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Trojans post good performances at Park Tudor Invitational

By ANDREW CARTER of NCHS -

INDIANAPOLIS - The New Castle High School girls and boys track & field teams traveled to Indianapolis Friday evening to compete in the Park Tudor Small School Showcase Invitational.

Fifteen teams from small public and private schools competed in the meet and the competition was fairly evenly-matched which makes for some exciting competition.

For the New Castle athletes, this meet is a nice change from the norm, as the event order and format for the meet is different than any other meet, and the Trojans typically only compete against these schools once during the season. In addition, some regular track & field events are not contested at this meet.

Every year the NC athletes seem to really look forward to this meet. It was a blustery evening with clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s dropping into the 50s as the meet progressed. The Trojans came away with meet champions in both girls and boys events.

Girls Meet

Competition was close throughout the meet, but ultimately Edgewood won the girls meet with a score of 80.50 followed closely by Heritage Christian in second with 78.50. Trojans were third with 73.50. This was the best finish in three years for New Castle at this meet.

Placing third as a team is especially impressive for the Trojan girls, as the team competed with just 12 athletes from its roster and most of the NC athletes competed in at least two events with many competing in three or four events.

The New Castle coaching staff felt the girls exhibited great team unity and supported each other throughout the meet and showed willingness to adapt form or strategy to improve performances.

New Castle freshman Anyssa Hall continued her winning ways in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet 3.25 inches, which was just 2.25 inches off of her personal best. Hall was also the anchor 400-meter leg of the winning NC sprint medley team.

Hall never had raced the 400 meter distance and with NC in third place at the final hand-off she ran down the second-place team on the back stretch and honed-in on the first-place team down the home stretch and edged into first place just a few meters before the finish line.

Hall’s 400-meter split was 1:04. Teammates putting Hall into position for the win were sophomore Tristan Barr (leadoff 100-meter leg), freshman Ava Bell (second 100-meter leg), and senior Grace Smith (200-meter leg). All four of these girls already had competed in two or three events before the start of the sprint medley. Smooth baton hand-offs in all three exchanges definitely contributed to the win.

Sophomore Emma Thurman placed third in the high jump with a height of 4 feet 10 inches, which was just two inches shy of first place and her personal best. Thurman followed later in the meet by scoring a seventh-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 57.19 seconds. Senior Grace Smith placed fourth in the 400-meter run with a time of 1:07.27.

The meet offered no pole vault, so Barr showed her versatility by competing in other events. Barr placed third in the long jump with a distance of 14 feet 4 inches, which was just 1.5 inches off of her outdoor personal best. In addition to being the leadoff leg of the winning sprint medley squad, Barr was the lead leg of both the third place 4 x100 meter relay and the fourth place 4 x 400-meter relay squads for NC.

Also on the third place NC 4 x 100-meter relay squad were Bell, Thurman, and Hall. Others on the fourth-place NC 4 x 400 relay squad were Bell, Smith, and sophomore Makayla McGowan. McGowan’s split was an impressive personal best by seven seconds for the distance.

Sophomore Bailey Cox had several impressive early-season performances. She placed second in the 1600-meter run in 5:39.94, which is her second-best time ever and best of this season. Cox challenged for the lead early in the race and held off a strong challenge in the final lap by a Bishop Chatard runner.

Cox followed later in the meet with a third-place finish in the 800 meter run in a time of 2:33.96. Cox was determined to lay it all on the line to try to win the 800 and took the lead just 100 meters into the race. Cox held the lead until the final 200 meters, when the ultimate winner passed her and then down the home stretch she was nipped at the line by the same Bishop Chatard runner that she edged in the 1600 meter race.

Cox ended the night by running the anchor leg of the NC 4 x 800 team who finished in sixth place. Others on the 4 x 800 squad were McGowan, senior Maddie Turney, and senior Cheyanne Lazzell. Earlier in the meet Lazzell completed the 1600-meter run in 7:32.85. Senior Grace Lewis competed in the 1200-meter run and finished in a time of 5:14.94.

Trojan throwers were led by seniors Gracie Bowers and Hannah Talbott, both scoring in the shot put. In the shot, Bowers placed third with a toss of 31 feet 3 inches followed closely by teammate Talbott in eighth place with a distance of 29 feet 1.5 inches. The senior throws duo placed out of the standings in the discus.

Boys Meet

The New Castle 4 x 400-meter relay team kicked off the night by placing second in a hotly-contested race for the first three positions. The Trojans' goal was to win the race, but they knew they had to go into the final leg with a significant lead to have a chance to beat Edgewood.

Sophomore Jace Logston led off with a solid 400 to put New Castle in position. Then senior Jaycee Wilburn received the baton and took off like a shot and opened up a lead for the Trojans. Wilburn’s split of 51.87 seconds was his fastest leg ever in the event.

