HANCOCK COUNTY — After three months of competing in both indoor and outdoor meets, 24 Hancock County girls and boys track and field standouts will wrap up their seasons at the place they had all hoped to be.
This weekend, Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University in Bloomington is the site for the IHSAA Girls and Boys State Track and Field Finals.
The girls meet begins at 3 p.m. today. The boys go at the same time on Saturday.
Today’s championship features eight Hancock County girls in six events.
On Saturday, the number of area competitors double, and they will be vying for titles and points in 10 different events.
Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine will have competitors going both days.
Cougar senior Kayana Maroska is a veteran of the girls meet.
A year ago, Maroska placed eighth in the 400-meter dash. She is back again to give it another go. She is also running in the 200-meter dash.
She is seeded No. 16 in the 400 (58.60 seconds) and No. 14 in the 200 (25.53).
“I can’t tell you how excited I am, and going in two events is even more exciting,” Maroska said. “Just knowing I’ve done it before soothes my nerves. I’m running with a whole bunch of good girls, and I know I have done it before. I’ve worked hard to compete with these girls.
“One of my goals is to PR in both (races) and I hope to get in the finals in the 200, too. Both events are going to be hard, but placing in both would be awesome.”
Maroska’s sophomore teammate Savannah Lake is in the 100, seeded No. 22 with a time of 12.62 seconds.
Mt. Vernon’s lone representation in the girls meet will come in one of the championship’s first running events.
Emma Gasiorek, Lydia Carrell, Morgan Tharp and Alexandra Overshiner make up the Marauders’ 3200 relay team. They are seeded No. 25 with a time of 9:56.98.
New Palestine’s dynamic duo of juniors Quin Lumbley and Sydney Miller will compete in the throws.
Lumbley is in the shot put. Miller is in the discus.
Lumbley is the county’s highest seeded girls state qualifier. She is No. 8 with a distance of 41-feet, 7 1/2 inches. Miller is No. 12 at 129-11 (from the regional), though she has thrown over 130 this season.
No county team has more state qualifiers than Mt. Vernon’s boys.
There are Marauders in seven different events.
Junior George Burhenn will be one of the county’s busiest on Saturday. He is competing in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and is part of the 1600 relay squad. Burhenn is seeded No. 19 in the high hurdles (15.22 seconds), and No. 4 in the lows (39.41). He and teammates Wil Jones, Tristan Trevino and Andres Langston are No. 13 in the relay (3:24.05).
Jones and Langston were part of last season’s 4×400 group, which finished fifth.
Trevino, who is also on one of the other relay teams, and Langston will also have individual events.
Trevino is in the 800 (No. 14, 1:56.02). Langston will run the 400 (No. 6, 49.03).
Mt. Vernon is also returning state qualifiers in the pole vault and 3200 relay.
Keagan LaBelle returns in the pole vault and is the No. 4 seed with a height of 15-feet.
Joseph Blagrave, Will Morris, Daylon King and Trevino are on the 4×800 relay team. Blagrave and King were on last year’s quartet that reached the state finals. This year’s group is seeded No. 25 with a time of 8:06.95.
“I think they are going to score, but it’s like what color will their state medal be?” Mt. Vernon head coach Bruce Kendall said of his highest seeded competitors. “I think our points lie in the pole vault, 400, (low hurdles), and 4×400.
“Trevino is in the 800 and he has a shot, too. He and (Greenfield-Central’s Griffen) Wheeler are in the fast heat.”
Greenfield-Central sophomore Kirk Knecht is another state finals returnee. He’ll add an event to his 2022 schedule.
He is back for the second straight year in the long jump, where he is ranked No. 24 with a distance of 21-feet, 3-inches. He, Aaron Lee, Michael Runions and Hudson McGuire are No. 25 in the 400 relay (43.70).
Wheeler will renew his rivalry with Trevino in the 800.
In the county meet, Wheeler edged Trevino for the win. It was Trevino’s turn to cross the tape first when they met in the Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet.
For the state meet, Wheeler is the No. 9 ranked runner with a time of 1:55.39.
G-C’s most pleasant surprise is sophomore high jumper Elliot Ryba. Placing fifth in the sectional meet, he thought his season was over until he got a call back to fill the field at the regional. There, he shattered his personal best by three inches, clearing 6-feet, 6-inches. He placed second and is now the No. 4 seed in the state meet.
New Palestine’s lone boys qualifier is also a benefactor of the call back.
Junior pole vaulter Jack Rossell found out last Saturday that he was the last vaulter to fill the field of 27. His personal best height of 13-9 ranks him No. 19.