FORTVILLE — Game planning prior to Thursday night’s Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet was a given for New Palestine boys track coach Kyle Ralph. Playing historian, well, that was just an added bonus.

“I looked it up before we left today,” Ralph said. “The last time our boys and girls have won conference in the same year was 1988. It’s been almost three decades.”

Not anymore.

Following up the girls track team’s HHC championship Tuesday night, the Dragons doubled up at Mt. Vernon High School, winning the boys first conference championship since 2009.

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“The focus of the team as a whole was to come in here and do what we couldn’t do last year — to win a conference title,” New Palestine senior sprinter Brady Walden said.

Much like the Dragons’ title march toward their Hancock County title a week ago, depth equaled dominance as the team scored in every event. The Dragons won six events to pile up 132.5 team points. Runner-up Pendleton Heights finished with 118. Mt. Vernon was third at 109.

Walden was responsible for four first-place finishes during the Dragons’ quest, setting two official HHC Meet records in the process.

In the 100-meter dash, Walden won in 11.02 seconds. In the 200, he posted a time of 22.46 to win while breaking the meet record set in 2008 at 22.58.

He seized another meet record in the long jump at 21 feet, 7 inches for first-place. The former mark was set in 2011 at 23-02.50.

Walden also teamed with Adam Brickens, Colby Jenkins and DuRon Ford as the anchor on the HHC champion 4×100 relay team at 43.65.

“Track is a sport where when you have a stud that you know when you walk into a meet he’s going to be able to pull 30 to 40 points himself, if he has a great day, it makes the whole meet for you,” Ralph said.

Walden wasn’t a one-man show though, he emphasized while holding the team trophy cradled under his right arm and four medals in his left hand.

“After we saw how good the 4×800 relay did today, it honestly just put momentum behind the whole team to push as hard as we could this whole meet,” Walden said.

The 4×800 relay set the tone, winning the meet’s first event in 8:20.23. The group of Caleb Eagleson, Spencer Corey, Chase Crowder and Sam Voelz breezed to an easy victory, despite not going anywhere near full speed.

The group, which placed at state a year ago, set the school record in the relay at 7:52.55 last month at Franklin Central. With sectional next Thursday on the same track at Mt. Vernon, the quartet is eager to dial it up.

“We haven’t really been pushed yet this year, so it’s going to be really cool to see how we do hopefully down (at state). I can’t wait to see how we do against teams on the north side like Carmel and Westfield (this postseason),” Voelz said. “It’s cool being the small little town of New Pal and maybe take it to them. The best has yet to come for us and for all events really.”

The 4×100 relay team’s time of 43.52 at the county meet last week set a school record. Voelz ran a school record time of 1:53.40 in the 800 this year, and Eagleson established a new mark in the 3,200 last month at 9:33.13.

“Our team is extremely good in depth this year. It’s honestly, I believe, the best teams we’ve ever had as a whole,” Walden said.

Voelz, a senior, won the team’s other blue ribbon in the 400 at 49.49, but he had to settle for second in the 800 (2:01.47) as Pendleton Heights senior Parker Jones set a pair of HHC records.

Jones ran the 1,600 in 4:18.90, which bested Mt. Vernon Christian Noble’s mark of 4:19.30 set last year. Arabians’ teammate Luke Upton, a sophomore, was second at 4:20.43 while Eagleson and Crowder came in at third and fourth, respectively.

Jones won the 800 in a record time at 1:56.81.

“That’s a stud for another team that you have to counter the points he’s going to get. If you don’t have somebody that can counter those points, then you’re in a lot of trouble,” Ralph said. “To our team’s credit, outside of an incredible individual effort by (Walden), a lot of guys picked up points for us. We doubled a bunch of events and we had a 1-2 in the 400. We did some great stuff overall.”

Corey was runner-up in the 400 behind Voelz while Eagleson was second in the 3,200 at 9:48.20 behind Upton, who won in 9:41.84.

Mt. Vernon’s Nathan Seifert was the only other county participant to win a HHC title. The senior’s throw of 48-03 was enough to wrap up the shot put championship.

