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The return of the pole vault event and the creation of an elementary school squad are two new changes this year for the Carroll County High School track and field team.
Head coach Joe Creager said the event has generated a lot of interest so far with the athletes, and he will be encouraging as many underclassmen as he can to try it and see who sticks with the event.
Creager said in 2001 or 2002, Carroll County sent athletes to state in pole vault. However, many of the schools dropped the event when new safety standards were implemented that basically required the schools to purchase new equipment. He said he talked to principal John Leeper and athletic director Randy Mefford last year about bringing the sport back to the school.
The Panthers will practice pole vaulting at Henry County High School and compete only at away meets. Trimble County pole-vaulters also practice at Henry County. Creager said there is more of a liability issue with the event, which is why they will not be practicing or competing on the home track. Parent-permission forms were also sent out for the participating students.
This year also will be the first for an elementary school track team for the third and fourth graders. The fifth graders compete on the middle school team because there are other competitors with grades fifth through eighth in their school. Creager said he is attempting to get an elementary school meet at Carroll County and will have two in Henry County. This will also be the first year for designated middle school meets. The middle school team will compete in the Carroll County All-Comers meet, as well as two others just for their age group.
Despite losing eight seniors to graduation, including four that competed at the state competition, Creager is confident that the high school team will improve upon their performance last year. “I feel like everybody who went to state last year will go again,” he said, “and I feel like we’ll be able to take a few more kids.”
The Panthers had 12 athletes competing in 21 events last season, according to Creager. This year, he thinks his team will be particularly strong in the field events, led by Tyler Grant, Dylan Jack and Andie Hardesty. Grant competed in triple jump and will add long jump to his repertoire this season. Jack and Hardesty both competed for state in high jump last season.
Having lost only one senior, the girls’ side looks strong, anchored by senior MaryEsther Fremin and sophomore Nora Fremin, Creager said. The boys’ side lost a lot of points from last year’s team, but also gained new athletes through transfers and the younger students stepping up their performance. Creager said he will look for leadership from his seniors, especially his two four-year athletes, MaryEsther Fremin and Tyler Grant.
The Panthers first home meet is Tuesday, March 22 starting at 4:30 p.m.
in Mason-Dixon games
The Carroll County Panthers competed at the 51st annual Mason-Dixon Indoor Games on Saturday.
“There were some of the best teams and best competition from across the state on hand for the meet,” head coach Joe Creager said. “Overall we had a great meet with a very small team.”
The girls finished 14th out of 21 teams, behind the performance of sophomore Nora Fremin in the 55 meter dash and 55 meter hurdles. In both races, she competed against one of the best runners in the state — Kiara Austin from Fort Knox, who was the state champion last year in the 100 meter hurdles and the triple jump. Fremin beat Austin in the 55 meter dash by one one-hundreth of a second.
The boys finished 12th out of 24 teams behind junior Dylan Jack’s second place finish in high jump and senior Tyler Grant’s second place finish in triple jump.
Jack matched his personal best from last season at 5-8 (the height that also got him to state competition).
“He beat out three state qualifiers from last season in Saturday’s meet to place second,” Creager said. “A great showing in his first meet of the season.”
Eighth graders Kelly Layton and Kirsten Arvin had strong performances in the 800 and 400, respectively, beating several competitors and getting some great meet experience in the process. Freshman Taylor Byrd broke the one minute mark for his 400 in only his second meet of the season. Freshman Ashley Srouder placed 12th out of 20 in the shot put with a very strong 26 feet 6 1/2 inches.