Daily World names top athletes in track and field
The 2017 track season just concluded with county kids setting passels of personal bests, one team winning the conference for the first time in 20 years, and four athletes making it to the state finals.
The Daily World recognizes these four superlative athletes who excelled in track and field. They are:
Abby Denham, Girls’ Track
The White River Valley senior excelled in four events this year, the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, the discus, and the 4X400 meter relay. She capped her career by reaching the state finals in the 300 hurdles, marking her second trip to the state finals. She came in 21st, posting a time of 47.20 seconds, .03 seconds better than her time in the Bloomington North regional.
At the Bloomington North Sectional, Denham placed second in three events. She threw 111 feet even in the discus and recorded times of 16.58 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 47.58 in the 300 hurdles. Denham ran a leg for WRV’s 4X400 team that placed fifth with a time of four minutes, 30.07 seconds.
One week later, she placed third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.23, good enough to reach the state meet. WRV coach Mike Karr said Denham leaned forward at the end to beat Jordan Monson of Bloomington South by .01 seconds. She placed fifth in the 100 hurdles, 16.5, and fourth in the discus, 113-1.
Making the regional wasn’t an unusual feat for Denham. She has made the regional 14 times in various events, reaching it all four years of her high school career.
A member of WRV’s 200 point club the past two years, Denham scored 32.5 points in both the SWIAC and Greene County invitationals, helping WRV win the SWIAC for the first time in 20 years, 25 points in the sectional, and 15 points in the regional. She has won SWIAC all four years in both hurdle events, and she and classmate Rylee Ellett have won the 4X400 relay all four years; in fact, they’ve won the event since seventh grade.
Denham scored 32.5 points in the SWIAC and county invitational meets by winning both hurdle events and the discus and running a leg for WRV’s victorious 4X400 team.
Her track career didn’t end this spring. She earned an academic/athletic scholarship to Ball State where she will throw javelin, an event she has competed in during Summer Olympics meets. She may also throw the discus and compete in the heptathlon. That is an event, conducted over two days in the Olympics, that entails competing in the 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin, and 800.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Abby,” said Karr. “She has conducted herself with character and been an excellent peer role model in the classroom and on the track. The conference is losing one of their great competitors. I wish her the best at Ball State, I know she will do well.”
Brennan Hughes, Boys’ Field
The Bloomfield senior also reached the state championship. He placed 21st in the discus with a throw of 147 feet, seven inches.
Bloomfield coach Caleb Dunkerly said Hughes had a slight case of nerves, but still threw well.
“Brennan was excited to make the state meet,” Dunkerly said. “He got a good throw of 147-7 on his second throw and he was happy with that.
Hughes threw the shot put 51-7 in the Bloomington North Sectional to finish third and qualify for the regional. He threw the discus 139-6 to finish fourth and make the regional in that event.
The regional saw Hughes set a personal record and a new school record with a throw of 160-2 in the discus. He threw the shot put 51-9.75 to place fifth.
Hughes logged an impressive performance at the annual SWIAC meet. He won the shot put with a throw of 43-7.50 and placed second in the discus with a throw of 131-1
The county invitational saw him win the shot put and discus with throws of 48-10.50 and 134-4, respectively. He also proved he could run at that meet. He placed sixth in the 200 with 26.52.
“Setting the school record, winning the shot in conference, and making the state meet were three goals he had in mind at the beginning of the season and he accomplished all three,” said Dunkerly.
Tyler Meurer, Boys’ Track
Meurer excelled at three events this season, making the regional field in all of them.
The Linton senior won the 100 at the sectional with a time of 11.45 seconds, beating Isaiah Knight of Bloomington North by .08 seconds. He placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 19-9.5.
He sprinted a leg for Linton’s 4X100 meter relay team which finished third with a time of 44.32. Meurer’s teammates were Bill Smith, Lance Dyer, and Keaton Cox.
At the regional one week later, he placed seventh in the 100 with a time of 11.27. He finished ninth in the long jump with a leap of 20-0. He and his teammates on the 4X100 team finished seventh with 44.788, trailing No. 6 Bloomington South by .006 seconds.
Meurer excelled in the SWIAC meet. He won the 100 in 11.23 and ran a leg for Linton’s first-place 4X100 team. He and his teammates logged a time of 45.53. He triumphed in the long jump with a leap of 19-3.75.
He won three events in the May 12 Greene County Invitational. He placed first in the 100, 11.73, and the long jump, 19-4.25. He and his usual teammates won the 4X100 relay with a time of 45.55.
Caroline Wilson, Girls’ Field
The Linton junior capped this season by going to the state finals in the high jump. She placed 19th with a leap of 5-2. Her leap tied Lana Pham of Kokomo, but Pham was awarded 18th place.
Wilson placed third in the high jump at the sectional with a jump of 5-0. She placed fifth in the long jump by leaping 15-10.5 and sixth in the 300 hurdles by running 51.94.
Linton coach Aaron Lynn said Wilson faced a stronger regional field this year than she did last year, so she had to turn in her best effort to make the state again, “and she did it.” She placed sixth in the high jump at the regional with a leap of 5-3, a new personal record for her. She also placed eighth in the long jump with 16-0.
Lynn said he was delighted by Wilson’s efforts, noting that many athletes do not make it out of the sectional, much less reach the state tournament. “Not a lot of kids make it to regionals,” he said.
Wilson scored 30 points in the May 8-9 SWIAC meet by placing second in the long jump, 14-11.75, high jump, 4-10, and 300 hurdles, 53.04, and third in the 100 hurdles, 17.32. Her performance proved good enough to earn honorable mention on the All-SWIAC team.
She also fared well in the county meet. Wilson finished first in the high jump, 5-0, and second in the 100 hurdles, 18.00, the 300 hurdles, 53.43, and the long jump, 15-3.50.