Kye Combs

Corydon Central freshman Kye Combs keeps the Panthers in a position for a regional spot during the 3,200-meter relay with the Panthers finishing third.

The Floyd Central Highlander boys’ track team dominated the Floyd Central track sectional with a 107-point win over county-rival New Albany Thursday night at Ron Weigleb Stadium. The Highlanders won 10 of the 16 events in a meet that saw athletes perform better than their best for their next step into the post-season toward the Evansville Central regional.

Personal records fell in the field events in both the discus and shot put.

In the discus, Floyd Central senior Brock Conrad demolished his personal best with a throw of 162 feet, 11 inches. Crawford County junior Nash Stroud also set a personal best with a second-place performance of 131 feet.

“I just wanted to focus on my form and just the things I’ve tried to hammer down in these last couple of meets,” said Conrad, who also won the shot put with a distance of 54 feet, 6 inches. “It’s more so underneath the ear. There’s a little bit bigger diameter on the discus ring, about a foot I think.”

Stroud threw 118 feet in the discus on his first attempt and that was enough for him to turn things up a notch.

“That boosted my confidence throwing out there,” said Stroud, who threw 43 feet for second place in the shot. “The next throws you just continue to go up and up. My goal this year was 130 in discus. I’m trying to get to 44 in shot. In regional, I’m going to see if I can still get a 130-plus. In shot, I’m going to try to get that 44. Having people that are better than you, it’s a lot of motivation to try to throw hard again. The good ones that are throwing 50-plus, you watch them and learn from them and try to mimic what they’re doing, what helps them.”

The bar was the main competition for Floyd Central’s Kaden Stewart in the high jump. Stewart, who has jumped 6-10 this year, easily won the event at 6 feet, 8 inches. Stewart then went for his goal of 7 feet. His best attempt came on his third try, but the Floyd Central senior barely brushed the bar, knocking it off the standards. Stewarts teammate Josh Geiger finished second at 6-2.

“I’ve got to be more patient on the arch of my jump. I’ve got to hold that a whole lot longer,” Stewart said. “It was the bottom of my thigh that barely touched it. When I came out of my arch, I hit it with my butt on the way up ... I felt pretty good over that, so I feel pretty good for the regional. I’ll take (the win), but I’d rather have a PR.”

North Harrison’s Joshua Waynescott also qualified for the regional in the event, finishing third at 6 feet, 2 inches. Waynescott said he was learning by watching Stewart.

“I felt pretty good coming into it,” Waynescott said. “You know it’s tough coming in, but you’ve got to watch him and learn what he’s doing and copy him. You try and learn as much as you can from him.”

In the pole vault, Corydon Central’s Sean Woods and Floyd Central’s Jake Grangier tied for first place at height of 14 feet. Both vaulters went for personal records of 14-3 but missed on all three of their attempts, leaving them tied in the top spot.

“It would have set a school record,” said Woods. “I tied it last year at regionals. I’m trying to fully break it now. I felt nervous in a way because Jake here is vaulting the same as I am if not a little bit higher. But at the same time, knowing I had two more poles because the coaches at Borden let me borrow some, I had enthusiasm. I was ready.”

“I’m right there,” said Grangier. “I’ve just got to get deeper in the mat. My height is there. ... I think the secret is core strength. The whole part is just to get inverted. I feel like if you have core strength, you can just get up and get over it. I think we’re ready.”

In the first running event, the Highlanders easily won the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 8 minutes, 21.47 seconds over Providence with Corydon Central advancing with a third-place finish in 8:34.38. In the 110-meter hurdles, Floyd Central senior Kaden Kruer was a rocket over the 39-inch hurdles, winning in a fast time of 14.55 seconds. Kruer’s teammate Isaac Kaiser was third in at 15.37.

“It felt better than a lot of the races this year,” Kruer said. “I’ve been struggling, but I’m hoping that got me back in the 14’s. 15.02 is my best this year, and I’ve just been trying to crack into that. I’ve been hitting a lot of 15.2s. I definitely felt like my start was better. I could see my self go ahead of everybody else. That gave me a little more confidence going up to the first hurdle.”

Floyd Central juniors Darius Atkins and Landon Purlee went 1-2 in the 100-meter dash, Atkins winning in a time of 11.16 seconds. North Harrison’s Spencer Smith also qualified for the regional in third at 11.32 with Crawford County’s Nicholas Hosier just outside in fourth in 11.77.

The big race of the day was the 1,600-meter run where Floyd Central’s Will Conway and New Albany’s Aaron Lord and Aidan Lord ran away from the field. Through the first 2-1/2 laps, Conway sat back in third behind the Lord brothers, Aaron leading up to that point. Conway then moved to the point and began to pull away despite the efforts of the Lords. The pace was such that all three runners broke the meet record in the end, Conway winning in 4:05.72, Aaron Lord second in 4:07.81 and Aidan Lord third in 4:14.90.

“I knew 4:08 was very realistic for me,” said Conway, who will run for the University of Tennessee after his high school career ends. “It surprised me a little bit, but I’ve done workouts and it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. I have great coaches that believe in me, that knew I could do that. I have fantastic coaches down at Tennessee, the best coaches in the nation. Go vols! Today was a stepping stone. I’ll see how we do at Bloomington June 2.”

