SALEM — Their first runs, walks, jumps and throws of the track and field competition season are in the rear-view mirror.
Now, Jackson County athletes are focused on the largest annual event hosted by Special Olympics Indiana, the Summer Games in Terre Haute.
That will take place June 9 to 11 at Indiana State University’s Gibson Track and Field Complex.
Also that weekend, bocce, bowling, cycling, powerlifting, soccer, volleyball and swimming will be in competition. Swimming will be at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Jackson County’s only other Summer Games sport is bocce.
All of those sports, however, don’t require a competition before Summer Games to qualify. County programs just have to submit scores or times ahead of time.
For track and field, each of the 10 areas in the state hosts an area meet. Any athlete who competes there is eligible to compete at Summer Games.
Jackson County was joined by the Bartholomew-Brown-Jennings Counties, Clark-Floyd Counties, Harrison County and Washington County programs in the Area 2 meet May 13 at Salem High School.
To kick off the meet, 2022 Area 2 Athlete of the Year Dale Hickman of Jackson County carried the Flame of Hope to lead the parade of athletes around the track. He was escorted by Washington County Sheriff Brent Miller.
Once the action started, Jackson County had 18 athletes competing. Five of them did the maximum of three events.
Nevaeh Ackeret was among them, earning gold medals for placing first in the 200-meter dash (42.15 seconds), 400-meter run (1:35.50) and running long jump (2.0 meters).
Owen Law took home a gold medal in the 200-meter dash (50.50) and silver medals for placing second in the 100-meter dash (25.81) and mini-javelin throw.
Zack Campbell also had a strong showing, placing first in the mini-javelin throw (9.4), second in the 100-meter dash (21.65) and fifth in the shot put (21.4).
Kayla Kriete picked up a trio of medals for placing first in the softball throw (8.2), second in the 50-meter dash (12.97) and third in the standing long jump (0.6)
Elijah Noble was second in the 50-meter dash (9.0), third in the softball throw (11.4) and fourth in the standing long jump (1.52).
All other athletes competed in either one running event and one field event or two field events.
Becky Klosterman earned a pair of golds in winning her division of the 50-meter unassisted walk (19.12) and tennis ball throw (9.1), Haley Hoener received two golds for winning the 100-meter dash (21.85) and shot put (15.8), Josh Beals won shot put (27.8) and mini-javelin throw (23.8) and David Perrin won the 25-meter unassisted walk (16.13) and softball throw (17.3).
Amanda Hamm won the softball throw (11.9) and was second in the 50-meter unassisted walk (20.25), Darrell Stevens placed first in the softball throw (43.7) and was second in the 50-meter dash (11.38) and Rob Smith won the 50-meter unassisted walk and was second in the softball throw (15.8).
Also, Alysha Sandlin won the softball throw (23.0) and earned bronze for placing third in the 800-meter walk (9:04.97), Averie Brennan took gold in the 50-meter dash (9.03) and bronze in the softball throw (14.6), Todd Smith earned silver in the 50-meter dash (9.34) and softball throw (28.8) and Cassie Brock finished second in the softball throw (9.3) and third in the 50-meter unassisted walk (24.16).
Finally, Derrick Martin was second in the 400-meter walk (3:39) ahead of teammate Roger Dillman in third (3:49.19), and both placed fourth in separate divisions of the softball throw, Martin tossing the ball 19.9 meters and Dillman throwing 17.
The Jackson County athletes will continue practicing on Wednesday night the next three weeks before heading to Summer Games.