Greenfield-Central

Head coach: Reuben McCracken

2016 season: Greenfield-Central won its fourth consecutive Hancock County title last season under now retired head coach Jan Hacker. The Cougars also won the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet with 120 points, four points ahead of New Palestine, and were fourth overall at the Warren Central Sectional with 67 points. Greenfield-Central had two relays teams and three individuals, Sydney Cook, Savannah Girolami and Emily Jones, compete at the IHSAA State Finals.

Key losses: Savannah Girolami, Amanda Flora, Shelby Bowmer, Nicole Stephenson, Samara Fletcher

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Top returnees: Emily Jones (12), Ava Dickman (12), Jennifer Flora (12), Sydney Cook (11), Riley Sexton (11), Hannah Burkhart (11), Olivia Fortner (11), Mackenzie Polster (10), Sarah Muckerheide (10)

Quotable: “So far I think we are going to have a pretty solid team. I am aware that we did lose some (from last year). But we have some solid individuals returning and some freshmen who are going to be immediate factors and will score points for us. Sidney Cook is definitely going to be strong in the middle distance areas. Some of the team will be strong there. I think in hurdles we may surprise some people, and we should be solid in the throws. Jennifer Flora has taken a pretty good leadership position out there (throwing events). I know Emily Jones focuses mainly on pole vault, but she leads by example.”

— Reuben McCracken

Eastern Hancock

Head coach: Jade Galyan

2016 season: Eastern Hancock won the Mid-Hoosier Conference meet in its final season as a member of the conference under now retired head coach Jerry Cain. It was third at the Hancock County meet with 50 points and eventually finished fourth overall at the Pendleton Heights Sectional with 59 points against several teams much larger in size.

Key losses: Hope Spaulding, Alex Quillin, Cara Johnson, Emily Schrope, Kaycee Ruble, Karlee Gray, Maddie Lee

Top returnees: Taylor Stine (10), Annie Floyd (11), Bailey Allen (11), Haley Best (10), Liberty Durham (11), Maddie Stunda (11)

Quotable: “We are young, and we are so raw. We only have five girls (of 24) who have ever run before. But I see big things for us this year; they have so much talent. A lot of girls are former softball players or from other sports and wanted to try running. I am really excited. All the girls really seem to get along and are really encouraging. No matter what, they try to build each other up. We are such a cohesive unit already. I focus on personal records. I love to get first place, but I want to see the athletes grow. Even if they don’t win a lot, I want to see them grow. They can start out as a freshman and be the No. 5 person in their event. By the time they are a senior, they can be No. 1. That is my strategy. I have seen that success and know what it feels like.”

— Jade Galyan

Mt. Vernon

Head coach: Tim Leonard

2016 season: Mt. Vernon was fifth at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet behind Yorktown with 77 points. The Marauders finished in third at the Hancock County meet with 50 points and were third overall at the Pendleton Heights Sectional with 90 points.

Key losses: Chelsea Foster, Leah Chaves, Cameron McClure

Top returnees: Alexa Christenson (12), Alexis Franklin (11), Kiara Gibson (11), Riley Chambers (12), Meg Schleter (12), Maddie King (12), Katelyn Kiphart (12), Hannah Watson (11), Addison Cullom (10)

Quotable: “Our sprints are pretty good, but we don’t have a team where I think we are going to win every meet. But we do have some depth with our sprinters in Alexa Christenson, Alexis Franklin and Kiara Gibson. It will be a little different. I think we will also be strong in the 400-meter dash and the 400-meter relay. The whole key to this team is that I have to be patient with them. With (spring break), you don’t want to push them too hard when they get back and want them to be ready for May. We want to be ready for what I call my triple crown — county, conference and the sectional. We will be ready, we just need to put the pieces to the puzzle together. We have 12 freshman. It’s a good group, the overall team is an athletic team. Meg Schleter is going to help us all over. Riley Chambers (throwing) has been with us for four years. She is a hard worker.”

— Tim Leonard

New Palestine

Head coach: Kyle Ralph

2016 season: New Palestine finished second behind Greenfield-Central at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet with 116 points. The Dragons were second at the county meet behind the Cougars with 62 points and finished fifth at the Warren Central Sectional with 66 points. Then junior Lillie Cain finished 17th overall at the IHSAA State Finals in the shot put.

Key losses: Courtney Smith, Mattie Waggoner, Sarah Schwartz, Bailey Wallace, Shannon Jones

Top returnees: Lillie Cain (12), Olivia McKilligin (11), TeTe Hart (10), Victoria Crowder (10), Sophia Taylor (10), Grace Voelz (10), Kylie Dhonau (12), Natalie Lindsay (12), Hailee Holberton (11)

Quotable: “We have an interesting group coming back with our girls. They went from seventh in 2015 in the conference to second last year. Our girls team is actually incredibly young but very talented. Fortunately they are people who have at least been around for a year or so. Some people have been around a long time and have been consistent, like Kylie Dhonau in hurdles and relays. She’s doing a great job, and we look to people like that for leadership. Our eyes are really set on winning conference and county, that’s a real big deal for us. We haven’t done those things in quite some time. Lillie Cain already threw 39 feet this year during indoor, and we are really excited about her. That and Emily Jonas has done a great job as a senior thrower for us. We also have some unknowns who are talented. Freshman Jordan Reid qualified for indoor state and is outstanding in sprint events. TeTe Hart is fully healthy now and is doing softball and track. She ran really well at UIndy (indoor meet).”

— Kyle Ralph

Dates to Remember

2017 Key Dates: Hancock County, May 3; Hoosier Heritage Conference, May 11; Sectional, May 16; Regional, May 23; State Finals, June 3.

2016 Results

2016 Hancock County: Greenfield 98, New Palestine 62, Mt. Vernon 50, Eastern Hancock 50.

2016 Hoosier Heritage Conference: Greenfield-Central 120, New Palestine 116, Pendleton Heights 92, Yorktown 83.5, Mt. Vernon 77, Shelbyville 74, New Castle 42, Delta 17.5.

2016 State Finals

Greenfield-Central

1,600 relay: Sydney Cook, Amanda Flora, Savannah Girolami, Mackenzie Polster (23rd) 4:05.02.

3,200 relay: Sydney Cook, Katie Helgason, Savannah Girolami, Hayleigh Loyal (21st) 9:46.03.

400: Savannah Girolami (16th) :59.60.

800: Sydney Cook (23d) 2:22.26.

Pole Vault: Emily Jones (25th) 10-00.

Eastern Hancock

Shot Put: Kaycee Ruble (13th) 39-00.

New Palestine

Shot Put: Lillie Cain (17th) 37-11.50.

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.