By Brady Extin | Daily Reporter
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock may be under new leadership, but still have their eyes set on repeating last year’s success.
The girls track and field team finished a program-best fourth at the Pendleton Heights Sectional and were runners-up at the Mid-Eastern Conference meet. They return many of the key members that were a part of making that happen.
“The girls are kind of the opposite of the boys. Our numbers are fewer, but in the events that we do have we could have some really, really good showings,” new head coach Pat Echeverria said. “We’re not going to be able to pull out a full event schedule at meets though with our team.”
Working towards having a full roster is Echeverria’s number one goal in his first season with the team.
“Getting the numbers up is something I’m continuing to work on with the ladies. As the football coach, I already know a lot of the boys that run track, but as I’m starting to know the girls in the school, I’m confident that we’ll be able to get our numbers up there.”
Having a full roster to compete in every event is something that the Royals overcame last year in their fourth-place sectional finish. On the way to earning that placement, the Royals advanced four events to the Ben Davis Regional — two individual and two relays.
Nearly every member of the two relay teams and the two individual qualifiers, Sydney Springman and Ellie Meyer, are back with the Royals this season.
“With the girls, it’s going to be more about what relay team can we really focus on to get out. What individual events can people focus on to try and get out,” Echeverria said. “I think we have a strong group of people, and we can do some good things in different events.”
Springman, a junior, finished second in both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles at last year’s sectional and went on to have the Royals highest regional finish with a 12th place in the 100.
She was also a part of the Royals 4×100 relay team that placed fourth at the sectional.
“She should score a lot of points for us,” Echeverria said. “We competed in an indoor qualifier on Friday, and you’re talking about going up against Center Grove, Warren Central, Ben Davis, just some really big, fantastic programs, and Sydney made the finals in the 60-meter hurdles. In hurdles, she could have a phenomenal year.”
Meyer, Eastern Hancock’s other individual qualifier, is set to give the Royals a boost in events all across the board. According to Echeverria, she will see time competing in the 200-meter dash, 4×100 relay, 4×400 relay, and her best event, the high jump.
As a freshman last season, she grabbed the Royals’ only first-place finish at the Hancock County meet, where she cleared 5-feet in the high jump. At the sectional, she finished in third-place in the event, and was part of the 4×400 relay team that also placed third.
“She’s going to score a lot of points for us, too,” Echeverria said. “Ellie is just someone where whatever you have her do, she is just going to be good at it. She’s going to be a key contributor in all of her events this season.”
The Royals also return and will look to get contributions from Olivia Evans, Stephanie Sotelo, and Cameron Koch, among others.
With Meyer, the trio rounded out the 4×400 relay team, and were all key members of other relay teams. Koch and Sotelo also competed on the 4×100 team, and Evans was a part of the 4×800 team.
Sydney Hayes and Alivia Coffin look to lead the Royals in the throwing events. Two seasons ago, Hayes advanced to the regional in discus and will look to get back to that spot in her senior season. Coffin will be a strong competitor for Eastern Hancock in the shot put.
2023 Eastern Hancock Girls Track and Field Schedule
March 16;vs. Knightstown/Tri;5 p.m.
March 22;vs. Cathedral;5 p.m.
April 6;vs. Madison-Grant;5:30 p.m.
April 11;at Greenfield-Central 4-way;5:30 p.m
April 14;at Park Tudor Showcase;6 p.m.
April 19;at South Decatur;5 p.m.
April 22;at Guerin Catholic Invite;10 a.m.
April 25;at Richmond;5:30 p.m.
April 27;Eastern Hancock Invitational;5:30 p.m.
May 3;at Hancock County (MV);5:30 p.m.
May 9;vs. Triton Central;5 p.m.
May 12;at Mid-Eastern Conference (Monroe Central);5 p.m.
May 16;at Pendleton Heights Sectional;5:30 p.m.