New Palestine’s Study shines in multiple sports


NEW PALESTINE — Being at the top of just one sport in high school is not an easy task. To do it in two sports during the same season is almost unheard of.

For New Palestine senior Courtney Study, it’s just another day.

From being handed the baton to anchor a relay race, to running mile-long distance events, or to stepping into the softball circle and dominating opposing teams.

Study has done it all this season.

“It’s pretty mind-boggling what she’s able to do. Between her and [shortstop] Allie [Blum] we have probably two of the best girl athletes in the school and we’re fortunate enough to have them representing the softball team,” New Palestine head coach Ed Marcum said. “It’s pretty phenomenal what she’s been able to accomplish.”

A distance runner for the New Palestine track and field team, along with being the ace for the No. 4 ranked Dragons softball team, has made the entirety of the 2024 spring season a busy one for Study.

In softball she specializes in just one thing, pitching, but when she steps onto the track, she does it all for the Dragons.

Throughout the season, Study, a Trine University track commit, regularly competed in the 800-meter, 1600-meter, 4×400 relay and the 4×800 relay races.

And she did so all at a high level.

“We had a conversation in the winter, and we talked about not pulling any punches when it came to her workouts this year. I’ve been guilty in the past of telling her it’s okay if you don’t get to this workout because you have a busy softball schedule, or to just take a mile or two off here and there. This year, I talked to her about really going for it and trying to get every workout in and she couldn’t agree more,” New Palestine track and field head coach Eric Branch said. “She wanted that and she knows that if she’s going to work, she wants to get a good workout in.”

That mindset has led to Study’s best track season yet.

At the Hancock County meet, she won the 800, was runner-up in the 1600 and was third as a member of the 4×400 relay team. Later in the year, at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet the 4×400 relay team took first place, while she was fourth individually in the 800 and 1600.

In the Warren Central Sectional, Study placed third in the 1600-meter to qualify for the regional, was part of the 4×400 relay team that placed third, and ran her fastest 800-meter split to help the 4×800 relay team place fourth.

She did it again at the Shelbyville Regional.

Her time of 5:11.10 in the 1600 was a personal best, was the second fastest time in school history, and earned her fifth place and a callback to the state finals. She ran her fastest lap (1:01.20) in the 4×400 relay to help the team place fifth as well.

“She does an incredible job of thinking about what she wants to do next, whether that’s during a race or for what she wants to do training-wise the next week. She has a great approach of not being satisfied. She sets a time, hits it and we celebrate for a bit and then it’s right back to the drawing board,” Branch said. “We’ve always seen how driven she is, and this year has been no different. These last few weeks she’s been doing incredible things.”

While she was doing all of that, she was helping the New Palestine softball team remain one of the state’s best teams.

The day after the county track meet, Study threw five innings in a 16-2 win over county and conference rival Greenfield-Central. She allowed three hits, one run and struck out eight.

A week later, and the day after the HHC track meet, Study came up big in the circle again in a high-stakes conference game. With control of the top spot in the conference on the line, Study shut down state-ranked Pendleton Heights.

She got the start and allowed four hits and one run over 5.1 innings of work.

“It’s just been the way I’ve practiced this year. Not running as much, or only running when I’ve needed to,” Study said. “My coaches have had a really good plan for me this year.”

Last season, games like that were the spots where Study struggled. A year ago, Study threw against Greenfield-Central the day after the county meet and had her worst outing of the season. She gave up 12 hits and nine runs over six innings.

This year, she and the two coaching staffs have learned to find that perfect balance between the two sports.

“Cailyn [Hurst] has really stepped up, so between her and Sadey [Hughbanks] we’ve been able to take some of those innings off of Courtney. That’s been a big thing. We also talked to her about not running as much or as many events the day before a game. The combination of those things and then learning from last year have helped,” Marcum said. “Courtney is a people pleaser. She wants to make me happy, wants to make the track coach happy, wants to make her parents happy, and wants to make both her track and softball teammates happy. She’s put a lot of pressure on herself, but I think with it being the second year doing this, she’s been able to handle it better.”

Branch echoed that statement.

“We look at her softball schedule and we plan around that and figure out when she can run with the team and when she can do workouts on her own. We determine if it’s something she can do in the morning, or something she can fit in right after school before softball starts, or in some cases she’s out on the track until 9 o’clock with her mom timing her,” Branch said. “The reason it all works is because of who Courtney is. She’s so responsible, she’s very motivated and her priorities are straight. She knows she can make it all work if she plans ahead.”

There’s been none of those big struggles in either sport this year, and if anything, she’s getting better as the season goes on.

The same day she got the callback to the track state finals, she threw a four-hit shutout in the sectional semifinals against Pendleton Heights. A day later she picked up her 14th win of the season in a 10-4 win over Greenfield-Central in the championship.

“It was an incredible feeling to go out and pitch like that against Pendleton and then turn around and get off the field and learn I was going to state,” Study said. “It was a lot of emotions.”

She followed that up with another win in the regional championship over No. 3 Cathedral. She allowed three hits and one unearned run in a 12-1 victory.

On the season, Study is 15-2 with a 2.09 earned run average.

“I thought midway through the year she was a little tired, but here at the end of the season, she’s really put it all together. She’s had a great postseason so far,” Marcum said. “I thought the Pendleton game was about as good as she has pitched. Then against Cathedral she was moving the ball well and made big pitches when she needed to. I thought she was phenomenal.”

The busy season for Study continues this weekend. On Friday, she competed in the track state finals at Indiana University, and today will toe the rubber for the Dragons in the Class 4A semi-state at Bedford North Lawrence.

New Palestine plays Avon at 12:30 p.m. and with a win would play in the championship at 7 p.m. against the winner of No. 5 Center Grove and No. 1 Castle.

“I’m excited to do it one more time, and really looking forward to it,” Study said.