“It’s a great team win before sectional. I know this is a super special team for New Pal track. We’ve already broke four school records this year,” Voelz said. “I think we could possibly break a few more maybe.

“We had 40 points from Brady alone with his four events. The distance guys are strong this year. We have a great group.”


2017 Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet

Team Scores: New Palestine 132.50, Pendleton Heights 118, Mt. Vernon 109, Delta 68.50, Yorktown 61, Shelbyville 53, Greenfield-Central 42, New Castle 40

Event Results

4×800: 1. New Palestine (8:20.23), 2. Mt. Vernon (8:31.63), 3. Pendleton Heights (8:37.38), 4. Greenfield-Central (8:47.78), 5. Delta (8:48.48)

110 hurdles: 1. M. Furnish, YK (15.81), 2. B. Donaldson, MV (16.16), 3. A. Hill, YK (16.34), 4. A. Barnett, MV (16.40), 5. S. Ledford, PH (16.57)

100: 1. B. Walden, NP (11.02), 2. U. Howe, NC (11.18), 3. J. Porter, MV (11.28), 4. D. Ford, NP (11.35), 5. D. Allen, YK (11.43)

200: 1. B. Walden, NP (22.46), 2. M. Marling, D (22.57), 3. J. Porter, MV (22.59), 4. D. Allen, YK (22.64), 5. C. Jenkins, NP (23.31)

1,600: 1. P. Jones, PH (4:18.90), 2. L. Upton, PH (4:20.43), 3. C. Eagleson, NP (4:22.72), 4. C. Crowder, NP (4:35.58), 5. C. Kinnaman, GC (4:45.15)

4×100: 1. New Palestine (43.65), 2. Yorktown (44.50), 3. Mt. Vernon (44.79), 4. Shelbyville (44.83), 5. Delta (45.32)

400: 1. S. Voelz, NP (49.49), 2. S. Corey, NP (50.64), 3. M. Marling, D (50.70), 4. J. Moore, D (51.76), 5. M. Jones, PH (51.96)

300 hurdles: 1. A. DeJesus, S (41.55), 2. M. Furnish, YK (41.62), 3. B. Hogan, PH (42.26), 4. C. Rose, NC (42.82), 5. A. Barnett, MV (43.22)

800: 1. P. Jones, PH (1:56.81), 2. S. Voelz, NP (2:01.47), 3. W. Parker, PH (2:02.44), 4. C. Crowder, NP (2:02.92), 5. A. Carver, MV (2:03.35)

3,200: 1. L. Upton, PH (9:41.84), 2. C. Eagleson, NP (9:48.20), 3. D. Bluethman, MV (10:07.14), 4. J. Hansen, GC (10:10.65), 5. M. Ramirez, MV (10:14.26)

4×400: 1. Pendleton Heights (3:27.12), 2. New Palestine (3:28.63), 3. Mt. Vernon (3:30.13), 4. Shelbyville (3:32.77), 5. Yorktown (3:34.22)

High jump: 1. K. Wills, D (6-03.00), 2. C. Martin, S (6-02.00), 3. E. Pancol, PH (5-10.00), 4. N. Casler, MV (5-10.00), 5. M. Lough, MV (5-10.00)

Long jump: 1. B. Walden, NP (21-07), 2. A. Bodenhamer, NC (20-11.50), 3. W. Stitt, D (20-10.75), 4. B. Applegate, YK (20-07.75), 5. E. Pancol, PH (20-02.25)

Discus: 1. D. Farrer, PH (146-02), 2. J. Rawls, D (128-09), 3. T. Witham, NC (121-09), 4. G. Mauk, MV (121-04), 5. N. Anderson, MV (117-06)

Shot put: 1. N. Seifert, MV (48-03), 2. T. Helm, GC (46-00.50), 3. D. Farrer, PH (43-11.75), 4. A. Keele, NP (43-07.00), 5. C. Nelson, MV (43-00.75)

Pole vault: 1. Jae Euell, S (13-06), 2. P. Huth, PH (13-00), 3. A. Lee, GC (12-06), 4. A. Hennessey-Trotter, GC (12-00), 5. B. Miller, MV (11-06).

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