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County track and field athletes look to make sectional noise

Posted Monday, May 10, 2010, at 4:10 PM

Next week's track and field sectionals for both the boys and girls are shaping up to be pretty interesting affairs. While Terre Haute North and South typically take the top two team spots, Northview athletes have had some standout efforts of late that might make things interesting.

While the Braves and Patriots have a significant amount of depth that makes dual and three-way meets a bit one-sided, the 10-team sectionals negate some of that depth and open the team scoring for outstanding individual efforts.

The Knights have got the talent on both the boys and girls sides to make a significant impact against their Vigo County rivals when competition begins Tuesday, May 18 followed by the boys on Thursday, May 20.

On the boys side of the equation, Northview finished a distant fourth behind the victorious Braves, who edged the Patriots 174.5 to 173 with South Vermillion in third. The Knights scored 57 with Clay City back in ninth with 19 points.

Northview has the opportunity to pick up some big team points in the sprints behind junior Joel Whittington, who has posted the fastest reported times in the Wabash Valley in the 200 meters (22.66), 110-meter hurdles (15.30) and 300-meter hurdles (40.68), which is a school record. He also has the second-quickest time in the 100 meters (11.10).

While there is no guarantee that he'll run all four of those events in the sectional, a top-three in each of them would give Northview no fewer than 24 team points. Victories are worth 10 points, with second giving the team eight and third providing six points. The top-eight places are scored in individual events.

Michael Flora will be a strong contender to add points for the Knights in the sprint events and he owns a 53.44 in the 400 meters and both he and Levi Pollard have run well in the 100 meters.

Conor Strain has the ability and experience to score key points in the distance events as he has the third-quick time in the 1,600 (4:31), behind Shakamak's Drew Gambill (a school record, 4:12.5). Strain also has a time of 10:16 in the 3,200 meters, which is behind North's John Mascari (9:10.02) and Tyeson Mundy (9:59.96) along with South's Taylor Head and Clayton Harlan.

Gambill also has the top area time in the 800 meters (1:56) and the 400 meters (51.5).

Clay City is led by Devon Hall in the throwing events as he topped the school record in the discus recently with his throw of 147-7, which is second to Rockville's James Kent (156-9) in the area. Linton's Stefan Sparks will be in the mix in both the shot and discus with his top throw in the shot at 54-8 and 147-1 in the discus.

Ethan Shaw ran a 16.72 in the 110 hurdles at the Tri-River Conference meet for a victory and won the 300 hurdles in 43.19.

In the distance events, Parker and Conner Modesitt have plenty of big meet experience along with Jesse Vansickle. In the long jump, Mark Grubbs ripped off a leap of 20-0 at the TRC Meet to win the event. That distance would have placed him in a regional qualifying spot at last year's sectional.

The Northview girls' team has some star power of its own that should give them some highlights at the sectional meet.

The Knights have the top two reported heights in the high jump as both Krista Stearley and Tara Summers have cleared 5'2 this season. That height would have won the event last year as North freshman, Rachel Welker won at 5'0.

Stearley is also second quickest on the Valley's 100-meter list at (13.0) and is part of the 4x100 relay team. Annie Smiley is second quickest in the 100 hurdles (16.4) to West Vigo's Brittaney Solomon (15.69) and is in the mix in the pole vault at 8'6 and 4x100 relay.

Carlee Bell has added depth to the sprint events since moving over from softball earlier in the season and could earn valuable extra team points for the Knights.

In throwing events, senior Samantha Solomon is looking to duplicate her sectional victory in the discus, but will have to overcome South's Ariane Bell in both the shot and discus events. Solomon was third in the shot put last year. Kalyn Beil could add some extra points in the event as she's thrown a season best of 90-3.

Competition takes place at Terre Haute North High School beginning at 5 p.m. each day.

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