UNION CITY, Ind.
Cody Seals won the long jump. Mitch Snyder won the 300 hurdles.
That was it for individual event winners.
But when the dust settled and Union County celebrated its first Tri-Eastern Conference boys track and field championship, co-head coaches Rich Padgett and Joe Davidson had praise for the entire team.
“We didn’t get real hung up on a lot of personal goals or long-range goals. We just wanted to be better every day,” Padgett said. “Practices have been very competitive. … You get to the conference tournament and you can only enter two per event, you have a lot of kids that have competed in practices that push those other guys to get better.”
And 45 seconds might have made the whole difference.
After freshman Isaac Bentley finished first in the 100-meter dash preliminaries, he suffered an injury during the 200 prelims.
All he had to do was finish the 100 finals. His eighth-place, 45-second walk was more than four times that of his 11.46 seconds in the prelims.
But it gave the Patriots the point.
And just barely enough against Hagerstown, with just one point separating the Patriots from second-place Hagerstown 119-118.
“For these kids to come out and it being cold and not a lot of things go our way at first and then they kept fighting, kept fighting. It came down to the last race, which was exciting for them, and I’m glad we pulled it off,” Davidson said.
As Centerville’s boys stretched their TEC title streak to 13, the closest Union County came was fourth.
During the Bulldogs’ reign, Union County had four last-place finishes.
The Patriots were hungry.
Senior-laden Hagerstown’s girls pulled off a fourth straight title and a fifth in six years, behind four blue ribbon placings by seniors Lindy Smith and Hayley Rogers.
“It’s really amazing,” said Smith said, who won both hurdle races and helped the 400 and 1,600 relay teams finish first. “I think sometimes our team may take it for granted sometimes, but definitely, as a senior, in retrospect, it’s definitely a really big deal.”
The biggest deal of the night was when Union County’s Matt Snyder, Seals, Jacob Nixon and Mitch Snyder had rounded the track for the last time, 7.17 seconds ahead of Hagerstown’s quartet in the 1,600 relay to end the night.
Seals also finished second in the 200; Mitch Snyder was third in the 100 hurdles, Matt Snyder in the 300 hurdles and Evan Felton also in the 800; Nixon was fourth in the 400 along with Felton in the 3,200, Kyle Hartman in the high jump and Jake Harvey in the discus.
“That was special, and we told the kids, when you’re first in something, nobody can ever take that from you,” Padgett said. “Centerville’s streak is monumental, but when you’re the first in your school to do something, that’s something people will remember. Hopefully we have a group of underclassmen that can look at that, and we’d like to make that streak more than one.”
Rogers won the 1,600 and the 800 for the Tigers, while helping the 3,200 and 1,600 relays win. Amelia Dick won the 3,200 and helped the 3,200 relay to victory, while senior Sydney Denhart (400) and freshman Aimee Hoodlebrink (long jump) won individual events as the Tigers racked up 168 points.
The second-place team, Centerville, finished with 107 points.
Northeastern finished third in the boys’ team standings with 106 points, and the Knights won more events than any other team.
The final boys standings were Union County (119), Hagerstown (118), Northeastern (106), Centerville (75), Lincoln (52), Winchester (43), Tri High (39) and Union City (31).
Union City’s girls scored 78 points to finish third, Union County (65) was fourth, Winchester (55) fifth, Lincoln (52) sixth, Northeastern (28) seventh and Tri High (16) eighth.
Northeastern’s Quest Schwab won the boys 100, the 200 and helped the 400 and 1,600 relay teams to victory.
Brennen Parker (shot put), Alec Sheets (high jump) and Jake Austerman (400) also won individual events, with Shane Stiner, Austerman and Tyler Sandlin helping the 400 relay to victory.
“We performed great tonight,” Northeastern coach Mark Kerkhoff said. “I think we, with that 4-by-4 victory, that was our seventh conference champion of the night, so our kids really performed well. We had a lot of great times tonight, our throwers scored huge points on the boys side, so it was an awesome effort.”
Hagerstown’s boys had a strong performance with Mason Bledsoe (1,600 and 3,200), Dakota Roach (discus) and Matthias Ritter (800) winning individual events. Lincoln’s Evan Underwood won the boys’ 110 hurdles.
” … I can’t complain about what our guys did tonight,” Hagerstown boys coach Kent Gray said. “They were very competitive, I think we ended up winning five events, maybe, or something like that. You win a third of the events, you’ve had a pretty darn good meet.”
Union City’s girls had winners in Baylee Hartman (high jump) and Kristen King (shot put), while Lincoln’s Kassidy West won both the 100 and the 200 and Union County’s Sammie Elleman won discus.