Journey comes to close

INDIANAPOLIS — Mt. Vernon and Eastern Hancock boys track and field teams competed at the North Central Regional on Thursday, but no athletes made it out.

The closest was a Marauder sophomore, Jailin Porter, and a Royal senior, Reece Burkhart.

Porter ran the 200-meter dash and finished just .3 seconds away from qualifying for state. But in this regional, sprinters are abundant.

Porter finished with a 22.77 second time while the fastest runner from Lawrence North was a 22.19.

“I was focusing on doing my very best and staying relaxed,” Porter said. “My goal was to do the best I can this year and I am definitely happy with sixth place as a sophomore.”

Mt. Vernon head coach Bruce Kendall said he came in better at the start of the season.

“He came back at the start of the season better than he was at the end of last season,” Kendall said. “That’s unusual, so he did a lot of work to make that happen. I don’t know what will happen between now and next winter, but right now he seems to have a good work ethic.”

Also placing for Mt. Vernon were seniors Nathan Seifert in shot put and Blake Miller in pole vault. Seifert threw to seventh place, landing a 47 feet, 2 inches. Miller ended in a three-way tie in pole vault at 11-06, placing two spots higher than last year.

“I came in and did what I’ve done the last couple meets, 11-06, which is exactly what I needed to do,” he said. “I had some good attempts at 12 but you know, you don’t get everything.”

Miller was part of the last, of three, relay teams that raced for Mt. Vernon at regional. He kicked off the 4×400 team on their way to a ninth-place finish, two higher than last year’s finish.

“It was the perfect way to end a senior year — on the last event,” he said.

The 4×800 relay and the 4×100 relay both finished in 12th place. The 4×800 was run by Drew Bluethman, Ashton Lewis, Riley Glassing and Alex Tharp. The 4×100 consisted of senior Darius Reed, Drake Kendrex, senior Mark Lough and senior Donovan Bigelow.

Another 12th-place went to a freshman Marco Ramirez.

“He’s the fastest freshman we’ve had since 2006,” Kendall said. “He’s got a good history ahead of him.”

Ramirez ran a 4:42.8 in the 1,600-meter. Senior Nathan Casler tied for 10th place in the high jump, clearing 6-0. Damari Gatewood tied for 13th clearing 5-10.

“We didn’t have anyone that was first or second in sectional, so to get this many here and only the first three advance, it was a pretty deep team,” Kendall said.

Fifteen Marauders competed but none advanced, opposed to the last few years for Mt. Vernon.

For Eastern Hancock, two individuals took the regional test. Senior Burkhart launched 47-07 in shot put to land in sixth place. He more than doubled his placement from junior year where he was 13th with a 43-03.

Another Royal senior, Jayson Bowers competed in the 300 hurdles and ended in 14th overall.