Jasper holds tight, wins sectional

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper senior Carson Chanley (center) smiles after Jasper won the boys track sectional Thursday at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium. Holding the sectional hardware are seniors Tyler Kelly (left) and Isaac Heim (right).


JASPER - Jasper found a way to pull through and win its fifth straight boys track sectional championship on Thursday at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium.

As the night wore on, a five-peat became anything but a guarantee, as Heritage Hills was pushing to dethrone Jasper, and so was Tell City. The Marksmen had won the 1600m relay, allowing them to breathe down the Wildcats' necks. Jasper held to a 111-108 lead with the discus and pole vault events still going on. That's when Tyler Kelly came through in the clutch for the Wildcats. The senior won the discus throw with a distance of 130-06 that firmly put Jasper in the driver's seat.

"He's been very consistent all year," Jasper coach Kevin Schipp said of Kelly. "He didn't have his best throw tonight, but he was good enough to win. Then, (sophomore) Josue Miranda in the discus, too, was fourth (at 126-10). (He) really stepped up - throwing his best by four-five feet. So, that's huge."

Heritage Hills senior Grant Gogel won the pole vault at 14-00.00, and thus, Jasper finished first with 126 team points, Heritage Hills second at 122 team points and Tell City third with 113.5 points.

This gave the Wildcats their fifth consecutive sectional, as this team kept the line moving from 2016-2019 and another one this year. They didn't have a lot of experience coming back from two years ago, but they found a way.

"We didn't have near the depth in this team that we had in a lot of others, but all the guys just continued to work hard all season and get better," Schipp said. "And we showed improvement even through this week in a lot of things, and that's the main thing.

"We always talk about battling and just doing your best," he continued. "Yesterday, we talked about how close the girls sectional was on Tuesday and how it takes everybody, and I told them it would it tonight - it's going to be that close of a team race, and that's important. It's about team, and the guys just really stepped up and did that."

All five local schools of Jasper, Southridge, Forest Park, Northeast Dubois and Heritage Hills had their triumphs on Thursday. Just like the girls sectional on Tuesday at Perry Central, all five teams produced a sectional champion somewhere on Thursday.

Forest Park junior Forest Park broke the 3200m run sectional record Thursday night. Wolf ran a time of 9:25.21 to surpass the previous record of 9:37.32 set by Perry Central’s Marcus Graham in 2017.

Forest Park junior Spenser Wolf broke the sectional record in the 3200m run by 12 seconds on Thursday. Wolf led, but couldn't hang on in the 1600m run, but then caught up and did the surpassing in the two-mile. Wolf turned in a time of 9:25.21 in the 3200m run to surpass the old feat set by Marcus Graham of Perry Central in 2017. Graham ran a time of 9:37.32, and Jasper junior Abe Eckman, who came in second in the 3200m run, also surpassed this previous record with a time of 9:31.50.

Heritage Hills senior Elliott Buechlein enjoyed a banner night by collecting multiple first place finishes. Buechlein combined to win the 3200m relay with fellow senior Wyatt Koenig and sophomores Charlie Brentlinger and Pierce Lashley with a time of 8:33.83. He also won the 1600m run with a time of 4:26.00 and also the 800m run by clocking in at 1:57.06.

Southridge and Northeast Dubois also boasted some winners. Junior Alessandro De Rosa of the Raiders won the high jump with a distance of 6-02.00, and senior Dante Miller of the Jeeps claimed first place in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.18.

All five schools will send their winners and at least their top three finishers to the May 27 regional at Evansville Central, as they'll hope to be represented at state June 5 in Bloomington.

"It can come from anywhere," Schipp said. "You just have to be ready to do your best, not too much pressure on yourself, but just be ready to go."

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