It finished fifth at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet just behind Pendleton Heights with 73.5 points.

Key losses: Jacob Keener, Elijah Diehr, Zach Bishop, Thomas Hembree, Austyn Tift

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Top returnees: Jacob Hansen (12), Cooper Hanson (11), Tate Helm (10), Parker Niemeier (10), Braden Brown (11), Samuel Dekeyser (11)

Quotable: “We are really young this year, so I am looking to give the young guys experience in our upcoming meets. We are trying to build as we have success this year. Braden Brown is back in the long jump and should be able to help us out in a few relays. Jacob Hansen was a regional qualifier last season in the 3,200-meter, and Cooper Hanson was a regional qualifier in the 800-meter. Those guys are where we are really looking to get our points. Our sprints are where we are looking to build our youth. Tate Helm (shot put) threw 44 feet during the indoor season and was one of the top throwers among the conference schools. We have several new guys in the pole vault that are showing some potential early. Parker Niemeier and Conner Kinnaman (distance) are stepping up early. They add to our distance depth, which has kind of been the strong suit of the team the last few seasons.”

-Scott Burton

Mt. Vernon

Head coach: Bruce Kendall

2016 season: Mt. Vernon won the Hoosier Heritage Conference title and finished second behind New Palestine at the Hancock County meet. It eventually finished third at its own sectional with 106 points. Senior Christian Noble finished second in the 3,200-meter run at the IHSAA state finals, while teammates Aaron Rush and Brisco Woods, both seniors, were ninth in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs, respectively.

Key losses: Christian Noble (Lee University), Aaron Rush, Brisco Wood, Brandt True, Eric Larson, Ashton Jordan

Top returnees: Donovan Bigelow (12), Nathan Casler (12), Blake Miller (12), Jailin Porter (10), Drew Bluethmann (11), Alex Carver (11), Mark Lough (12), Damari Gatewood (11), Garrett Mauk (12), Conner Nelson (11)

Quotable: “We graduated a really strong distance group. They were so strong, our younger distance kids really never had a chance to do anything. They are getting their first shot. Our jumps and sprints are pretty strong. I think we are out of balance compared to a year ago, though. The throwers are a little stronger. We have won the conference the last two years and every year we’ve won, we have done it a different way. Nathan Casler looks really strong in the jumps so far and is going to help us no matter where we put him. Jailin Porter had a great indoor season and is going to shine in the dashes. Alex Carver is going to be a force for us, too, in the middle distances — and he is fast. We just have to see where the distance takes us.”

-Bruce Kendall

New Palestine

Head coach: Kyle Ralph

2016 season: New Palestine won its first Hancock County track title since 2013 and finished second at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet behind Mt. Vernon. The Dragons were fifth at the Whiteland Sectional with 60 points and advanced a relay team to the IHSAA state finals. Spencer Corey, Riley Wilson, Caleb Eagleson and Samuel Voelz teamed together in the 3,200-meter relay to finish 15th overall at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Key losses: Riley Wilson, Logan Greene, Reid Dye, Zach Lambdin, Duke Blackwell, Tyler Carrie, Andrew Yazel

Top returnees: Brady Walden (12), Samuel Voelz (12), Spencer Corey (12), Jordan Shanahan (12), Caleb Eagleson (12), Chase Crowder (12), David Judy (12), Demetre Mitchell (12), Kyler Harrison (10), Lane Schonauer (10)

Quotable: “We have high expectation for the boys team this year. We had some good finishes last year and were pretty pleased. The year before we were seventh in the conference, and we went to second last year. We are really, really focused on trying to bring a conference championship back this year. We have a lot of veterans back, which is our core. We have a really good senior group. That is kind of what you want in track, guys who have been there and done it before (to lead). We have done a good job filling in holes with some young kids. Lane Schonauer has come back from a surgery from football season and has done a good job with high jump. He just got cleared a month ago and is jumping 6-foot already. Colby Jenkins, a sophomore, is going to play baseball and run and has been a big addition to our sprints. We are building a program, and you can tell things are starting to get better as the years go on. It’s what it’s all about, getting the kids out there to compete.”

-Kyle Ralph

Eastern Hancock

Head coach: Clayton Shultz

2016 season: Eastern Hancock said farewell to the Mid-Hoosier Conference last season by winnings its third conference championship in four years (127 points). It finished fourth at the Hancock County meet with 47.5 points and sixth at the Mt. Vernon Sectional with 33.5 points.

Key losses: Austin Smith, Clayton Brumfield (Franklin College), Cole Cochard, Braden Dickey

Top returnees: Reece Burkhart (12), Blayze Serber (10), Corbin Jennings (12), Gabe Blake (12), Skyler Schrope (10), Will Huffman (11), Jayson Bowers (11), Devyn Brinson (12), Riley Settergren (11), Kyle Moore (10), Sam Cazee (11)

Quotable: Not available

2017 Dates to Remember

Key Dates: Hancock County, May 3; Hoosier Heritage Conference, May 11. Sectionals, May 18; Regionals, May 25; state finals, June 2.

2016 Results

2016 Hancock County

New Palestine 81.5, Mt. Vernon 61, Greenfield-Central 54, Eastern Hancock 47.5.

2016 Hoosier Heritage Conference

Mt. Vernon 123, New Palestine 105.5, Delta 84.5, Pendleton Heights 75.5, Greenfield-Central 73.5, Shelbyville 65, Yorktown 51, New Castle 40.

2016 state finals

Mt. Vernon

3,200: Christian Noble, 2nd (9:04.71)

1,600: Aaron Rush, 9th (4:18.31)

800: Brisco Wood, 9th (1:57.18)

New Palestine

4×800 relay: Spencer Corey, Caleb Eagleson, Samuel Voelz, Riley Wilson, 15th (8:06.05)

Author photo
Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or kmills@greenfieldreporter.com.