Take two: Byrne wins regional 1,600 and 3,200
North Harrison senior Tyler Byrne punched his ticket for the Indiana state track finals for the third year in a row Friday night when he won both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the Bloomington North Regional. South Central’s Chris O’Connor also qualified, finishing second in the high jump. The meet had been postponed from Thursday because of a two-hour lightning delay.
In last year’s 1,600 at regional, Byrne had to settle for second place to then sophomore Jace Lowry of Martinsville. A year later, the finish swapped around, but it wasn’t easy.
Byrne grabbed the lead at the gun but was pace directly behind by Lowry. Seymour’s Nolan Fife also went with the lead group as did North Harrison’s Jonathon Reynolds. Fife dropped back briefly at the start of the end of the third and Reynolds moved up next to Lowry on the outside with Byrne still leading, barely, on the rail.
‘He was right up there with us, and I was rooting Jonathon on,’ Byrne said.
On the gun lap, Byrne and Lowry tried to break away from the front group. Fife also kicked in another gear to move up to the leading pair. With two turns to go, Lowry moved ahead of Byrne with Fife on the outside. With just 30 meters to go in the race, Byrne made a final move on the inside of Lowry. All three hit the finish line together, but Byrne had the edge, winning by just 0.05 of a second over Lowry in a time of 4:20.84. Fife was just 0.07 behind Lowry. North Harrison’s Jonathon Reynolds finished fourth.
‘We stayed pretty close most of the time,’ Byrne said. ‘I went out at a pretty slow pace. Nobody wanted to take the lead, so I just kind of kept at that pace, save as much energy as I could … It kind of came down to a kicker’s race.’
Byrne said the finish was a matter of just waiting for the right moment to push ahead.
‘I was going to try to pull up beside him in the turn, but he was over a little bit,’ said the North Harrison senior. ‘I just waited. I didn’t want any problems there at the end. He scooted over a little bit, and I saw Nolan Fife pulling up so I just went for it and it worked out.’
Byrne had to battle with Lowry again in the 3,200, but there was less of a challenge. At one point, Byrne led by about 20 meters, but Lowry later closed that gap by half. Byrne punched in his top gear in the last two turns to hold off Lowry to win by just more than a second.
‘I definitely wanted to come out on top in that one,’ Byrne said. ‘I just wanted to work on my pace and drive as much as I could … From the sound of the people, I thought he was creeping up on me. I just hit the last lap and tried to give it everything I had to make sure I didn’t get out-kicked at the end. That was the last thing I wanted.’
It was then that Byrne dropped a big surprise about this week’s state finals. The North Harrison senior would scratch out of the 1,600 and focus on the 3,200. The move also allowed teammate Reynolds to run at the state final in the 1,600.
‘I’ve went back and forth on this for I don’t know how many weeks, but I thought about it and talked with my coaches and tried to get a little bit of advice,’ he said. ‘I came to the conclusion I’m just going to go with the two-mile and be happy with it and give it my all. Hopefully, it turns out good.’
North Harrison coach Joe Kellum said the state final experience will be a great help for Reynolds, who is a freshman.
‘It will be good for him,’ Kellum said. ‘He’ll get a chance to learn a lot.’
South Central’s Chris O’Connor earned a state final berth in the high jump, finishing just behind New Albany’s Brett Wehmiller. O’Connor cleared 6-2 for the runner-up spot while Wehmiller went on to clear the bar at 6-6.
‘At least, I get another chance at it,’ said the Rebel senior. ‘That’s what I really want. I knew if I wanted to beat Brett, I had to go 6-4 or 6-6 today. Yesterday I was more prepared than today, but I’m not trying to make any excuses. I should have got it today.’
O’Connor said there is a technicality issue that can be retuned before the weekend.
‘I’m dropping my shoulder a little bit too early,’ he said. ‘Mostly just form work is all it is. I’ve got the height and I’ve done it before. I’ve got to get it down to where I can do it every time.’
Corydon Central long jumper Sean Ettinger was one of those who did not get into the final meet of the year. Ettinger’s longest jump of the day was 21-feet, one-half inch, good enough for fourth.
‘It’s disappointing, but he got it,’ Ettinger said. ‘He jumped better, so I can’t be disappointed. That’s what makes doing all this fun; it’s that competition. If there’s no competition, there’s no fun. If there’s someone with you, it helps you out. It makes you better.’
