LAKEVILLE, IN. – With 14 letter winners returning, including a pair of state qualifiers, LaVille Boys Track would like nothing better than to improve on the success from a year ago.
“We have a large group returning that had success last year and are looking to repeat that success,” said LaVille Boys Track coach Kathe Beehler. “We have a group of freshman that I am looking to give us depth in the distance events. With the addition of Pole vault we will be able to get points in that event.”
Beehler has a solid core to build the 2019 version of LaVille Boys Track. State qualifiers in senior Luke Beehler and junior Austin Dove will be looking to better their marks from a year ago and hope to return to the state meet in the long jump and high jump. Luke Beehler is the defending Penn Sectional long jump champion.
Beehler’s leap of 23-feet, 1-inch set a new school record and claimed the Penn Sectional long jump title by 20-inches (or 1-foot, 8-inches), depending how one looks at it. The old LaVille high jump mark was 22-feet, 8 1/2-inches, set by James Larkin in 1996.
Beehler and Dove were able to accomplish something that a LaVille Boys Track team member has not done since 1996.
Beehler finished 12th in the state meet after jumping 22-feet, 3 1/4-inches. Dove cleared 6’2” but was out of the allotted time (to jump). Dove set the LaVille Boys Track high jump record when he jumped 6-feet, 5-inches at Winamac High School. The old record, set by Jeff Hartleroad in 1997, was 6-feet, 4 1/4-inches.
Another LaVille Track and Field record broken last spring included that of the 4 X 100 relay team at 2018 Hoosier North Athletic Conference Championships. Kolby Watts, Luke Beehler, Ethan Yoder, and Nick Felke broke mark, sprinting to a time of 44.79 seconds. The old record, set by Ernie Hall, Jeff Tyler, Mike Ingle, and AJ Wright, was 44.8 in 1982.
Among those returnees that coach Beehler will look to include, “Senior Nick Felke is a great all-around athlete and I am able to put him in any event on the track from the 100 to the 1600 and have some success. He is a member of both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams. Senior RJ Gentner returning to the throwing events. Senior Rilee White will join Austin Dove in the High Jump. Senior Riley Wagoner in the hurdles. Junior Ethan Yoder in the 400-meter dash, 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay. Junior Kolby Watts 4×100 and 4×400 will also be pole vaulting. Junior Conner Manges returning for the relays and hurdles. Junior Jacob Hominiuk in the discus and Ethan Sandoval in the distance events, and Sophomore Kaden Rush sprints and relays.”
With a nice, new track and revamped field event area, LaVille will also host the Hoosier North Athletic Conference Boys Track & Field Championships on May 9 at Lancer Field.
“Looking forward to hosting the Boys HNAC meet at LaVille,” concluded Beehler. “It is a great conference with a lot of talent. ”
For the first time in two years, LaVille returns to the friendly confines of Lancer Field for practices.
“We traveled to John Glenn to practice the last two years,” said Beehler. “The kids are really excited to have a home track to practice and compete on! Not having to travel for practice and meets is exciting.”
And, its been eight years since LaVille hosted a regular season meet and quite a while since hosting Lancer Relays.
“We will be hosting Lancer Relays again and that is fun for the current athletes, community and former athletes that got to compete in it,” explained Beehler. “Being able to have home meets means that the track athletes can have their friends, teachers and families watch them compete.”
And, for the first time in several years, LaVille is excited to have student-athletes participate in pole vault.
“Bringing pole vault back is really exciting,” said Beehler. “Senior Riley Wagoner, junior Kolby Watts, and sophomores Nathan Watts and Nathan Bourdan are working with coach (Bill) Hulsey and seeing improvement every day.”
LaVille will open the season Tuesday, March 19, at Lancer Field against Bremen and John Glenn. Field events are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.