Depth, star power key county track victories

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Greencastle's girls won the Putnam County track and field title on Tuesday.
Contributed photo

Many of the favorites won as expected on Tuesday evening in the Putnam County track and field meet.

Greencastle’s Emma Wilson went to the state meet in the 1,600 and 3,200 last spring, Tiger Cub standout J.T. Matthews went in the high jump, Cloverdale’s Tyler Kaeff went in both hurdles events and Greencastle also advanced its 4x400 relay team and all of those athletes predictably came out on top against their county opponents in preparation for next week’s Western Indiana Conference meets.

Three young Tiger Cubs had perfect nights, with Wilson also winning the 800 and running on the winning 4x400 relay team, fellow sophomore Seelye Stoffregen capturing both hurdles events and running on the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams and freshman Keridan Hollis winning the 100, 200 and teaming with Stoffregen on both relay teams.

Greencastle easily won the girls’ competition by taking first in 12 of the 16 events, while South Putnam clawed out a title in the boys’ competition that saw the other schools within one point of each other for second through fourth place.

Greencastle coach Craig Jordan thought both of his teams did a good job of competing on Tuesday.

“On the guys’ side I was most impressed with Elijah Williams and Carlie Capps who are two of our senior leaders on the team,” he said. “They knew how things looked on paper and they came out with the right attitude and executed accordingly. Elijah set a goal for himself at the beginning of the year to throw 50 feet, and he came out and got a PR every attempt except for his fourth — with the final result being 3.5 inches shy of 50.”

Jordan was pleased with victories by Spencer Rhine in the discus, Matthews with his third straight high jump title and Seth Nichols with a win in the 100.

“We remained consistent in the pole vault which helped a lot in our team standing,” Jordan noted. “On the distance side we were hurting a bit due to illness, but Clayton Wilson and Ben Gellman stuck it out to contribute 11 points to our team total of 55 which I was very happy with.

“Finishing fourth was not ideal for our guys team but I’m optimistic that will serve as good motivation going forward.”

Based upon seeded times and distances, Jordan had estimated his girls would score 106 points — but they ended up with 120.

“I’m not a math teacher, but that was a pleasant surprise,” he said “I spent the first portion of the meet with our throwers, and I have to say that they are an exciting bunch to be around. Those girls are extremely competitive and I love the response I get when I ask who is going to do this or that as it’s always a bunch of people saying ‘me’.”

Jordan notes great depth in the shot put, with two athletes (Jada Amis last year and Mia Stevens in 2015) who have previously won sectional titles.

“That makes for an awesome partnership at practice, as they are always bringing out the best in one another,” he said. “I asked who was going to get the party started in the shot put and Jada threw 37 feet, 2 inches (personal record), followed by Mia with 34 feet, 8 inches (season best).”

Jordan was also pleased with Nailah Ray’s discus title, with a four-foot personal best.

“This was a great start to championship season for us and we are all looking forward to competing at conference next week,” he said.

South Putnam won the Putnam County track and field meet title on Tuesday.
Contributed photo

South Putnam coach Nathan Aker feels that doing well in the relays is a big key to having success in big meets, and the Eagles were able to win two of the relay events on their way to a 13-point win.

“The kids have been excited to for this moment for a long time,” he said. “Our seniors won the county back when they were freshmen with coach Carl Coons, and they were ready to do whatever it took to make it happen again as seniors. They knew that each point and place would determine the outcome and we could not take anything for granted.”

Aker noted his seniors met with the underclassmen on Monday to discuss the expectation and what it would take to win the county.

“I am very proud of them for taking that upon themselves and leading our team to the win,” he said. “Everyone had a hand in making that happen and we could not have done it without their tremendous effort.”

With so many diverse kinds of events, high school track coaches have to rely heavily on their assistants and Aker credits both Heath Pruitt and Matt Thoennes for their work with the relay squads.

“Coach Pruitt has done an outstanding job with our 4x800 and 4x400 teams this year,” he said. “Our 4x400 lost to North Putnam earlier this year, to come back and win in the fashion they did was the icing on the cake.

