Four-peat: Jasper boys cruise to sectional title

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Jasper's Reece Milligan celebrates with the sectional championship trophy after the Wildcats won Thursday's track and field sectional in Jasper with a total of 174 points for their fourth consecutive sectional title. Milligan advanced to the regional in four seperate events and placed first in three of them — 4x800m relay, 4x400m relay and the 400m dash. For more photos from the sectional, click here.


JASPER — Over the last few years, the Jasper boys track and field team has proved to be rather dominant.

The Wildcats once again showed their strengths at Thursday night’s IHSAA boys track and field sectional meet on their home track as they clinched their fourth consecutive sectional title with a final total of 174 points — over 80 points ahead of Southridge, who placed second with 93.5 points. Heritage Hills finished third with 92.5 points, Forest Park was seventh with 47.5 points and Northeast Dubois placed eighth with 32 points.

After the final results were officially announced, the Cats were quick to douse head coach Kevin Schipp with a Gatorade bucket full of ice cold water. While it may always bring a certain shock upon first impact, Schipp will always be on board with tradition as long as Jasper keeps producing the same results.

“These guys that are seniors came up big for us tonight — from Reece Milligan running in four events to Jadon Mehringer throwing 51’9’’ which was the best by over a foot, we had people doing amazing things all night,” said Schipp. “You find out who’s competitive when you get to a meet like this that really counts and you see who will steps up. It’s individual events but it’s a team sport and that’s what makes it special.”

Jasper had several individual sectional champions — Reece Milligan in the 400m dash (50.66), Will Smith in the 800m dash (1:57.83), Raife Milligan in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles (15.48 and 41.52, respectively), Jadon Mehringer (shot put, 51’9’’), the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:29.21 (Smith, Raife Milligan, Reece Milligan, Mitch Kaiser) and the 4x800m relay with a time of 8:17.70 (Smith, Reece Milligan, Drew O’Neil, Jackson Miller). Reece Milligan also advanced to the regional by placing third in the 200m dash.

“Oh it’s fantastic to come out here and run my best races — this is the last meet I’ll ever run at this track after doing it for four years,” said Raife Milligan. “It’s always kind of been like a second home and this is like the going away party.”

Smith, who has been dominant all year in the 800m run, added: “Just knowing that I can still run at this level, it means a lot. Now, I just want to sharpen my edge and hopefully I can cut down my time to 1:56.”

Easton Bair (second, 200m dash, third in long jump), Jackson Miller (third, 1600m run), Drew O’Neil (third, 3200m run), Ben Kizior (third, 110m hurdles), Mitch Kaiser (third, pole vault) and Sam Kluemper (second, discus) all also advanced to next week’s regional.

Southridge's Tyler Parks, left, competes in the 100-meter dash during Thursday's track and field sectional in Jasper. Jasper's Easton Bair and Heritage Hills' Kyndell Carter both advanced to the regional by placing second and third respectively in this event. For more photos from the sectional, click here.

The Southridge Raiders placed second overall with 93.5 points at Thursday night’s meet. Southridge had two individual sectional champions in Garrett Voegerl (high jump, 6’6’’) and Jaden Hayes (discus, 174’11’’). Hayes’ distance was a new meet record.

Raider head coach Ted O’Brien was impressed with his team’s performance last night.

“Our team was awesome tonight, I couldn’t be more proud of them,” O’Brien said. “We didn’t do as well as hoped at the conference meet last week and we just wanted them to be mentally ready to go. I’m just so proud of the guys for stepping up and going to another level.”

While Hayes was definitely excited to set the sectional meet record, he was more grateful to share the moment with his teammates surrounding him.

“Records are great but this (whole team) has been like a brotherhood, just like all of Southridge athletics,” said Hayes, who also advanced to the regional in shot put after placing third. “The records are cool but the overall experience is the best part about it.”

Brad Springer (third, 300m hurdles), Noah Goeppner (third, high jump) and the 4x800m relay team (Dylan Bland, Jaffet Cruz, Cameron Giles, Ricky Pflanz) also advanced to next week’s regional while Voegerl also qualified in the long jump. The 4x800m relay team set a new school record with a time of 8:40.07.

Heritage Hills placed third overall with 92.5 points. Mitchell Hopf (3200m run, 9:47.88) and Alex Hasty (pole vault, 13’6’’) were the Patriots’ two individual sectional champions.

However, the Patriots also advanced several other athletes to the regional — Kyndell Carter (third, 100m dash), Grant Lashley (second, 800m run), Elliott Buechlein (third, 800m run), 4x100m relay (Carter, Jacob Wetzel, Owen Schaad, Gavin Vaal), 4x400m relay (Lashley, Wetzel, Buechlein, Kaden Feldpausch) and the 4x800m relay (Buechlein, Feldpausch, Lashley, Hopf) all also advanced. Hopf also advanced in the 1600m run by placing second.

Northeast Dubois' Dante Miller, left, and Jasper's Raife Milligan lead while competing in the 110-meter hurtles during Thursday's track and field sectional in Jasper. Milligan and Miller both advanced to next Thursday's regional by placing first and second in the event, respectively. For more photos from the sectional, click here.

“We didn’t get to where I thought we could get to as far as a point total goes — I thought we could be second but we still qualified a lot,” Heritage Hills head coach Pete Lashley said.

Hopf, who advanced to regional in three separate events, wants to focus on some of the smaller things in order to have a successful regional next week.

“In the 4x8m relay, you just have to focus on the little things like handoffs to cut that extra time,” Hopf said. “Central Stadium is such a great environment and I know it’ll be loud and exciting — it’ll be fun.”

Forest Park placed 7th with 47.5 overall points. Spenser Wolf (3200m run, second) and Corbin Bell (shot put, second) were the Rangers two regional qualifiers after they both had solid performances at Thursday’s sectional meet.

Head coach Philip Wolf was very pleased with Forest Park’s performance as he knows his youthful team will only grow and grow in the future.

“A lot of these kids right now are freshmen that are scoring big points for our team,” Wolf said. “In a few years, we’re going to be a very solid team to mess with. But we’re going to go through the growing pains and we’ll get there again.”

Northeast Dubois finished eighth with 32 total points. The Jeeps, who also boasted a very young team, advanced one individual to next week’s regional.

Dante Miller will head to Evansville next Thursday as he placed second in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.78

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