BENNETT'S MINUTES: ‘PS We Love You’ online fundraiser set for today

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Greg Barrett

Today is not only St. Patrick’s Day, but would have been the 21st birthday for Patrick Stephen Barrett, the son of Greg and Molly Barrett, who passed away March 10, 2016, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

In honor of Patrick, the “PS We Love You” fund at Riley Children’s hospital will host its inaugural online fundraiser today. The goal is to raise $21,000 in one day to help fund precision genomics testing for individual children fighting the battle of their lifetime against cancer.

Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health was the first to develop an innovative pediatric service line to guide treatment options where there are no further therapeutic options. The Pediatric Precision Genomics Program proposes to use changes in tumor genetics or gene expression in combination with germ line genetics to provide individualized treatment recommendations for children with aggressive cancers.

This approach calls for choosing a treatment plan based on the patient’s underlying mutations, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of standard chemotherapy.

The cost of the testing is high, and insurance companies currently will not cover this cost. It is the fund’s desire that no child or family has to worry of the dollars associated with helping their child overcome this terrible disease.

“It is our desire, as would be Patrick’s, that every child has the opportunity to receive an individualized treatment plan to fight their individualized cancer,” said Greg Barrett, outgoing North Putnam football coach. “Thank you for your help to help us reach the goal.”

For more information, please visit the “PS We Love You” Facebook page or go to

In other news:

• North Putnam has changed its season-opening football opponent from Cascade to Indian Creek, the 2016 Western Indiana Conference runners-up. In that game, both teams will take the field under new head coaches.

The Cougars had 18 applicants for Barrett’s job after his departure to South Vermillion, but are not moving on that hiring yet until the school has a new athletic director in place.

Former Indian Creek coach Mike Gillin, the third-leading active coach in career victories with 305 in 39 years, has taken over at Mooresville. Gillin’s replacement at Indian Creek is Brett Cooper, who previously coached at nearby Greenwood and has been an assistant coach in Ohio for the past two seasons.

Another nearby coaching hiring took place at Tri-West, where assistant Tyler Bruce was promoted to replace Chris Coll – who left to take over at Franklin Community High School. Bruce is a 2007 Tri-West graduate who played for the school’s 2003 state championship team.

Bruce will have a lot of holes to fill from last year’s 9-2 team after losing several key seniors to graduation who have signed to play collegiately.

Highlighting that group is tight end Peyton Hendershot, who originally committed to Ball State, then re-opened his recruiting and then committed to Indiana. The week before signing day in February, Hendershot took a visit to Penn State but eventually signed with the Hoosiers and new head coach Tom Allen.

Three other Bruins have signed to play for the University of St. Francis, which lost to Marian in the regular season and finished second to the Knights in the Mid-States Football Association – but went on to win the NAIA national championship.

Quarterback Jake Hill, receiver Casey Coll and receiver/running back Derek Lucas will all continue to be teammates at the Fort Wayne school.

The coach Barrett will be succeeding at South Vermillion next year, Will Porter, has been hired at South Bend Clay after going 9-22 with the Wildcats over the past three seasons.

Area high school football jobs which are still vacant include Riverton Parke and Turkey Run.

• Several area athletes have recently made college commitments.

Among those are:

Northview – Matt Clawson (baseball at Marian), Dylan Hyatt (football at DePauw), Mason Moon (football at Indiana State) and Linzy Lunsford (volleyball at Lincoln Trail College;

Sullivan – Sam Steimel (baseball at Evansville) and Lexi Neatherlain (volleyball at Missouri S&T);

West Vigo – Austin Sappingfield (basketball at Indiana-Kokomo) and Kayla Ennis (basketball and soccer at MacMurray);

Edgewood – Cooper Bybee (basketball at Olney Central).

Terre Haute North – Ally Low (volleyball at DePauw)

Terre Haute South – Will Hayes (baseball at Missouri S&T) and Ethan Hunter (baseball at Southern Indiana)

Other basketball players who Putnam County teams have played against this year and their college choices are Josiah Wallace of Marshall, Ill. (Olney Central), Emiley Carlton of Eastern Hancock (Millikin) and Nate Reynolds of Northeastern (Anderson).

The “College Report” will really make a comeback in the near future, with full recaps of the fall and winter sports seasons and comprehensive lists of all commitments and signings. It’s been a hectic fall and winter, but after a few days off this week there will be plenty of time to tackle that feature next week -- and also the John Harrell story from an interview conducted in December.

• Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle, coached by former Greencastle and Depauw standout Brett “Moose” Hecko, finished runnerup in the Washington Class 3A girls’ basketball state tournament.

Bishop Blanchet lost 52-47 to Mercer Island in the title game.

Hecko, formerly a boys’ head coach and girls’ assistant coach at the school, is in his first year as girls’ head coach and is the program’s third different leader in the past four years.

He inherited a young and inexperienced team, and told the Seattle Times he was pleased with his team’s season.

“If you had told me we’d be 25-2 with four new starting players, and have a chance to win a state title, not only make to Tacoma, but to come down here and play for a title, I think many of us would’ve taken that,” Hecko said.

• In an unfortunate turn of events, the junior varsity Putnam County tournaments for both baseball and softball have been canceled for this year. County athletic policy is that a minimum of three teams must be participating for a county tournament to be held, and two schools in each sport do not have enough players for junior varsity teams – North Putnam in both sports, South Putnam in softball and Cloverdale in baseball.

As a longtime high school official in both sports, sometimes those JV games (or even the four-inning “mini-games” in softball) can be long and difficult to endure. They are necessary, though, for young players to gain experience as they seek to become varsity players.

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