‘It was the best feeling’: Seymour’s 4×4 team qualifies for state meet


BLOOMINGTON — Seymour’s Josh Rennekamp has been waiting for this for four years.

Michael Brooks threw his hands in the air in celebration. Devon Jackson got emotional as he watched Jaylan Johnson head down the final stretch, and Johnson himself rejoiced with teammates when he crossed the finish line.

It was a roller coaster of emotions for those four Owls because in the final race of the Bloomington North Regional on Thursday, they were able to take third place in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:26.10 to qualify for the state meet next week.

“Oh my gosh, it sounds amazing,” Rennekamp said. “I’ve been waiting four years as a senior now to get this, and it feels good to have it.”

“It was great,” Jackson said. “All I’ve wanted to hear is that we’re state bound, and once I saw (Jaylan) running down, I started crying. It was the best feeling.”

Seymour’s 4×400 relay team from 2022 came close to qualifying for the state meet but fell short. Johnson and Rennekamp were on the team from last year, and both of them didn’t want to feel that way again.

“I think we were really ready,” Rennekamp said. “We worked hard during practice, and we knew we had it in us.”

Jackson and Brooks are the two newcomers on the relay squad. Jackson leads things off the Owls, and Brooks runs second.

“It has been great. They’ve helped me shave like 3 seconds since my first meet. They’ve always been just encouraging me,” Jackson said. “Yeah, I get nervous, but I know even if I do happen to fall behind, they’re going to catch us back up.”

By the time Rennekamp got the baton for the third leg, he was in a group with Jennings County and Bloomington South.

With Bloomington North ahead of the pack, it was going to come down to one of those three teams to determine the final two spots, and Rennekamp felt confident.

“I’ve got a good feeling because Jaylan is a good anchor, and I know I can keep up with those boys, so I feel confident when I’m in that group,” he said.

Johnson took care of business on the final leg as he beat out Jennings County, which finished with a time of 3:26.88.

They were the only Jackson County athletes to advance to the state meet next week, but there were plenty of other stellar performances around the county.

In the 3200, all three Jackson County athletes ran personal-best times. Seymour’s Jude Bane placed eighth in 9:46.97, Brownstown’s Chance Ratliff was 10th in 9:55.75 and Crothersville’s Dirk Crater was 15th in 10:07.54, which re-broke the school record he set at sectional last week.

“There was one goal in mind, and it was to re-break my own school record,” Crater said. “The goal was to come out, not get 16th and break my own school record.”

In the 4×100, Brownstown’s team of Caleb Cummings, Jack Pace, Isiaah Engle and Hudson Fritz placed fourth with a time of 43.78, and Seymour’s team of Logan Shelly, Mason Nugent, Jesse Mellencamp and Jackson placed sixth in 44.08.

Seymour’s Bryson Darlage was fourth in the long jump for at 21-2.75, and he tied for ninth in high jump at 5-10.

Johnson was sixth in the solo 400 in 51.68, and Brownstown’s Garrett Driver was ninth in 52.14.

In the 300 hurdles, BC’s Engle was seventh (41.41), Trinity Lutheran’s Jake Holland was 10th (42.29) and BC’s Gregory Hutcheson was 12th (43.78).

In the 200, Cummings was sixth in 23.05 and Mellencamp was eighth in 24.03. Fritz was 10th in the 100 with a time of 11.44, Holland placed ninth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.19 and Brooks was 16th in the 800 in 2:05.05.

Brownstown’s 4×800 team of Chance Ratliff, Bradley Edwards, Damien Owens and Shane Ratliff placed 12th with a time of 8:46.24, and the Braves’ 4×400 team of Hutcheson, Driver, Lane Zike and Engle placed 10th in 3:36.46.

The boys state finals meet will be next Friday at Indiana University, and Seymour’s 4×400 team hopes to break the school record when they show up to compete.

“I’m looking for school record,” Rennekamp said. “It’s 3:24, so we have to get about one, one and a half, to two seconds off our time today to get it.”

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