Cass County has a Super Six group of athletes who are set to compete at the IHSAA Track and Field State Finals this weekend.
Lewis Cass, Logansport and Pioneer have two athletes apiece who are set to compete at the events. The boys event will be held today and the girls event Saturday. Both events will be held at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
The following are preview capsules of each of the athletes in alphabetical order.
Carley Camp, Logansport
Camp is mainstay on the All-Loganland volleyball team and continued to show how athletic she is this spring.
The 5-foot-10 senior had an impressive double at the county track meet by winning the shot put (36-10) and 400 dash (1:06.1). She followed that up by advancing past the Western Sectional in both the shot put and discus. At the Goshen Regional, she had a personal-best throw of 38-1 in the shot put to place third and advance to the state finals.
“I am very surprised but proud of myself,” she said of making it to state. “I worked pretty hard this season to get to where I’m at. I’m just glad that it happened. It was my biggest dream and I finally accomplished it.”
She said Lewis Cass senior Averi Parker has helped push her in the shot put. Her win at the county was big for her.
“I know that I did it once and I want to do it again,” Camp said. “But she’s an amazing hard worker and she deserves to be where she’s at.”
Camp had a rare double at the county by winning the 400 as well.
“With your stepdad [Randy Kuhn] being the running coach and your mom [Dena Kuhn] being the throwing coach, you’ve got to do both,” she said.
Camp is seeded 27th at state. She said she’s just hoping to finish higher than her seed.
She plans to play volleyball at Manchester University. She said she has an opportunity to throw there on the track team and is considering it.
Noah LaOrange, Logansport
LaOrange, a senior, has advanced to the state finals in the long jump in his first season of track.
He had a personal best long jump of 21 feet, 8.75 inches at the Kokomo Regional to place fourth. He originally didn’t know he was going to state but got a callback the next day.
“That was awesome. I was just in Kokomo driving around. The last thing I expected was to hear that. It was a great feeling,” he said.
LaOrange has been competing in the long jump for just three months. He credits Logan assistant coach Chad Handschu for helping him succeed so quickly.
LaOrange was a wide receiver for the sectional champion Logansport football team last fall.
“That was just an amazing experience, the whole team family,” he said.
LaOrange was a late bloomer in football as well as it was just his second year of football. He credited coach Mike Johnson for getting him to tryout for track.
“My coach signed me up without telling me because whenever we’d do the vertical or broad jump training I’d always have crazier numbers than everyone else and he just signed me up one day and told me I have practice tomorrow for track,” he said.
LaOrange is seeded 20th at the state track meet.
Addai Lewellen, Pioneer
Addai and his twin brother Ezra have qualified in three events each.
Addai is seeded 13th in the long jump (22-2.25), 20th in the 300 hurdles (:40.46) and 25th in the 100 (:11.26).
“I’m feeling good,” said Addai, who pulled up with a thigh injury on his final event, the 200, at the Kokomo Regional. “For the long jump I would like to place in the top three. That might be really hard but I’m willing to push myself. In the 100 there are really fast kids there so it’d be really hard to get into the finals but if I get in the finals that’d be an achievement for me. In the 300 hurdles I just want to see my time go down and continue to push it.”
Addai added he’s close to the school record in the 300 hurdles at :39.8 and that is another goal. He’s just in his first year of running the event and credited Pioneer assistant coach Brenton Mersch, who had a chance of reaching the state finals last year in the event before the season was canceled, for helping him.
Ezra Lewellen, Pioneer
Ezra is seeded eighth in the 400 (:49.83), 11th in the 100 (:11.01) and 14th in the 110 hurdles (14.94) in an impressive sprint triple.
“I’m just hoping to make the finals for the 100 and the hurdles and for the 400 we have heats. I’m just trying to get top nine for all my events. If I can get better, that would be great,” he said.
It’s surprisingly the twins’ first appearance in the state track meet for either one of them.
“With last year getting canceled we would have thought we would have had a chance to go to state but this year is our last year and we’re just going to try to enjoy it,” Ezra said.
Ezra added he’s cut three seconds from his 400 time from two years ago. His 100 time is close but he’s more consistent now.
Ezra is set to run track at IUK and Addai is set to run track and play football at Marian. But they said they are hearing from other schools and are still considering their options.
Averi Parker, Cass
Parker, a senior, is 3-for-3 in reaching the state finals her high school career.
As a freshman at state, she placed seventh in the discus and reached the podium with a throw of 129-2. She placed 22nd in the shot put with a throw of 36-6.5.
As a sophomore, she placed 11th in the shot put at 39-11.5 and 14th in the discus at 126-8.
This year, she’s seeded second in the discus at 144-9. Elkhart senior Mia Pulianas is seeded first at 156-9. Parker is seeded 10th in the shot put at 41-4. Shenandoah senior Erikka Hill is seeded first at 47-9.5.
“My goals are to finish top three in both events is my biggest goal but just being able to be on the podium would be great,” said Parker, who was the Goshen Regional champion in the shot put and runner-up in discus. “In shot put I’m seeded 10th so it’d be awesome to get myself up there and throw at least a 44 and be top three. Discus, my ultimate goal would be to win state and I think I can do that, but it’s going to take a lot of mental game.
“This year especially being my senior year I’ve had to learn to calm down and just trust your body and know what it’s doing.”
Parker said her main throwing coaches in high school have been her father, Jonathon Parker, and Cass assistant Jeff Jones.
Parker is set to graduate from Cass on Sunday. She said she will join her college track team at Hillsdale College in Michigan in late July. But before that she’s hoping to have a big day at the state meet on Saturday.
Liberty Scott, Cass
The sophomore is enjoying a breakthrough season in her first season of high school track.
She opened eyes by winning the 300 hurdles at the Western Sectional in 48.22 seconds, outdueling Taylor senior standout Makala Pfefferkorn by 0.01 of a second. Scott finished second to Pfefferkorn in the 100 hurdles.
Scott then placed second at the Goshen Regional in the 300 hurdles with a time of :46.5 to advance to state. John Glenn senior Cecilia Delinski won in :45.28.
Scott is seeded 19th at the state meet in the 300 hurdles with her regional time. Cathedral junior Reese Sanders is seeded first at :43.91.
Scott said she surprised herself when she placed second at the regional.
“I was just really excited and I don’t think I could have done this at the beginning of season,” she said. “I started the 300 hurdles at the beginning of the season this year. ... I actually started the 100 hurdles halfway into the season. I’m excited for next year for sure to start with a better base.”
She credited Cass coach Sam Carlton for her quick ascension in the hurdles.
She also credited the University of Indianapolis bound Pfefferkorn for pushing her this postseason.
“I don’t think I would have been able to get the time I did,” Scott said. “She was right next to me. She’s a very nice girl.”
Scott advanced to the semistate in cross country this past season by cutting three minutes off her time from her freshman year, which has helped her in the 300 hurdles.
“I think endurance is a huge part of how I’m able to finish the race,” she said.
Scott is hoping to PR and reach the state podium on Saturday.