MARIETTA — Eastern Hancock’s track teams wouldn’t be beaten at Tuesday night’s Mid-Hoosier Conference Meet.
Even by Mother Nature.
Before and after a 90-minute delay midway through the competition because of rain and lightning, the Royals thundered their way to repeat titles, taking five individual firsts combined as well as five of the six relays.
The EH boys outdistanced runner-up South Decatur 140-110.5, while the gulf between the Royals’ girls and second-place Southwestern, the meet host, was even greater, 141-95.
Reaction to the back-to-back Royal double (the boys tied with Indian Creek last year) ranged from an expectation to do so by boys coach Clayton Shultz to outright surprise by his girls counterpart, Jerry Cain.
“We were not supposed to win this,” Cain said. “We were 13-point underdogs (in the seeding). Our kids were terrific. There was no way our kids did not want to win. I’m so proud of our kids. This is unreal.”
Hope Spaulding was the biggest single winner for the Royals. The sophomore splashed her way to victory in the 300 hurdles, going 49.58 seconds in what Cain called “by far her fastest time,” and also ran the winning 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Senior Kiersten Schrope ran outstanding heats to double in the 800 (in the rain, in 2:34.52) and 1,600 (5:52.05).
Kristen Eischen, Shelby Mourey and Karlee Gray teamed with Spaulding in the 4x100 (52.75), and Mourey, Cassey Hancock and Maddie Lee were the others in the 4x400 (4:34.62), the final girls race of the night.
Mourey finished second in the 200 and long jump, and EH was also second in the 4x800 relay. Spaulding added a third in the 100 hurdles.
On the boys side, Justin Cool-Luke matched Spaulding’s blue-ribbon haul, capturing the high jump as well as running the 4x400 and 4x800.
Cool-Luke won the soggy high jump by virtue of fewer misses over teammate Caleb Beyers. Both cleared five feet, 10 inches.
“I thought our kids did a fine job, 1-2 in the high jump,” Shultz said.
Cooper Henderson lept 18-3 to win the long jump, the Royals’ other title.
Runner-up finishers for the boys were Cool-Luke (400), Derrik Noel (800), Jacob Mueller (3200) and Brenden Box (shot put). Isaiah McCormick was third in the 200, as was Cole Cochard in the 110 hurdles.
“We were supposed to win,” Shultz said. “We have a lot of depth on our team and our depth really carried us. Everybody was solid as always.”
The girls run in the Pendleton Heights sectional Tuesday and the boys at Mt. Vernon’s sectional May 22.