The Highlanders won the 400-meter relay in a time of 42.09 seconds. South Central scored big with a second-place finish in 44.46, and North Harrison was third in 45.20. In the 400-meter dash, North Harrison’s Tucker Smith finished second to advance and Floyd Central junior Will Dewitt finished third.

Floyd Central senior Max Grangier had been on the disabled list for the entire track season but was cleared to run the sectional in his event of the 300-meter hurdles. Grangier made the best of his return, winning in a time of 39.49 seconds despite hitting the last hurdle. Kruer finished second right behind in a time of 40.30 seconds. Grangier said attacking the hurdles was key.

“You have to,” he said. “When you push off, it makes you go so much faster. I wanted to be at least 39-mids since this is my first meet back from injury. I think I broke that. That might have been a PR for me. It felt good all the way through. I had a couple of runouts and I wasn’t feeling anything, so I just attacked it to see what happens.”

The 800-meter run was a tight race with Floyd Central’s top four runners finishing just over two seconds apart. Luca Cirincione broke free in the end to get the win in a time of 1:59.13 with Cory-

don Central’s Sawyer Lewis second in 2:00.81.

“Obviously, we need to score points for the team,” Cirincione said. “I knew the guys I was going against, our seeds were close coming off the mile, so I knew I had an advantage. I just wanted to hold on for the first lap and then put the work in in the last 200 to see how it went from there, and it worked. It was a good race.”

The 200-meter dash was another race where the Highlanders went 1-2 only this time is was Land Purlee finishing in first in a time of 22.39 seconds with Darius Atkins second in 22.58 and North Harrison’s Spencer Smith advancing in third in 23.38.

“Me and (Atkins) are usually competing against each other in reps, and it helps a whole lot just to improve endurance-wise and all of that,” Purlee said. “I think I can beat anybody. I don’t really have a time. It just depends on the race. I like being on the inside lanes because I like seeing people. I like running after them.”

New Albany’s Aaron Lord ran away with the win in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 9:08.06. Both Lord brothers and Christian Academy of Indiana’s Alexander Pinckney battled through most of the race with Conway holding back in fourth. On the last lap, Conway made the move into the second spot, finishing in 9:16.52.

“The main goal was to get out of sectional,” Conway said. “There was no point in running it all out. It’s on a home track and it’s kind of cool, but sometimes you’ve got to put those things behind you and know what to do that’s best for your body.”

The 1,600-meter relay belonged to the Providence Pioneers, who won in 3:27.16. Floyd Central was second in 3:28.64 and the Corydon Central Panthers grabbed the final regional spot in 3:33.19.

Boys’ Scores - Floyd Central 210, New Albany 103, Providence 84, Corydon Central 81.5, North Harrison 48, Crawford County 33, South Central 20, Clarksville 19.5, Borden 18, Christian Academy 6.

Boys’ Results (Top 3 To Regional) - 3,200-meter relay-1. Floyd Central 8:21.47, 2. Providence 8:29.20, 3. Corydon Central 8:34.38; 110-meter hurdles-1. Kaden Kruer (FC) 14.55, 2. Dakota Johnson (NA) 15.23, 3. Isaac Kaiser (FC) 15.37; 100-meter dash-1. Darius Atkins (FC) 11.16, 2. Landon Purlee (FC) 11.21, 3. Spencer Smith (NH) 11.32; 1,600-meter run-1. Will Conway (FC) 4:05.72, 2. Aaron Lord (NA) 4:07.81, 3. Aidan Lord (NA) 4:14.90; 400-meter relay-1. Floyd Central 42.09, 2. South Central 44.46, 3. North Harrison 45.29; 400-meter dash-1. Jackson Kaiser (Prov) 50.83, 2. Tucker Smith (NH) 51.30, 3. Will Dewitt (FC) 51.69; 300-meter hurdles-1. Max Grangier (FC) 39.49, 2. Kaden Kruer (FC) 40.30, 3. Dakota Johnson (NA) 40.89; 800-meter run-1. Luca Cirincione (FC) 1:59.13, 2. Sawyer Lewis (Cory) 2.00.81, 3. Ben Kelly (Prov) 2:00.94; 200-meter dash-1. Landon Purlee (FC) 22.39, 2. Darius Atkins (FC) 22.58, 3. Spencer Smith (NH) 23.38; 3,200-meter run-1. Aaron Lord (NA) 9:08.06, 2. Will Conway (FC) 9:16.52, 3. Alexander Pinckney (CAI) 9:17.70; 1,600-meter relay-1. Providence 3:27.16, 2. Floyd Central 3:28.64, 3. Corydon Central 3:33.19; high jump-1. Kaden Stewart (FC) 6-8, 2. Josh Geiger (FC) 6-2, 3. Joshua Waynescott (NH) 6-2; pole vault-1. Sean Woods (Cory) 14-0, 2. Jake Grangier (FC) 14-0, 3. JT Ray (Bor) 11-6; long jump-1. Titus Wolfe (Cory) 21-9 1/2, 2. Luke Jorden (Prov) 21-3-3/4, 3. Bryce Kernen (FC) 21-1 3/4; shot put-1. Brock Conrad (FC) 54-6, 2. Nash Stroud (CrawCo) 43-0, 3. John Orr (NA) 42-5; discus-1. Brock Conrad (FC) 162-11, 2. Nash Stroud (CrawCo) 131-0, 3. Henry Cook (FC) 129-0.