Coach: Jerry Cain (third season)
Key losses: Rebekah Dickmander, Emily Jeffries, Kay Box, Shelby Wyatt
Key returnees: Kiersten Schrope, Shelby Mourey, Kristin Eischen, Kaycee Ruble, Karlee Gray, Emily Schrope, Hope Spaulding, Ryley Burkhart, Cara Johnson, Cassey Hancock
2013 Team finishes: 3rd at Hancock County, 1st at Mid-Hoosier Conference, 3rd at Pendleton Heights Sectional
Newcomer to watch: Freshman Emiley Carlton. A rising star for coach Jeremy Powers’ basketball team, Carlton will help the Runnin’ Royals on their 3,200 relay, a unit that qualified for regional in 2013.
Outlook: In its inaugural Mid-Hoosier Conference Meet last spring, Eastern Hancock blew away its conference foes, claiming 14 top-3 finishes, six event victories and won by 69.5 points.
Senior Kiersten Schrope, a winner of four 2013 MHC Meet blue ribbons, heads an experienced and versatile contingent looking to defending its conference crown – and then some.
“Like always, we want to win conference,” EH coach Jerry Cain said. “We also want to win the Small School Invite on Randolph Southern (on April 19) and the Guerin Catholic Invite (on April 26). But winning conference is our main thing.”
Cain’s crew won the 2013 Guerin Catholic Invite.
Schrope and junior Shelby Mourey are two Royals with individual state meet aspirations.
Schrope won the 800 at the Pendleton Heights Sectional, but finished fifth at the North Central Regional, two spots shy of state qualification. Mourey claimed the high jump crown at sectional, but was seventh at regional.
Mourey started strong in the indoor season, finishing third in the high jump at the Class A-3A Indoor State Finals.
“Individually, those are our two big goals,” Cain said of getting Schrope and Mourey to state.
Notes: Eastern Hancock sent eight competitors to regional in 2012 and 11 last season. … The Royals won the 400 and 1,600 relays at the 2013 Pendleton Heights Sectional. … Sophomore shot putter Kaycee Ruble, third at last season’s sectional, was 24th at the recent Indoor State Finals. … Sophomore Emily Schrope is recovering from a stress fracture but hopes to be ready by the Small School Invite. … EH opened its outdoor season with 83-36 win over Knightstown March 20. The Royals’ next outdoor meet is April 10 when they host Anderson Prep and North Decatur.