“Coach Thoennes and his 4x100 relay team came in second while running a personal best time for the year,” Aker added. “Those were tough conditions to PR, we are very proud of that effort.”

Aker considers his team’s depth as one of the keys to its success.

“In addition to Kieffer Vittetow’s two county championships, Logan Vandermark has also had an excellent senior season,” he said. “Going first and second in the mile and first and third in the 3,200 was huge for us.

“Our middle distance guys have done an outstanding job as well,” Aker noted. “Blake Clearwaters and Michael Crossman went second and third in the 400. Austin Rumley put on a show in the 800 and was very impressive in his win.”

Other notable performances, Aker said, were Kain Gregory with second-place finishes in the 200, high jump and long jump, junior Christian Zeffel with a fifth-place finish in the long jump, Connor Cain with fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 and David Johnson with a PR “for a big point” in the pole vault.

Aker noted his throwers struggled in the discus, but both Colin Adams and Kole Bemish bounced back to PR in the shot put.

“Jonah Sanders has had a great season thus far in the low hurdles,” he said. “[Girls’ head coach] Brandon Welti, as well as his assistant Mara Vittetow, have had done a great job working with Jonah to help get him to this point.

“Jonah had a big second-place finish for us and was a key part of the positive senior leadership we have had out of this group.”

Aker credits seniors Vittetow, Sanders, Vandermark, Johnathan Thibodeau and Jacob Maynard with helping to lead the Eagles this year.

“They’ve laid a foundation for these young guys to build on, with a few big weeks still remaining,” he said.

The WIC girls’ meet is Tuesday at Edgewood, while the boys’ conference meet is Thursday at Northview.

2017 Putnam County track and field champions


Team scores — Greencastle 120, South Putnam 55, North Putnam 45, Cloverdale 20

4x800 relay — South Putnam (Chelsie Edwards, Alex Fanning, Ally Nichols, Lexi Vanihel) 10:58.21

100 hurdles — Seelye Stoffregen (G) 17.59

100 — Keridan Hollis (G) 13.34

1,600 — Emma Wilson (G) 5:53.06

4x100 relay — Greencastle (Keridan Hollis, Bailey Shuee, Erin Thomas, Seelye Stoffregen) 52.34

400 — Chelsie Edwards (SP) 1:04.08

300 hurdles — Seelye Stoffregen (G) 51.51

800 — Emma Wilson (G) 2:28.94

200 — Keridan Hollis (G) 28.34

SP — Jada Amis (G) 37-2

D — Nailah Ray (G) 96-2

LJ — Aubrey Barker (SP) 15-10.75

HJ — Aubrey Barker (SP) 5-0

PV — Sydney Lewis (G) 8-0

3,200 Emma Wilson (G) 12:18.70

4x400 relay — Greencastle (Keridan Hollis, Bailey Shuee, Allison Stevens, Seelye Stoffregen) 4:32.72


Team scores — South Putnam 70, Cloverdale 57, North Putnam 56, Greencastle 55

4x800 relay — South Putnam (Dru Bottorff, Andrew Carr, Michael Crossman, Karl Egold) 9:08.96

110 hurdles — Tyler Kaeff (C) 16.32

100 — Seth Nichols (G) 11.69

1,600 — Kieffer Vittetow (SP) 4:50.17

4x100 relay — North Putnam (Jordan Bean, Gage Bell, Ethan Christy, Chris Murray) 46.02

400 — Ryan Heavener (C) 54.02

300 hurdles — Tyler Kaeff (C) 43.20

800 — Austin Rumley (SP) 2:10.78

200 — Ethan Christy (NP) 24.19

SP — Elijah Williams (G) 49-8.5

D — Spencer Rhine (G) 122-0.5

LJ — Brandon Barker (NP) 18-9

HJ — J.T. Matthews (G) 6-0

PV — Blake Willis (C) 12-0

3,200 — Kieffer Vittetow (SP) 10:15.02

4x400 relay — South Putnam (Colin Adams, Blake Clearwaters, Michael Crossman, Austin Rumley) 3:37.42