Bellmont track and field sets 31 records

Joe Spaulding
Staff Writer

KENDALLVILLE— Cold and blustery weather greeted the Braves and Squaws from Bellmont Saturday at the annual John Reed Track Relays at East Noble High School but despite the adverse conditions, Bellmont athletes still notched 31 season or personal bests plus the Braves absolutely shattered a long-standing school record in the 4x800 relay.

Bellmont's Chase Kukelhan, Kyle Lawson, Isaac Fuelling, and Jordan Garlinger totally dominated their 4x8 relay race with a winning time of 8:08.35 over five other teams. The previous best time of the year for the group was 8:24.80 and even had they matched that time instead of beating it by over eight and a half seconds, the Braves would still have easily won the race as second place Columbia City took 8:29.02 to complete the event.

"That was just an outstanding performance by those guys," exclaimed Bellmont coach Dave Hakes, adding "we've broken the 4x8 record a couple of times in the past few years but it was usually by maybe a couple of tenths of a second or maybe a second or so. To break the school record (it was 8:17.0) like we did was phenomenal. I would have really enjoyed seeing what those guys could have done under ideal running conditions."

Kukelhan started the race out with a 2:05.6 split followed by Lawson's 1:59.8 run. Fuelling put the Braves in good form with a 2:03.4 effort and Garlinger left all the other runners a considerable distance behind as his tour of 800 meters was clocked at 1:59.5.

The Braves also picked up a blue ribbon in the long jump event with Ryne Norby winning with a leap of 21'6 1/4 which was 3 1/4 inches longer than the runner-up in the jump. Norby also added team points for Bellmont in the high jump as he tied for third after cleaning 6'0. 

The biggest point production of the afternoon for Bellmont came in the discus throw as Mason Murphy and Tony Ordway combined to sweep second and third place with respective throws of 140'5 and 131'1 for 14 team points. Ordway also starred in the shot put as he pounded out a 44'9 heave that was good for second place. Also placing second for the Braves was Cody Loshe as the sophomore pole vaulter cleared the bar at 10'6 which was a  six-inch personal best for him.

Third place positions for Bellmont went to their 4x400 relay squad of Lucas Juengel, Ben Frantz, Tanner Walker, and Deion Guise in 3:40.75 and the distance medley relay (consisting of 800, 400, 800, and 1600 meter runs) with Kukelhan, Lawson, Blaine Johnson, and Fuelling making  up that foursome for six team points.

Other Braves that scored in the meet included Guise and Johnson in the one mile run with times of 4:54.06 (sixth) and 4:56.96, a season best (eighth) respectively; Noah Zimmerman, fourth in the 110 high hurdles with a personal record of :16.81; the 4x100 relay team of Frantz, Joe Laughlin, Walker, and Norby took fourth in :46.31; the 4x200 relay crew of Juengel, Frantz, Laughlin, and Walker was fourth in 1:38.27; Rodrigo Fierros captured eighth in the shot put with a toss of 40'1 1/2; and the 800 sprint medley relay (two 100 meter runs, one 200 run, and one 400 leg) team of Jackson Harris, Conrad Dyer, Alec Roman, and Landon Caston finished sixth in 1:48.31.

The Braves finished a strong third in the six-team field overall with 94.50 points behind fellow Northeast Hoosier Conference foes Columbia City 140.50, and East Noble 107, but defeated Goshen 72.50, DeKalb 60.50, and Lakeland 38. Bellmont has an outstanding 23-3 record to date in boys track this season.


Squaws Finish Third

The Bellmont Squaws also finished third in the team competition and claimed two first place finishes among individual competition.

Mia Hankenson easily captured the pole vault event with her clearing effort of 9'6 (six inches better than anyone else in the field) and Gabby Birch took another field event for the Squaws of Coach Carl Risch as she put the discus throw into the Bellmont win column with best throw of 127'6. 

Another strong finish by Bellmont's Grace Nelson in the pole vault saw the junior go 8'6 which was good for third. 

Hankenson would likely have won the 100 hurdles as well for the Squaws but stumbled and finished eighth in :18.7 0. Hankenson had a :16.6 run in the preliminaries which was the best in the field and she was leading the hurdles race at the time of her unfortunate misstep. Still, a highlight in the hurdles was a personal best of :17.86 by Faith Morris which was good enough for sixth for the Squaws.

Bellmont posted two other third place finishes on the day. Their 800 sprint medley relay team of Hankenson, Morgan Shifferly, Morris, and Nelson finished in 2:01.80 while Birch had a 33'6 heave in the shot put.

Placing fourth for the Squaws, now 18-6 on the season in team competition, were Nelson in the 100 dash in :13.67; the 4x100 relay team of Shifferly, Nelson, Birch, and Hankenson in :55.16; and the distance medley relay group of Mia Singleton, JoLynn Hockemeyer, Jara Hockemeyer, and Claire Fuelling in 13:44.41.

Others scoring team points for the Squaws included: the fifth-place 4x400 relay team of Ezraelle Zimmerman, JoLynn Hockemeyer, Joley Beaulieu, and Isabel Wilson in 4:47.75; the fifth-place 4x800 relay foursome of Autum Meyers, Singleton, JoLynn Hockemeyer, and Claire Fuelling in 11:40.77; Meyers was sixth in the one-mile run in 6:14.04 which was a season best; and the sixth-place 4x200 relay team of Zimmerman, Ella Smith, Beaulieu, and JoLynn Hockemeyer in 2:06.32.

East Noble and Columbia City topped the team competition with 120.50 and 105 points respectively while Bellmont was third with 70.5. Central Noble, DeKalb, and Goshen were bunched up together with 55.5, 55, and 52 points respectively, Lakeland had 41, and Eastside scored 31.5.