The Sideline – June 16

Voelz wins at Midwest Meet of Champions

Fresh off his state championship run earlier this month in Bloomington, New Palestine’s Samuel Voelz won another first-place medal this past weekend at the Midwest Meet of Champions in Ohio.

Voelz placed first in the 800-meter run as part of Team Indiana with a time of 1 minute, 52.28 seconds, winning the race by one-hundredth of a second. Michigan’s Brian Patrick was second.

Voelz also was part of Indiana’s 4×400-meter relay team that finished second at 3:17.36 to Ohio’s All-Stars (3:14.57).

Voelz won his first-career state title at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals in the 800, running a time of 1:52.60. It was the first individual boys track state title in school history.

The annual meet features top senior boys and girls from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The event was conducted at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

The Ohio girls won their meet with 207 points. Michigan was second, while Indiana was third. The Ohio boys also won with 179 points. Indiana narrowly missed out on second as Michigan finished runner-up 149-147.

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Golf fundraiser set for next month

The 2017 Joel Young Memorial Chip in Fore Kids golf outing is scheduled for Thursday, July 20, at Arrowhead Golf Course.

The event begins at 11 a.m., with registration and lunch, followed by a shotgun start at noon. The cost to play is $85 per person.

The Mt. Vernon Education Foundation sponsors the outing and has awarded nearly $250,000 to Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation faculty and staff since 2008. Proceeds from the event will raise funds to support classroom technology, innovation and creativity.

To register and for more information, visit mtvernonfoundation.org or call 317-482-4110.

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Mickelson officially withdraws from Open

ERIN, Wis. — Phil Mickelson withdrew from the U.S. Open, realizing there was no chance to get from his daughter’s high school graduation in California and make his Thursday afternoon tee time in Wisconsin.

This is the first time Mickelson has missed the U.S. Open since he failed to qualify in 1993. Roberto Diaz of Mexico, the next alternate in line, took his place.

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Pilot injured when blimp crashes near U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. — A small blimp crashed near the U.S. Open on Thursday, seriously injuring the pilot and grabbing the attention of fans and golfers alike as they watched the fiery, smoking craft fall from the sky into an open field.

Sheriff’s officials said the pilot was the only one on board the blimp.

Golfer Brandt Snedeker said he spotted something while on the course at Erin Hills, about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

The blimp, operated by Florida-based AirSign, was being used for advertising as it floated above the tournament and had been airborne for several hours before it went down, authorities said. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said its initial investigation shows the blimp may have experienced mechanical problems.

A deputy at a security post reported seeing the aircraft on fire or smoking and rapidly descending about 11:15 a.m., authorities said. Rescue crews used utility vehicles to reach the crash site, about a half mile from the golf course.

Aerial video from a television news helicopter showed pieces of the flattened blimp on the field along with charred metal and grass. A handful of fans at the U.S. Open also posted video on Twitter of the craft’s descent.

Justin Maynard, a sales manager for AirSign, said the company’s operations team on the ground in Erin had no definitive information on the pilot’s condition, other than the pilot was expected to be OK. The injured pilot was taken to a medical helicopter that had landed in the field.

Mary Ruediger, 45, was visiting her parents who live along an access road to the golf course and spotted the blimp going down.

“It was kind of floating and was deflating and I could see flames. Then it went behind the trees,” Ruediger said. She said she drove toward the site where the blimp hit the ground.

“You could see the black smoke and then there were three big fireballs as it exploded,” she said

The Federal Aviation and Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been called to investigate the crash. The Sheriff’s Office said the FAA determined the aircraft was operating at the proper altitude.

“It was a horrific scene,” Lovemark said. “I’ve never seen a plane crash, blimp crash, anything like that. So it was pretty awful. I thought they might stop play.”