Seymour unified track and field team progresses in second meet


From meet to meet, the Seymour High School unified track and field coaches want to see improvement in their athletes.

That’s all they are asking.

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So far, that’s what they have gotten.

During the team’s second meet of 2019 on Tuesday at Jennings County, several athletes set personal records.

Among them were Jeremiah Griffin in the shot put, A.J. Engel in the 400-meter dash (1:12.65), Elijah Sandlin in the 400-meter dash (1:20.93), Anne Lenart in the long jump (6-7), Addison Wingler in the shot put (24-6¼) and Kim Clemente in the shot put (21-2½).

“I think they were more confident this time,” coach Jessica Floyd said. “I think they knew what was going to go on a little bit more and had some experience now with what happens, so it seemed to be a little bit easier in that sense.”

The second year of the program started April 4 against Columbus North at Bulleit Stadium. The Unified Sports program, which is a joint effort between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana, offers an opportunity for students with and without disabilities to compete in an IHSAA-sanctioned activity.

This year’s roster grew from 17 to 40 members. Athletes can compete in the 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 400-meter relay, shot put or long jump.

Seymour initially was scheduled to compete in five meets this season, but Tuesday’s meet was an addition.

“It was just kind of practice for conference that’s coming up in about a week and a half,” Floyd said. “Jennings County called us — and they weren’t originally on our schedule — and said kind of a friendly in a way, ‘Hey, would you come give us some practice and you take some practice?’ and we said, ‘Absolutely,’ so we came out here just to kind of get a little bit more experience for them.”

Engel said he was happy with his progress in the 400-meter dash from the first meet to the second one.

Setting a PR made up for what he said wasn’t a good performance earlier in the meet in the long jump.

“Long jump was tough for me,” he said. “I put that jump behind me. I just hung in there (in the 400). I talked about character.”

Engel said it helped to have one of the peers, sophomore Ryan Elmore, running alongside him during the run.

“He helped me, pushed me,” Engel said. “We’re all family around here. We need people to step up and help us.”

Floyd also praised the athletes who stepped up to compete in more events Tuesday night. That included senior Haley Ackeret, who competed in every event but long jump.

“Some of them were in a lot more events than they usually run, like Haley doesn’t always run the 400, but I needed her tonight, and she stepped up and did a great job for me in the 400,” Floyd said. “I was just really proud of how they took a lot of races in on a warm-weather day and didn’t complain and just had a great time.”

On Wednesday, Seymour will compete in a four-team meet at Columbus North.

“That will be a really good practice for the way conference and sectional will go,” Floyd said.

The conference meet is April 27 at Columbus East, the last-regular season meet is May 6 at home against Columbus East and Bedford North Lawrence and sectional is May 18 at Borden.