Bollinger, Pennington advance to state track and field finals


Every athlete’s goal is to have a career-best performance on the biggest stage possible.

Brownstown Central senior Caleb Bollinger and Seymour sophomore Josh Pennington did that and more Thursday night.

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Both recorded personal bests at the Bloomington North Regional for second place finishes. Bollinger cleared 13 feet, 8 inches in the pole vault and Pennington timed 15.31 in the 110 hurdles to advance to the state finals.

Top three placers in each event qualified for state, which will be May 31 at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Bollinger beat his personal best by eight inches en route to qualifying for state for a second time. In last week’s sectional, Bollinger vaulted 13-0.

“It means a lot to me,” Bollinger said. “I put in a lot of hard work in this year. I came to Bloomington two to three times per week, and sometimes on weekends. I’ve been working on the pole vault for six years. To make my last year a big one means a lot to me.”

Jeffersonville’s Joshua Wiers won the pole vault at 14-0.

In one year’s time, Pennington made a humongous jump in his event at the regional. Friday will be his first-ever state appearance.

“Last year, I ran a 16.3 and got last here,” Pennington said. “I’ve just been working. I improved by a second and feel awesome. I’m glad I get the opportunity to go to state.”

The 110 hurdles champion was Bloomington South’s Mischa Dzubay in 15.22.

Fifty high schools feeding in from five sectionals were represented at the regional.

Bloomington North won the meet by edging Bloomington South 98-95.5. Seymour was 14th with 11 points, Brownstown Central finished 21st (8 points) and Trinity Lutheran was 24th (5 points).

Trinity senior A.J. Goecker just missed making his first state finals in the 3,200. Goecker stayed in the top four the entire race, but was edged by .81 seconds for third place at the finish line with a time of 9:40.24 in the two-mile.

Seymour’s Haden Mettert tossed 49-11 for sixth place in the shot put and Caleb Madden threw 132-0 to finish 13th overall in the discus. The Owls’ Cayton Bailiff ran the 100 in 11.86 for 12th while Charlie Caudill (high jump) and Jakub Marek (pole vault) did not place.

Brownstown Central’s Derek Thompson finished 10th in the 200 in 23.78 and cleared 6-0 for 10th in the high jump. He teamed up with Brandon Wilson, Braeden Walker and Bollinger in the 4×100 for a 12th place finish in 45.67.