State titles came in droves last year for northeast Indiana athletes and most of them are back for more in 2014.
Wayne’s Brionna Thomas and the Northrop team led the way for the area, but they are not alone. Thomas won two more state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes to increase her total to four, while the Bruins won their state-best 10th team championship.
Concordia’s Symone Black (300 hurdles), Carroll’s Sara McKeeman (pole vault) and Northrop’s Dejah Arnold (400) are also back to defend individual state titles in June. There is also Northrop’s 1,600 relay team that included Arnold, senior Victoria McCuiston and junior Amber McGee last year looking for another blue ribbon.
Here is a look at some of the names, teams and stories that will figure prominently in the area this season:
Brionna Thomas, Wayne: The senior has won the 100 and 200 dashes at the state meet the last two years.
Symone Black, Concordia: The senior was first in the 300 hurdles and third in the 100 hurdles at the state meet.
Sara McKeeman, Carroll: The senior was the state champion in the pole vault.
Dejah Arnold, Northrop: The North Carolina State-bound senior was the 400 state champion and recently set a school record indoors in the high jump (5 feet, 9 inches).
Holly Hankenson, Bellmont: The senior was second in the 100 hurdles, third in the long jump and fourth in the 300 hurdles at state.
Northrop: The defending state champion and No. 6 Bruins return enough firepower to repeat in Arnold, McCuiston, seniors Alexis Scott, Lauren Osterhout, Latrice Bolton, Patrica Bolton and juniors Amber McGee and Jailyn Krantz.
Wayne: The No. 8 Generals are led by Thomas and sophomore JeBria Green, junior Demetria Griffin, sophomore Nicole Wilson and senior Teshlynn Martin-Shuttleworth.
Bellmont: The No. 14 Braves, who won the small-school division at the Hoosier State Relays indoor meet, will have seniors Holly and Bailee Hankenson and sophomore Bailey Beery returning.
Carroll: McKeeman leads the No. 17 Chargers, along with seniors Coral Whaley, Londyn Wise, Caitlin Minnich, Makenzy Bevineau and sophomores Madison Fruchey and Kori Leonard.
Concordia: Black, senior Maria Konow and sophomore Cierra Weemes pace the No. 20 Cadets.
Boiler connection: Thomas, Black, McCuiston and Fremont distance ace Abby Hostetler are all headed to the Purdue track program.
Heavy heart s: Southern Wells coach Chris Killingbeck died Monday. He had coached the Raiders for seven seasons. Boys coach Gary Paxson will also coach the girls.
Taylor gone: Junior Jaquell Taylor transferred from Northrop to Indianapolis Pike this year.
SAC unknowns: Somewhat lost in the shuffle, North Side’s Dyamond Morris and Snider’s Karrina Smith are talented runners/athletes in their own rights.
Another Monk at state: Churubusco senior Katie Monk was a state finalist in the discus last year, the third member of her family to compete at state after brother Kyle (2011) and sister Heather (2012).