by Beau Wicker
For the first time in quite awhile, no track and field athletes from the Pharos-Tribune coverage area qualified for the state finals last year.
Rest assured, there are several athletes hard at work trying to change that this spring.
On the girls side, Lewis Cass’ Mariah Swartz just missed on advancing to state by two spots with a fifth-place finish in the long jump at the Warsaw Regional. She also placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
Swartz returns for her senior season, and she’s joined by strong group of returnees for the Kings.
“As a team we would like to continue as the Cass County champions,” Cass coach Grace Scott said. “We would also like to win the Southwood Relays again. The girls have set personal goals to break their personal best records, and of course we would like to see school records fall. Our 4x800 relay team of Claire Crum, Jenna Yeakley, Haley Johnson and Emily Robertson is already within several seconds of breaking the school record they set last year. We would also like to be in the top three teams at our sectional and MIC meets.”
Scott added the Kings are an inspired group this season.
“We are dedicating our season to our team bus driver Jim Maggart who passed away this winter. We loved Jimbo and we want to make him proud,” she said.
Crum, Yeakley, Johnson and Robertson were sectional champions a year ago in the 3,200 relay, and they all return. As does Maddie Eurit (high jump) and Kelsey Smith (400), who were regional qualifiers last season.
Logansport returns regional qualifiers Alaina Page (shot put), Jennifer Crafford (3,200) and Ashley Spear (200).
Pioneer’s Sarah Doris (400) and Kari Parmeter (long jump) were regional qualifiers a year ago.
Winamac’s Farrar Sabec (100), Nicole Heims (100, 200, long jump), Melissa Bailey (300 hurdles) and Stephanie Shorter (high jump) were all regional qualifiers a year ago.
On the boys side, Pioneer’s Matt Dorris (400) and Cass’ Drew Shepherd (110 hurdles) had the best showing among area athletes at the Kokomo Regional last year, as they both finished seventh in their respective events.
Also for the Kings, Garrett Riley is a regional qualifier in the pole vault who returns. For the Panthers, Blake Johnson was a regional qualifier in the high jump.
Logansport had the best finish among area teams at last year’s Kokomo Sectional, finishing third. Alex Calisto is a regional qualifier in the 800 who returns.
Caston’s Zach Smith (800) was a regional qualifier a year ago, as was Winamac’s Zach Markley (400), who was a Rensselaer Sectional champion last season.