Despite a steady, bone-chilling rain that continued throughout most of Friday's West Central Conference meet, the four Putnam County schools put together an impressive evening.
On the boys' side, GHS won with a total of 107. North Putnam was fifth with 58 points, Cloverdale sixth with 46 and South Putnam finished seventh with 38 points.
In the girls' events, the highlight of the evening belonged to Greencastle's Laura Weatherford. Weatherford has put together an exciting season so far and all of her hard work paid off Friday night. Weatherford scorched the South Putnam track in the 200-meter, finishing in the time of 25.86, breaking the record that has stood for 27 years. She would go on to collect four wins on the night.
Teammate Hannah Serlin ran a good meet, finishing with three wins on the night. Greencastle head coach Garry Anderson did little to conceal his pleasure with his talented senior duo.
"By golly, you have to hand it to Laura Weatherford and Hannah Serlin. Those two girls just ran their butts off tonight," Anderson said. "I just very tickled with both of them. Laura breaking that record, that's a dandy of a record, she's been going for that one for the past two years."
Jamie Patterson picked up a an individual win in the 100 (13.17), while Caitlin Gannaway won the shot put with a distance of 36-feet-6.5-inches.
GHS had relay wins in the 400 and 1,600. The team of Dee Wood, Patterson, Weatherford and Laura English won the 400 in a time of 50.82, while the team of Melissa Ball, Serlin, English and Weatherford won the 1,600 with the time of 4:16.90.
"Considering the situation with the weather, not just our team but all teams, we didn't run like we wanted to," Anderson commented. "We didn't jump or throw like we wanted to, but again that's the weather.
"I'm pleased with all the champions we had. I thought we had a good night," he added.
South Putnam finished fourth on the night behind strong performances from Shelby Johnston and Shannon Egold.
Johnston again dominated the two hurdles events. She won the 100 hurdles in a time of 16.11 and the 300 hurdles in 49.32. She also finished second in the high jump.
"I thought everyone did a very good job, especially Shelby Johnston. She was amazing once again in the hurdles. She's just one of the athletes that comes along once in a very long time. I definitely enjoy having her around," Eagles' assistant coach Jim Helsley said.
Egold won the 3,200 after running in second most the event. She passed Monrovia's Hanna Spear going into the last turn to pick up the win.
"Shannon Egold had an amazing run in the 3,200 meter tonight. A come from behind win. She had me holding on for a little bit," Helsley said.
South Putnam also got a first place finished from Britney Cox, who won the discus with a distance of 97-feet and a half-inch. Helsley hopes the team can build on its efforts and go strong into the sectional.
"Brittney Cox won the discus again which is outstanding," he said. "She's won county two years in a row and won conference this year.
"Their really geared up for Tuesday and sectional. I'm excited for it and I know they are. It's going to be a good time for us," he concluded.
A bright spot for the Cloverdale Clovers came in their 1,600-meter relay event. They had to insert an alternate at the last moment and still walked away with a third place finish in the event.
"In the girls relay, we had to put in an alternate tonight that who's not ever ran the 1,600 for us and our girls finished third," CHS head coach Kristen Crabtree said. "We've not even done it in practice, so that was pretty exciting. Holly McCammon really stepped up for us."
Cloverdale also received solid performances from Ashley Koosman, Brynlea Mattocks and Elizabeth Cheatham.
Koosman finished second in the 100 hurdles in a time of 17.54 and Mattocks was second in the high jump with a height of 5-feet-1-inch. Cheatham came in second in the discus after a toss of 92-feet three inches.
"We know some things we need to work on, some fine tuning things that we need to do before tournament time. We're ready to get things going next week," Crabtree said.
North Putnam has struggled to find its way throughout the season, but head coach Kevin Lutes is impressed with the heart of his team. Meet in and meet out, they pour themselves into the races and Lutes can ask for nothing more.
"They just showed a lot of heart. You can't coach that, you just hope to build on it," Lutes said. "I think for the conditions, they did a great job. Hopefully we can carry our momentum and go into sectional."
North's Paxton Stephenson finished in fourth place in the 1,600 with a time of 6:06.25 and Laura McGaughey was fifth in the 400 with the time of 1:08.89.
In the boys' meet, the night belonged to Greencastle distance runner Ben Wilson. Wilson captured three events on the night and in two of those executed almost perfect technique. In the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs, Wilson hung tight to opponents from Cascade and then kicked past them in the final 200 meters to capture his wins.
The night was anything but typical for the Tiger Cubs. Two disqualifications and imperfect conditions led to an up and down night for GHS.
"Tonight was a roller coaster ride," Schimpf commented. "It was like a big hill and we just kept climbing and climbing and finally you got to the top. It was tough tonight -- the competition was great. We had some things happen that we weren't prepared for, in the shape of disqualifications. Those things happen but you don't really want those things to happen especially at this point when you get in the conference meet."
In addition to Wilson's three wins, Greencastle won the 400 relay and the 1,600 relay.
Schimpf acknowledged the efforts of Ashton Marshall, Steven Miller and Greg Lilly. Of Marshall and Miller, he pointed out that including their heat races; they ran the equivalent of six events on the evening.
Greencastle won just five events on the night and Schimpf expressed the importance of getting points. He said the sixth place points are just as important as getting the wins.
"We were just fortunate to get enough points. We didn't necessarily win as many as would have like to have won, but we were still able to score points in events and that was huge," he said.
North Putnam used steady running and a first place leap to grab fifth place in the event.
Cougar long jumper Jerrett Ban won the event with a leap of 20-feet-10-inches, soaring past Cloverdale's Raine Young. Putnam County had a strong showing in the event as the top three finishes were from the county.
"Jarret Ban pulled out the long jump tonight, which is outstanding," Lutes said. "He's gained a lot of confidence this year jumping and running the 100-meter. He's just doing a great job."
The Clovers settled for second place in three events on the evening and Crabtree was excited about her team's performance.
Nick Keefer was second in the 300 hurdles, Young was second in the long jump and Jeff Couse was second in the 400 meter.
"I think we looked pretty good," Crabtree said. "We had again some personal bests. We had some second place finishes, we were so close on a few things, so I think the kids are pumped up a ready for sectionals. They're ready to see what they can do there," Crabtree expressed.
South Putnam had one first place winner on the night and that was Adam Masters in the discus. Masters powered out a distance of 130-feet-9.5-inches.
The Eagles got a second place finish from Dayne Nelson in the pole vault and a third place finish from the team of Jon Weaver, Tim Toland, Tyler Heavin and Dylan Hayes in the 3,200 relay.
"We just didn't have enough," Eagles head coach Carl Coons said. "They gave it their best. We had some good performances, so I'm not disappointed. We just have to get ready for sectional and show up. That's all we can do.
"That's the thing about track, by golly, you just line it up and go. Wherever you finish is where you're at. I was pleased with what the kids did and they had great effort, so I can't challenge anyone's effort and I appreciate that," he added.
With sectional fast approaching, Coons was proud of his teams effort and thinks that Friday's meet could be used as a building block.
"My kids ran well. I'm proud of them and we had some good performances," Coons commented. "It was a very good meet, very competitive and we did what we could. It was a good meet for us."
The girls' teams from Greencastle, North Putnam and South Putnam will compete in sectional action at South Putnam Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., while Cloverdale will travel to the Bloomington North sectional on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Competing at the Plainfield boys' sectional on Thursday at 5 p.m. will be Greencastle, South Putnam and North Putnam. Cloverdale will travel to the Bloomington North sectional at 5 p.m. Thursday.