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Highlander boys run away from field, dominate

Highlander boys run away from field, dominate
Highlander boys run away from field, dominate
North Harrison harrier Daniel Fleace and Borden's Julien Magallanes battle through the early going on the 3,200-meter race. Photo by Wade Bell

The Floyd Central Highlander boys’ track team completed a sweep of its own sectional Thursday night, dominating like the Lady Highlanders did two nights before. Floyd Central ran away with a 53.5-win margin over runner-up New Albany. Eastern was back in third place, while Borden and North Harrison were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the team standings. Corydon Central was sixth, Crawford County eighth, South Central 10th and Lanesville 11th.
‘We wanted to position ourselves for next week (at regionals), but things can go wrong real quick,’ Floyd Central coach Lane Oxley said. ‘If one guy goes down or two guys go down, it changes everything. Everybody got through the meet, and we got most of the guys on to regional that we wanted to get on.’
The top three of each event are secured a spot in the regional. From there, the next best times from those four sectionals for that regional determine who fills the remaining spots to have 16 people in each event. Oxley said it’s a rule he likes but will have to see how it goes this first year.
‘I think it’s good,’ he said. ‘You get the best performers, and it makes the state better. You can’t take anything for granted and be comfortable with fourth place. You can’t slow down at the end thinking, ‘Oh, I’m guaranteed a spot’.’
Floyd Central scored big points early in the field events, with Kyle Zeineman and Nick Burkland finishing second and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault, while Cody Bennet and Anthony Hodge were second and fourth, respectively, in the shot put.
Crawford County had some solid performances in the field events, with Zachary Faith finishing second in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 4 inches. Corydon Central’s Grant Smith was third at 20-3, and Lanesville’s Jacob Watkins was fourth at 18-11. Faith also qualified for the regional in the high jump, finishing third at a height of 6-1 with teammate Ty Nickelson capturing the title with a height of 6 feet, 5 inches.
‘It felt pretty good,’ Faith said of the long jump. ‘I felt like I could have done a little better. … That matched my PR. I’m happy for (winner Micah Oberhausen of Providence). He did good.’
Tomorrow (Thursday) will be Faith’s first regional competition.
‘I actually worked last year, so I did not get to come out,’ he said. ‘I’m pretty well just going to work on steps and form, try to get it all down, so I can get it back down there in the high jump and, hopefully, get back up there with Ty. And then, hopefully, at least 21s in the long jump. That’s my goal.’
Nickelson may have appeared cool, calm and collected from the outside after winning his high jump event, but the Crawford County junior said he was anything but that.
‘I’m still shaking,’ a smiling Nickelson said. ‘It hasn’t quite hit me yet. My sophomore year and freshman year I didn’t even make it out of sectional, and I won it this year. This is my biggest accomplishment ever. I’m pretty happy about this.’
Nickelson said he made some adjustments in his approach and takeoff to the bar to improve the consistencies in his jumping. The Crawford County junior only had one miss leading up to his 6-5 height, before finishing with misses at 6-6.
‘Being consistent with my approach and getting up in the air,’ he said. ‘That’s what I really wanted to improve on this year. Last year, I was inconsistent with my approach and my takeoff. I didn’t change a whole lot. I altered where I took off right before the mat. Other than that, I tried to stay consistent through the whole meet.’
The 6 feet, 5 inches was a personal best for Nickelson in the event, and he also had a personal best in the 110-meter high hurdles, finishing fourth in 16.16 seconds.
‘I had a great day,’ he said. ‘I got a new personal record in both of my events. I’m waiting to hear if I got out in the hurdles. I ran a PR there of 16.16 (finishing fourth). It would be nice to repeat trips to the regional in hurdles.’
Floyd Central’s Chase Blackman owned the 110-meter high hurdles, winning in a time of 15.5 seconds. North Harrison’s Chris Bowen was right behind in second at 15.75. The last two years Blackman has had to run in the shadow of Grant Foster but now has finally been able to have his day.
‘It was nice to actually not come in second place my senior year,’ a smiling Blackman said.
Floyd Central senior Gaige Klingsmith won both the 100 and 200 dashes, beating out teammate Blake Carl with a time of 11.08 seconds in the 100, with Carl finishing at 11.28. Crawford County’s Zach Faith was fifth at 11.56.
Klingsmith said he hopes better competition at the Evansville Central Regional will help him bring down his time even more and hopes being at Evansville will bring the team a regional title.
‘The better the competition is, the better I am, so, hopefully, I can compete up into the state with everything I’ve got left,’ he said. ‘At Bloomington, they had good competition. Evansville, I don’t know why they moved our regional down there, but they did. We went down there and raced them in an invitational. We’ve pretty much seen most of the competition, but I think we’ve got a better shot at winning regional this year at Evansville.’
In the 400-meter dash, Floyd Central’s Connor Sturgeon finished second in a time of 52.36 and Corydon Central’s Logan Dunaway was third at 52.41 to secure a regional berth. In the 1,600-meter run, Floyd Central’s Luke Uhl and Chad Lawrence finished (4:33.81) second and fourth (4:38.46), respectively.
After winning his 110-hurdles event, Blackman came back in the 300-meter hurdles to get his second win of the night in a time of 41.89 seconds. North Harrison’s Chris Bowen had to settle for second again in a time of 42.18 seconds. Floyd Central’s Bradley Foster was third at 43.16.
‘Two second places,’ Bowen said. ‘After that second to last hurdle, he had me and I didn’t necessarily let up, but I realized second place. Then, when he stuttered on that last hurdle, I saw the stutter and just went for it. But I was already too far back to get him.’
Bowen said he’ll use the entire Cougars’ track to get ready for tomorrow’s regional.
‘I’m going to run a lot of 400s,’ he said. ‘I’m going to do a lot of hard 400s and get some good workouts the next few days. It definitely helps with the starts and with the endurance, to know that I’m going to have the speed to keep it up.’
Floyd Central’s Adam Wallace led from beginning to end in the 800-meter run but had a packed group behind him closer than what he would have liked to have seen. The Floyd Central senior finished first in a time of 1:57.67 for a new sectional record, breaking the 1992 mark of 1:57.80. Corydon Central’s Johnathan Leaf was second in 1:59.15, and Eastern’s Khalil McDaniel was third at 2:00.91.
Wallace said there won’t be any changes in getting ready for the Evansville Central Regional.
Klingsmith was showing a little pain following his win in the 200-meter dash, winning in a time of 22.74 seconds. North Harrison’s Cayton Christian was fifth at 23.91 seconds.
‘I’ve been dealing with an Achilles heel problem for the last couple of years,’ he said. ‘With these spikes, they do hurt immediately after this, but give it a while and I’ll be back to normal.’
North Harrison’s Daniel Fleace battled with one of his biggest rivals in the 3,200-meter run against Borden’s Julien Magallanes, but, in the last half of the race, Fleace began to struggle with a thigh injury that had developed earlier in the season. Magallanes pulled away from Fleace, going on to win in a time of 9:26.20, while Fleace held on for second in 9:48.47.
‘It did get to me,’ Fleace admitted. ‘It wasn’t awful. I started to feel it the second half. I was good to race on it, nothing major. It’s tightened up a lot more right now after the race. It’s mainly the quad and upper thigh muscles.
‘I would have liked to have run a little better, but the important thing for me tonight was to advance,’ he said. ‘I had a little bit of a delay, a minor setback, and tonight wasn’t the night I couldn’t put all my marbles in. It was a decent performance. I would have liked for it to be a little faster, but I moved on, so that was the important thing for me tonight. It’s kind of survive and advance. Next week, it’s whatever it takes. I’ll be a little grittier and try to hold my ground.’
Floyd Central finished off the night with a blistering pace in the 1,600-meter relay. Chase Blakeman, Connor Sturgeon, Gaige Klingsmith and Adam Wallace ran away from the field, finishing in a time of 3:26.93. North Harrison was well back in fourth (3:38.41), and Corydon Central was eighth (3:45.63).

