Local athletes highlight boys track state finals

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

Eleven local boys track and field athletes will travel to Bloomington today to compete in the 2019 IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals.

The meet will take place at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex at Indiana University and will begin at 3 p.m. with the final event taking place at approximately at 8:30 p.m.

Jasper leads the pack with eight runners while Southridge will send two athletes in two different field events and Heritage Hills will have one runner at the state meet. Here’s some information about all 11 state qualifiers as well as their thoughts about Saturday’s meet and their respective seasons and careers.

  • Bair
    Easton Bair, Jasper, sophomore

Event: 200m dash

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 22.90

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to trying not to get last — in the performance list I’m second to last so hopefully I can get up there further around the 20’s and beat my personal best.”

How he’s improved in his first two seasons: “I’ve definitely gotten better form as a runner. If you compared a video of me running last year, it looked like I was trying to swim in the wind. This year, I have a lot better form compared to last year.”

The biggest thing he’s learned from high school track: “Obey the coaches, that’s a good one. Always try your hardest and never give up.”

  • Kaiser
    Mitch Kaiser, Jasper, junior

Event: 4x400m relay

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 3 minutes, 25 seconds

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “Being in front of all the people and competing against a lot of good teams.”

On his improvement over his first three seasons: “Our work ethic here has gotten a lot better through the years and people are always pushing each other.”

On what he likes the most about the Jasper track program: “My teammates — they’re all great people, I love just hanging out with them and being with them.”

  • Leonard
    Sam Leonard, Jasper, freshman

Event: 4x800m relay

State appearances: one

Personal best time: 8 minutes, 7 seconds

What he’s expecting for his first state appearance: “Just to get the full experience and enjoy it.”

On his improvement throughout his freshman year: “In middle school I wasn’t that good of a runner but I started training more once I got to high school.”

What he’s learned the most at the high school level: “How to be competitive with all of your events.”

  • Miller
    Jackson Miller, Jasper, junior

Event: 4x800m relay

State appearances: Two

Personal best time: 8 minutes, 7 seconds

What he’s looking forward to the most about the meet: “I’m looking forward to being able to race at state again because it’s just really fun, there’s always high adrenaline and there’s a lot of good competition.”

On his improvement as a runner through three seasons: “I feel like our training has gotten better, the intensity and mileage has gone up each year.”

On sending the seniors out on a high note: “We’ve just got to do the best that we can, we helped get them to state but they did their thing too. From there, we just want to go in and do our best.”

  • Ra. Milligan
    Raife Milligan, Jasper, senior

Event: 4x400m relay

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 3 minutes, 25 seconds

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “I just want to finish the season on a good note, I know we’re going to go for the school record in our event. It’ll also be a little emotional since it’s my last meet and my last race with my brother, I start off the race and he finishes it which is pretty cool.”

How he feels he’s grown as an athlete as a whole: “So much — track has really taught me to put your head down and get through the work and you’ll see the results.”

How being a member of the Jasper track program helped better him as a person: “It’s taught me hard work and this year I kind of took over as a hurdle leader, so I had a leadership spot where I had to teach people. I think they ended up kind of looking up to me which was pretty cool.”

  • Re. Milligan
    Reece Milligan, Jasper, senior

Events: 4x400m relay, 4x800m relay

State appearances: Four

Personal best time: 3 minutes, 25 seconds (4x400), 8 minutes, 7 seconds (4x800)

What he’s looking forward to in his final state trip: “I’m hoping to go out on a high note, I think the 4x400 team wants to break the school record but overall we just want to do the best we can.”

On his growth throughout his four years with the program: “I feel like I’ve grown a lot. Freshman year I wasn’t really the biggest or fastest, so to be here in my senior year making a big impact for this team feels pretty good.”

How the track program helped him overall: “It’s helped make me a better leader, coach (Kevin) Schipp trusted me to be a leader so it’s helped in that aspect.”

  • O'Neil
    Drew O’Neil, Jasper, junior

Events: 4x800m relay, 3200m run

State appearances: First

Personal best time: 9 minutes, 58 seconds (3200m run), 8 minutes, 7 seconds (4x800m relay)

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “I’m looking to do my best and try to just move up some spots and PR again.”

On how the cross country and track programs help complement each other: “It’s all like one big thing when it comes to running, track helps better you for cross country and cross country helps better you for track.”

How he’s improved year-by-year: “I feel like I’ve improved at a constant rate — I’ve continued to get more experience as I go along.”

  • Smith
    Will Smith, Jasper, senior

Events: 800m run, 4x400m relay

State appearances: Four

Personal best time: 1 minute, 57 seconds (800m run), 3 minutes, 25 seconds (4x400m relay)

What he’s looking forward to in his final state trip: “I just want to end on a good note, compete and hopefully get a top-nine medal position. If I can get around fifth or sixth, that would be pretty good.”

On his improvement over his high school career: “I’ve definitely gotten leaner, shed a few pounds. I feel more confident as a senior running my races, I’m not as timid as I used to be.”

What the Jasper track program has helped him with the most: “It’s made me confident as a person and just owning what you do, it’s helped me be more of an individual.”

  • Hayes
    Jaden Hayes, Southridge, senior

Event: Discus

State appearances: Two

Personal best distance: 174’11’’

What he’s looking forward to about the meet and goals he has for himself: “The experience going up there is always cool, especially when I have Garrett (Voegerl) coming up with me. I just want to go out there and finish doing my absolute best while enjoying the ride.”

How he’s improved since entering the program three years ago: “A lot — I remember when I first started I was just trying to power throw and only throwing ducks through the air about 90 feet. I’ve gotten more consistent with my throws since then and I have to thank my coaches for that.”

On how the Southridge track program has improved him as a person: “It’s just helped me build my leadership skills and teammate skills, it’s just a family around here.”

  • Voegerl
    Garrett Voegerl, Southridge, junior

Event: High jump

State appearances: One

Personal best height: 6’7’’

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “I’m just excited to be able to compete with the best competition and see where I can place among everyone in the state.”

On his improvement over time in the high jump event: “I can remember starting in sixth grade and I wasn’t very good, I wasn’t sure if it was for me. But as I kept working at it, I thought ‘Maybe this can be for me.’ I worked at it and my great coach, Cody Thompson, has helped me out a lot.”

How competing in track and field has helped him in football and basketball: “It helps my agility and it’s helped me dunk in basketball. But it just keeps me working and always keeps me busy with competing.”

  • Lashley
    Grant Lashley, Heritage Hills, senior

Event: 800m run

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 2 minutes

What he’s looking forward to in his first state appearance: “All the energy — I went up there with Noah Hufnagel last year and I got to see what it’s like. I think being out there and finishing this race and seeing my dad after one last race is the best thing I could ask for.”

How he’s grown as an athlete over time: “When I started as a freshman, I kind of ran the two mile a lot so to come down and be our best 800 runner has been a joy for all four years.”

How the Patriot track program has helped make him a better person: “It’s a part of who I am, it’s where I grew up so to be able to compete here it’s almost like a full complete circle. My dad (coach Pete Lashley) has always taught us ‘Mind, body and soul’ and it’s a lifetime teaching experience.”




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