Next to receive the baton was senior Trevor Morrison, who fought hard and posted his fastest leg of the season. Senior Britton Adkins was the anchor leg and battled hard against the Edgewood anchor. Adkins brought the baton to the tape in second place in a time of 3:37.49 which was four seconds faster than this squad has run this season.

Next up were Austin Morgan and Ben Brock in the 1600-meter run. Morgan and Brock battled hard throughout the four-lap race jostling for position in the field of 23 competitors. Ultimately, Morgan finished seventh in a time of 4:53.25 followed closely by Brock in ninth with a posting of 4:57.69. Sophomore Skyler Dickey placed eleventh in the 1200-meter race with a time of 3:45.44.

Wilburn defended his title in the 800-meter run by winning the event for the second year in a row. Wilburn was determined to defend his title and took the lead almost from the beginning. Taking the lead early in the two-lap race always is a risk, but Wilburn maintained a strong effort throughout the race all the way to the finish line.

Several competitors tried to close the gap, but each time Wilburn would continue his surge to the finish. At the tape, Wilburn’s time of 2:02:81 was almost two seconds faster than he had ever run before.

The Trojan 4 x 100-meter relay team struggled with hand-offs and placed just out of contention in ninth. That squad consisted of Logston, Kyle Gabbard, Morrison, and Layne Nicholson.

Gabbard followed later in the meet with a tenth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, posting a time of 49.24 seconds. The NC sprint medley relay squad placed sixth. Members of the sprint medley were Nicholson, Dominique Strunk, Morrison, and Logston.

The Trojan 4 x 800-meter relay team took the challenge to lead early in hopes of maintaining that lead to the finish. Wilburn was first up with an impressive lead-off leg in a time of 2:08.69, handing off to Brock who was also determined to keep NC in the lead. Brock’s 800 split of 2:10.10 was his fastest ever for the event.

Up next was freshman Caleb Grow. Grow fought hard and ultimately posted his best 800 split of the season, but was overtaken by a Cardinal Ritter runner. Adkins was the anchor leg and battled valiantly to catch the Ritter runner, but the distance was too great to make up. Ultimately, the Trojan relay team finished second and posted its best time of the season in 8:51.69.

Sophomore Matt Bell scored in both throwing events. Bell’s toss of 121 feet 7.50 inches in the discus was good for third place and was 14 feet further than he had ever thrown. Bell also placed eighth in the shot put with a distance of 39 feet 5.25 inches. Sophomore Luke Witham, although out of scoring position, posted personal-best throws of 89 feet 5.5 inches in the discus and 31 feet 9 inches in the shot put.

The New Castle girls and boys track & field teams travel to Greensburg today to compete against the host Pirates and Connersville.

New Castle Girls Results

 4 x 400 4) Tristan Barr, Ava Bell, Grace Smith, Makayla McGowan 4:36.39

1600 2) Bailey Cox 5:39.94 18) Cheyanne Lazzell 7:32.85

4 x100 3) Barr, Bell, Emma Thurman, Anyssa Hall 54.42

400 4) Smith 1:07.27

800 3) Cox 2:33.96

1200 15) Grace Lewis 5:14.94

300 H 7) Thurman 57.19

Sprint Medley 1) Barr, Bell, Smith, Hall 1:59.51

4 x 800 6) McGowan, Maddie Turney, Lazzell, Cox 12:37.62

HJ 3) Thurman 4’10”

LJ 1) Hall 16’ 3.25” 3) Barr 14’ 4”

Shot Put 3) Gracie Bowers 31’ 3” 8) Hannah Talbott 29’ 1.50”

Discus 10) Talbott 79’ 6.5” 12) Bowers 76’ 0.50”

New Castle Boys Results

4 x 400 2) Jace Logston, Jaycee Wilburn, Trevor Morrison, Britton Adkins 3:37.49

1600 7) Austin Morgan 4:54.25 9) Ben Brock 4:57.69

4 x100 9) Logston, Kyle Gabbard, Morrison, Layne Nicholson 49.16

400 3) Adkins 53.13

800 1) Wilburn 2:02.81

1200 11) Skyler Dickey 3:45.44

300 H 7) Gabbard 49.24

Sprint Medley 6) Nicholson, Dominique Strunk, Morrison, Logston 1:44.39

4 x 800 2) Wilburn, Brock, Caleb Grow, Adkins 8:51.69

LJ 15) Adkins 16’ 6.5”

Shot Put 8) Matt Bell 39’ 5.25 18) Luke Witham 31’ 09”

Discus 3) Bell 121’ 7.50” 14) Witham 89’ 5.50”