A trio of Brownstown Central boys track and field athletes have advanced to the state meet, while a Seymour high-jumper will make his second straight trip to Indiana University.
The Braves’ Joseph Barnes, Jake McCullough and Jacob Bollinger and the Owls’ Seth Ragon all managed top three finishes Thursday at the Bloomington North Regional.
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Missing the entirety of his sophomore year due to ineligibility after transferring from Medora to Brownstown Central, Barnes knew he could compete with the best in southern Indiana.
In Thursday’s regional, Barnes punched his ticket to the state finals in a pair of events. The state meet is next Thursday at IU in Bloomington.
A monster throw of 55-7½ won the shot put, and Barnes tossed a school-record 161-1 for third place in the discus.
“It feels amazing. It has always been my dream,” Barnes said. “My expectations in discus have soared past my expectations. I had no idea I would break the school record. I knew the state standard, and I almost scratched because I thought the angle was bad. It was the second throw on my first flight.”
The shot put mark is Barnes’ first regional title.
“In warm-ups, I was going 58 and 59 feet. We changed how I landed on my third throw, and it paid off,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to being at state with my family. Wherever I throw, my family comes and supports me, whether it’s conference, sectional, regional or state.”
Braves senior Jake McCullough threw up his arms as soon as he hit the finish line of the 800-meter run.
Staying at the front of the pack the entire race, McCullough just missed second place with his time of 2:00.22.
“The first thing I thought was, ‘I did it,’” McCullough said. “I gave it my all, and I was so happy. It was a personal best for me. I did bad at the start, but after that on the second lap, I snuck behind two guys and rode the third guy hard the rest of the way.”
It was just McCullough’s second time running the 800 this season.
“Looking back at my freshman year, I never thought I would be where I am now, especially in the 800,” he said. “I was just running the 4×800 relay and the distance events. I’m looking forward to competing, I’m hoping to break two minutes.”
For the pole vault, Bollinger climbed 13-9 for a third-place finish.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings ever,” the junior said. “I’ve worked really hard to get here. I worked up the pole well and had a consistent run. “
While it wasn’t a personal best for Bollinger, who owns the school record, he said he can’t complain since he’s going to the state meet.
“I’ve always wanted to be a state since I started jumping in the seventh grade,” Bollinger said. “Above me, there will be some kids who jump over 15 and 16 feet.”
In the high jump, Ragon, a junior, finished second by clearing 6-5.
North Central’s Neal Green also cleared 6-5 but won over Ragon on misses.
“It felt really good to be able to PR in such a big meet like this,” Ragon said. “I had really good confidence tonight, and I think that’s what helped me to be so successful. I’m looking forward to the competitive atmosphere. It was such a great experience, and I’m glad to be able to have it again.”
Numerous county athletes take field
A handful of other athletes from Jackson County also competed at Thursday’s regional.
In the 4×800 relay, Seymour’s team of Bradan Thomasma, Trent Hohenstreiter, Alex Lovins and Tim Molinari placed 11th in 8:45.88, while Brownstown Central’s Harlan Deaton, Jeremy Pitts, Cameron Lee and Kyle Kramer got 16th in 9:08.43.
In the 100, Ethan Ortman of Seymour just missed the finals with a ninth-place finish in 11.65.
Ortman also ran the 200, finishing 14th in 24.55.
Seymour’s Cameron Deppen clocked 4:40.73 for seventh, while Hunter Bauserman timed 4:42.66 for ninth in the 1,600.
Seymour’s Austin Hatfield, Gavin Blanton, Evens Cribs and Ortman combined for 44.86 (8th) in the 4×100 relay.
With a time of 52.62, Seymour’s Kem Forvil finished sixth in the 400.
The Owls’ Nik Richert throw 112-1 in the discus for 16th.
Seymour’s 4×400 relay team of Conner Lane, Luke Champ, Cribs and Forvil placed 11th in 3:39.85.
The pole vault saw Seymour’s Jake Vance get fifth at 12-6 and Brownstown’s Colton Ritz seventh, hitting 12-6.
For the long jump, Owls senior Austin Hatfield leaped 19-1¾ (12th).
With a throw of 49-3, Braves senior Clayton Wilkerson finished ninth in the shot put.
Athletes may still qualify for state depending on how many opposing competitors scratch before the final cuts.