Cats sweep Raiders on track

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper junior Andi VanMeter runs Monday in the girls 1600m run. VanMeter ran a time of 5:22.95, and Jasper's girls topped Southridge, 93-39. 


JASPER - Jasper and Southridge renewed the county rivalry once again on Monday - this time on the track of Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium, as Jasper notched the sweep of Southridge.

The girls emerged victorious against the Raiders, 93-39, while the boys reeled off a 98-34 win on their home turf over the Raider boys.

"It's a good night," Jasper boys coach Kevin Schipp said. "It's great weather, we're coming off a week last week where we didn't have any meets, and this week, on the boys team, we have the Princeton Invite, and then the home meet this Thursday against Castle."

Jasper girls coach Dean Jerger echoed the same sentiment on the weather for the meet, as they had not competed since the April 15 Dubois/Pike Invitational.

"The girls were ready to go and compete, and they did a good job tonight," Jerger said.

Jasper junior Andi VanMeter continued to reign supreme in the girls distance events. VanMeter's time of 5:22.95 was a win by nearly 30 seconds in the 1600m run. Her performance after she put her name in the school record book Friday in the Carmel Distance Showcase. She ran a time of 10:47.71 in the 3200m run that surpassed Lacey Oeding's previous time of 11:08 in 2007. VanMeter did not break her own record in the 3200m, but her time of 11:41.51 still took first place by more than a full minute.

"The competitor in her, yeah, she wanted even better times tonight, but that's just not realistic," Jerger said. "I tell the kids in here that everybody always wants to have a personal best every single night, every single meet, but it's just not reasonable - it's not practical to do that.

"So, when you have those personal bests, whether it's a school record or not a school record, you have to enjoy that," he continued. "You got to appreciate the time and effort that you put into getting those goals."

VanMeter's fellow junior, Abe Eckman, also set a new school record on Friday in the Carmel Distance Showcase with a time of 9:14.86, breaking the old Jasper feat of 9:17 set by Pat Cassidy in 1980. Eckman did not compete in the 1600m run on Monday, but did finish in first place in the 3200m run with a time of 11:04.65.

Though Southridge's boys lost, 98-34, to Jasper on Monday, senior Dylan Bland enjoyed a fine outing. He combined with fellow seniors Tanner Kane, Cameron Giles and Ricky Pflanz to win the 3200m relay with a time of 8:28.79 for a new Southridge record. 

Southridge has also been setting some new school records recently, including one on Monday in the 3200m relay. The senior quartet of Dylan Bland, Tanner Kane, Ricky Pflanz and Cameron Giles combined to run a time of 8:28.79, downing the previous record of 8:40.54.

"Our distance group has just been phenomenal," Raiders coach Ted O'Brien said. "They've trained very, very hard."

He lauded Kane for coming out to train and run this year after previously competing in the field events, and he's proud of Kane for stepping up. He noted that Bland and Pflanz both want to run at the next level, and it shows in how they work day-to-day.

O'Brien knew that Southridge wasn't going to beat Jasper, given the numbers and the talent the Wildcats have, but he saw the opportunity for his athletes to chase personal bests.

"We targeted a few events that we wanted to see some things in tonight," he said. "I was very pleased with that. We rested our boys a little bit because we've got a big invite tomorrow at Dubois. So, we wanted them to be fresh, but hats off to Jasper. They're just a very, very good track program, and very accomplished and do things the right way.

"But all in all, it was a great night," O'Brien continued. "They ran a nice meet, and we had some quality things going as well."

O'Brien is hoping to win the Northeast Dubois Invite, just like the boys did two years ago, while the girls are slated to be back in action on Thursday at home at the Southridge Girls Invitational.

Jasper's girls will have a couple of days to get ready before the home dual on Thursday against Southern Indiana Athletic Conference opponent Castle, and Jerger's aim is for consistency.

"I think this week in practice, we're just going to be preaching that we don't need to do long jump 20 times a day," he said. "We just need to focus on our drills, focus on the few jumps or throws or whatever that we're going to do, and work on consistency and work on confidence."

Jasper will have some crucial track meets ahead, with the boys SIAC track meet on May 6, and the girls on May 7. The Wildcat boys have two meets left before conference.

"Princeton has a good team, and we'll see many good athletes there," Schipp said of Wednesday. "And (it's) just a good opportunity when you're running a meet like that where you have trials and finals in the sprints, and it's good practice for when you get to the postseason."

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