Team scores: 1. Floyd Central 164.5, 2. New Albany 111, 3. Eastern (Pekin) 57, 4. Borden 55, 5. North Harrison 54, 6. Corydon Central 50.5, 7. Providence 46, 8. Crawford County 44, 9. Christian Academy of Indiana 15, 10. South Central 14, 11. Lanesville 12.
Individual results (Top 3 to regional): 100 ‘ 1. G. Klingsmith (FC) 11.08, 2. B. Carl (FC)11.28, 3. C. Estes (E) 11.55; 200 ‘ 1. G. Klingsmith 22.74, 2. S. Lewis (NA) 23.27, 3. M. Oberhausen (Prov) 23.72; 400 ‘ 1. S. Lewis (NA) 51.90, 2. C. Sturgeon (FC), 52.26, 3. L. Dunaway (Cor) 52.41; 800 ‘ 1. A. Wallace (FC) 1:57.67; 2. J. Leaf (Cor) 1:59.15, 3. K. McDaniel (E) 2:00.91; 1,600 ‘ 1. J. Magallanes (Bor) 424.46, 2. L. Uhl (FC) 4:33.81, 3. S. Stidam (CA) 4:35.39; 3,200 ‘ 1. J. Magallanes (Bor) 9:26.20, 2. D. Fleace (NH) 9:48.47, 3. K. Warren (E) 9:54.10; 110 hurdles ‘ 1.C. Blakeman 15.50, 2. C. Bowen (NH) 15.75, 3. A. McKinley (Bor) 16:03; 300 hurdles ‘ 1. C. Blakeman (FC) 41.89, 2. C. Bowen (NH) 42.18, 3. B. Foster (FC) 43.16; 400 relay ‘ 1. Floyd Central 44.33, 2. Eastern 46.66, 3. New Albany 46.89; 1,600 relay ‘ 1. Floyd Central 3:26.93, 2. Eastern 3:35.56, 3. Borden 3:36.19; 3,200 relay ‘ 1. Floyd Central 8:18.06, 2. Eastern 8:41.25, New Albany 8:48.07; High jump ‘ 1. T. Nickelson (CC) 6-5, 2. I. Hickman (NA) 6-5, 3. Z. Faith (CC) 6-1; Pole vault ‘ 1. A. McKinley (Bor) 15-0, 2. K. Zeineiman (FC) 12-0, 3. T. Boyd (NA) 10-10; Long jump ‘ 1. M. Oberhausen 20-3-3/4, 2. Z. Faith (CC) 20-4, 3. G. Smith (Cor) 20-1; Shot put ‘ 1. T. Fort (NA) 46-3, 2. C. Bennett (FC) N. Schmitt (Cor) 44-2; Discus ‘ 1. Tim Fort (NA) 135-135-8, 2. B. Roberson (NA) 130-5, 3. B. Kazmierzak (FC) 130-3.