Ettinger said the main thing about his four years of jumping was that he improved each year.
‘I’m glad I got better from my freshman year,’ said the Corydon Central senior. ‘My freshman year, I was only jumping a 20-foot-2 (inches). This year, I got a 21-7. I’m glad I progressed and didn’t stay plateaued.’
In other events, the North Harrison 3,200-meter relay team finished seventh (8:29.42) and Corydon Central was 14th (9:35.38). Floyd Central’s Cory Portwood was eighth (4:38.37) in the 1,600 meters, and teammate Matt Hamilton was 11th (4:45.97). In the 400-meter relay, the Cougars had to settle for 13th place (46.49).
Floyd Central’s Austin Wirth was fourth in the 400 meters (51.53) with Corydon Central’s Felix Maisch eighth (52.45) and Floyd Central’s Blake Bramer 9th (53.71). Quinton Miller scored for the Highlanders in the 300-meter hurdles finishing eighth (41.81) and North Harrison’s Jarod Richards was 10th (42.51). Cougar Ryan Foster was seventh (2:04.00) in the 800 with South Central’s Cody Roby 11th (2:07.26). Richard’s was also sixth (6-0) in the high jump.
North Harrison’s Johnnie Guy finished fifth (9:44.47) in the 3,200 with Corydon Central’s Cheyenne Smith back at ninth (10:15.21). The Cougars were sixth (3:31.82) in the 1,600 relay with Floyd Central seventh (3:32.36) and Corydon Central eighth (3:32.48).
In the pole vault, Floyd Central’s Logan Kelley was 10th (12-0) with Blake Moutoux 13th (11-0) and North Harrison’s Ben Avery 13th (10-6).
Team scores ‘ Bloomington South 86, Bloomington North 72, Martinsville 58, Seymour 56, Jeffersonville 48, Mooresville 41, North Harrison 38-1/2, New Albany 33, Bedford-NL 26, Clarksville 21, Scottsburg 18, Brown County 14, Charlestown 13, Floyd Central 13, Jennings County 11, Brownstown 9, Salem 9, Paoli 9, South Central 8, Corydon 7, Monrovia 6, Providence 3, Madison 2-1/2, Springs Valley 2, Henryville 2, Mitchell 1, Crothersville 1, Silver Creek 1.
Individual results (top 3 to state) ‘ 3,200 relay ‘ 1. Brown County 7:59.68, 2. Bloomington South, 3. Seymour; 100 ‘ 1. Bigham (Mrsvl) 11.03, 2. Fleming (Symr), 3. Gibson (Mrsvl); 110 hurdles ‘ 1. Tuttle (BN) 14.22, 2. Galoozis (BS), 3. Byrd (BN); 200 ‘ 1. Masers (Clkvl) 22.53, 2. Parrish (NA), 3. Nay (Mrtnvl); 1,600 ”1. Byrne (NH) 4:20.84, 2. Lowry (Mrtnvl), 3. Fife (Symr); 400 relay ‘ 1. Seymour 43.15, 2. Bloomington North, 3. Mooresville; 400 ‘ 1. Nay (Mrtnvl) 49.94, 2. Passmore (Mrsvl), 3. King (Chrlstn); 300 hurdles ‘ 1. Tuttle (BN) 37.49, 2. Bolding (Mrtnvl), 3. Wehmiller (NA); 800 ‘ 1. Waterman (BN) 1:53.31, 2. Gornall (BS), 3. Toppe (Symr); 3,200 ‘ 1. Byrne (NH) 9:28.27, 2. Lowry (Mrtnvl), 3. Smith (BS); 1,600 relay ‘ 1. Bloomington North 3:23.16, 2. Seymour, 3. Bloomington South; Long jump ‘ 1. Anderson (BN) 23-0, 2. Martin (Jeff), 3. Kameda (Pa); High jump ‘ 1. Weymiller (NA) 6-6, 2. O’Connor (SC), 3. Watson (Mnrv); Shot put ‘ 1. Gabe Hull (BS) 63-0*, 2. Zollman (BNL), 3. Brock (Symr); Discus ‘ 1. Hull (BS) 180-11, 2. Applegate (Mrtnvl), 3. Oloruntoba (Jeff); Pole vault ‘ 1. Volz (BS) 16-0, 2. Anderson (BN), 3. Callahan.