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Crawford’s Nickelson advances, clears 6-4

Crawford’s Nickelson advances, clears 6-4
Crawford’s Nickelson advances, clears 6-4
Crawford County's Ty Nickelson sails across the bar at 6 feet, 4 inches to automatically earn a spot at this year's boys' state finals. Nickelson finished third in the event. Photo by Wade Bell

The Floyd Central Highlander boys’ track team sent runners to last week’s boys’ state track finals on the Indiana University track and field facility but not in the way they had hoped after junior standout Antonio Villegas suffered a leg injury in the 100-meter dash.
Villegas and teammate Connor Sturgeon still came out winners and advanced, along with Crawford County’s Ty Nickelson, who placed third in the high jump.
Just as he did in the boys’ track sectional, Villegas wasted no time setting the mark of the day in the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 3 inches in the preliminary rounds. The next closest after that was Evansville Bosse senior Kevin Porter’s 21-7 leap.
The taste of qualifying for the state finals turned bitter in the 100 for the Floyd Central junior. With 30 meters to go in the race, Villegas grabbed the back of his right leg and suddenly slowed. Villegas limped across the line in seventh place and found himself out for rest of the meet with a pulled hamstring.
Floyd Central coach Lane Oxley said that hurt the team in four events.
‘I don’t know if (Villegas) can get it together,’ he said. ‘I think he’d been second there (in the 100) and probably second in the 200. He probably had a chance to go under 22.’
Crawford County’s Nickelson found the one thing he needed to help motivate him for the high jump each time he walked across the school’s gym floor. Up on the wall was a picture of former Crawford high jumper Travis Beals clearing a school record 6 feet, 11 inches at the 1994 Floyd Central sectional.
‘That’s an act to follow,’ Nickelson said. ‘That was a good guy. I see (his picture) about every day going to the weight room and think, ‘There’s the motivation right there.’ I want to be in his spot. I want to get some experience, and I want to get better than what I’ve got the last two meets.’
Nickelson met the first goal by clearing 6-4, meeting the state standard for the state finals and finishing third in the event. Advancement to the state meet wasn’t that smooth of ride, however, as the junior had to earn his way. Nickelson just missed a state berth in the 300-meter hurdles with a fourth-place finish (41.17).
‘I’ve been getting a little lazy on my jumps, not going out as hard as I should,’ Nickelson admitted. ‘I was just trying to go over them with just finesse but not having enough power. It’s something I’ve been working on in practice … and it’s what I’ll work on next week.’
Nickelson attacked the bar with more power and easily cleared the height needed to get to the IU Bloomington track.
‘I’m happy to make it there in one event,’ Nickelson said. ‘That’s what I went into the season really wanting to do. I didn’t care what place I got in the high jump as long as I get 6-4 and qualified for state.
‘I’ve got 6-4 two meets in a row now and I want to go 6-6 again,’ he said. ‘I think I can do it. I think it’s going to be a good weekend. I’m looking forward to jumping with (regional winner) Kevin Porter again. He’s fun to watch.’
Floyd Central’s Connor Sturgeon scored for the Highlanders in the 400, covering the single lap in 50.27 seconds for the win. Teammate Luke Canter finished seventh (52.61), and Corydon Central’s Logan Lee was 12th at 54.09 seconds.
The Wolfpack scored again in the 200 when Zach Faith finished fifth (23.53), while Perry Central’s Luke Hilgenhold was right behind in sixth (23.74). In the 1,600 run, Borden’s Julien Magallanes finished sixth (4:28.08) but came back in the 3,200 meters to finish third in a time of 9:32.07 to reach the state finals. Perry Central’s Marcus Graham was fifth in 9:41.47.
In the 400 relay, the Wolfpack finished 10th in a time of 45.57 seconds. Jasper finished third in the 1,600-meter relay with Floyd Central fifth (3:33.12) and Perry Central sixth (3:38.22). Floyd Central finished fifth in the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 8:08.44. In the pole vault, Floyd Central’s Kyle Zienemann was fifth (12-6). Teammate Cody Bennett threw 44-7 in the shot put for sixth, and Forest Park’s Zach Cline won the discus with a throw of 147-6.

Boys’ team scores: Evansville Harrison 85, Castle73, Jasper 50, Floyd Central 39, Princeton 38, Evansville North 29, New Albany 19.5, Barr-Reeve 19, Crawford County 18.5, Evansville 18, Evansville Reitz 16, Tell City 15, Gibson Southern 15, Northeast Dubois 10, Perry Central 10, Forest Park 10, Eastern (Pekin) 10, Borden 9, Providence 8, North Posey 8, Christian Academy 8, Vincennes Lincoln 7, Southridge 7, Boonville 6, Evansville Central 5, South Knox 4, Pike Central 4, South Spencer 2, Heritage Hills 1.
Boys’ individual results: 100 ‘ 1. Noah McBride (EH) 10.90, 2. Austin Peerman (MV) 11.10, 3. Elizjah Harvey (EH) 11.12; 200 ‘ 1. Noah McBride (EH) 22.11, 2. Austin Peerman (MV) 22.51, 3. Caden Kotter (VL) 22.87; 400 ‘ 1. Connor Sturgeon (FC) 50.27, 2. Desmond Walker (Prn) 50.46, 3. Cole Rahman (EM) 50.66; 800 ‘ 1. Seth Vaquero (TC) 1:57.34, 2. Corbin Kaiser (Jasp) 1:58.76, 3. Chase Bland (SR) 1:59.44; 1,600 ‘ 1. Matthew Schadler (EM) 4:22.63, 2. Jordan Kaiser (BRv) 4:23.31, 3. Justin Neiderhaus (Prn) 4:23.74; 3,200 ‘ 1. Jarit Perkins (BRv) 9:28.37, 2. Skylar Stidam (CAI) 9:30.58, 3. Julien Magallanese (Bor) 9:32.07; 110 hurdles ‘ 1. David Felton (EM) 14.71, 2. Tyler Ettel (Prov) 15.45, 3. Joe Wildt (Prn) 15.47; 300 hurdles ‘ 1. David Felton (EM) 39.73, 2. Nathaniel Williams-Jackson 39.97, 3. Joe Wildt (Prn) 40.58; 400 relay ‘ 1. Evansville Harrison 42.87, 2. Castle 43.34, 3. Evansville Mater Dei 43.53; 1,600 relay ‘ 1. Castle 3:26.92, 2. Evansville North 3:27.46, 3. Jasper 3:27.68; 3,200 relay ‘ 1. Jasper 8:00.18, 2. Evansville Memorial 8:03.83, 3. Castle 8:04.61; High jump ‘ 1.Kevin Porter (EB) 6-10 1/2*, 2. Brandon Eberle (EP) 6-6, 3. Ty Nickelson (CC) 6-4; Pole vault ‘ 1. Alex Shinnerl (Cstl) 15-0, 2. Dayton Scott (Cstl) 13-0, 3. Cru McDaniel (EM) 13-0; Long jump ‘ 1. Antonio Villegas (FC) 22-3, 2. Kevin Porter (EB) 21-7, 3. Jadrien Higginson 21-1 1/4; Shot put ‘ 1. Bryce Bailey (Cstl) 49-11, 2. Adam Shoulders (EH) 49-2, 3. Jacob Sparks (GS) 47-3; Discus ‘ 1. Zach Cline (FP) 147-6, 2. Michael Boots (EMD) 144-10, 3. Cole Jarvis (ER) 143-6
*Regional Record