NEW PALESTINE — Strength is their strength.
New Palestine has a strong returning contingent for this year’s girls track and field season and it’s led by the two strongest, literally, of the 44-member group.
Sydney Miller and Quin Lumbley are Hancock County’s top two returning state-placers.
Miller, a senior headed to Ball State University to compete after graduation, placed fourth in last year’s discus throw. Lumbley, another college-bound student-athlete headed to Purdue, placed eighth in the shot put.
Both are very good in their secondary throwing events, too, and are expected to be the top performers for a very talented Dragons’ team in 2023.
At the state meet, Miller had a personal best toss of 134-feet, 1-inch. She’s not too far off the school record of 136-9 ½ set by Sonya Napariu in 2012.
Lumbley is the school-record holder in the shot. She has a best of 43-feet, 8-inches, achieved at last year’s sectional meet. To get eighth at state, she had a distance of 41-4.
“Two state medalists, both qualified for nationals, that’s definitely a big part of the team,” New Palestine coach Chuck Myers said. “I’m excited to see what both of them can do in their individual events and coming back in their (secondary event). We’ll have two strong scorers in both (shot and discus).”
They are not the only key returnees from a team that claimed both Hancock County and Hoosier Heritage Conference titles.
Rylee Hurst is just a sophomore, but she joined Lumbley and Miller as an individual conference champion.
In the 400-meter dash, Hurst beat Greenfield-Central state-placer Kayana Maroska by .28 seconds to claim the HHC title with a time of 1:01.13. Lexi Baynes, who is back for her senior season, finished third in the event.
Hurst will be a top runner in other sprints and relays.
Myers has the majority of last year’s group returning and still only four seniors.
In the conference meet, the Dragons scored in every event but the 300 hurdles and had two scorers in eight events and a pair of runner-up relays.
“I think we have a pretty good group coming back and I’m excited to see what we can come up with,” Myers added.
For field events, Becca Johnson and Ezra Wagner are returning in the pole vault. Sophomore Kayla Rieman and frosh Abby Journay are expected to be strong in the high jump. Journay has already cleared 5-feet, 1-inch during the indoor season and is on the border of possibly qualifying for the state indoor meet in Bloomington on March 25, an event both Lumbley and Miller will compete in the shot put. Rieman has made it over 4-10.
Journay is part of a strong freshman class. She’ll help out in sprints, too. Olivia Frank (relays), Taylor Burke (hurdles) and McKenzie Hacker (middle distance) are among the 20-member freshman class that have the ability to score in big meets.
Junior veteran Courtney Study and sophomore Tylar Whitaker will be among the top mid-distance and distance runners. Both will be key in the team’s relay success.
Junior Alaina Doran is another returnee in the long jump and hurdles.
“We have a good group of freshmen coming in that I’m excited about,” Myers said. “We’ll see what they can do. It’s the first time competing at this level, but I think they are going to compete well. There’s a solid group of six or eight of them that will contribute with all of our returners, and we pretty much return everybody from last year. We didn’t lose a whole lot.”
2023 New Palestine Girls Track and Field Schedule
March 25;Indoor State meet (at IU);TBD
April 6;at Shelbyville/G-C;5:30 p.m.
April 8;at Chatard Invitational;11 a.m.
April 11;at Connersville 4-way;5:30 p.m.
April 13;vs. Perry/Greenwood;5:30 p.m.
April 18;at Lawrence Central;5:30 p.m.
April 20;vs. Pendleton Heights;5 p.m.
April 28;at Zionsville Invitational;5:30 p.m.
May 3;at Hancock County (MV);5:30 p.m.
May 9;at Hoosier Heritage Conference (MV);5:30 p.m.
May 16;at Warren Central Sectional;5:30 p.m.