Mar. 30—PENDLETON — The first area track meet in almost two years was not the most smoothly run sports event in Pendleton Heights history. The names of the athletes were not always available, the flow from one event to the next was disjointed and there were times nobody knew where the hurdles were or how to set them up.
But following a year away from the sport, nobody was complaining — least of all Arabians senior Andrew Harvey.
Harvey opened the season by breaking PH's boys school records in both the shot put and discus throw — marks that had stood for a combined 46 years — and the Arabians celebrated their first day back from spring break with a sweep of their dual meet over Frankton, 67-59 for the boys and 80-36 for the girls.
Harvey, who will continue his athletic career at Eastern Illinois threw the discus 178 feet, 5 inches, outdistancing teammate DeMarco Cooley by over 50 feet, to break Chris Shaw's 2006 record of 177-9. He followed with a shot put heave of 54-6.5 to edge the previous record of 54-1 held by Jeff Smith since 1990.
The twin feats of Harvey, accomplished despite a cool breeze that may have hindered the discus throw somewhat, left PH coach Bill Coggins nearly speechless.
"What a great night for him," Coggins said. "He is our main guy that I thought had a chance to podium (at state) this year, and what a way to start a season, especially coming off of spring break."
His discus throw Monday would have been good enough to place second at the 2019 state finals, and his shot put would have placed seventh.
The heartbreak felt by so many athletes a year ago has not been forgotten, and no matter the results, the athletes were excited to return to competition.
"That means a lot. I had a couple alumni out here today who lost their senior season and saying they wished they were out here running today," Coggins said. "I'm sure the kids really appreciate having the opportunity, even though coming off spring break they probably weren't where they would have wanted to be."
There was plenty of success from the Arabian boys beyond Harvey as well. Avry Carpenter won both the 1,600 and 800 and Luke Bays took the 100 before teaming up with Caden McClain, Lane Richardson and Cooper Cochran to take the 4x100 relay. Cochran also won the long jump with a leap of 18-5.5.
On the girls side, Laney Ricker took the 800 and led off the PH winning 4x800 relay team, and Maddie Terrell won the 200 and was part of the 4x100 relay team that won for the Arabians. Isabelle Simons won the high jump with a new personal best 5-0, Kasey Cruse took the discus title, Catherine Dudley won the 1,600, and Abby Davidson won the 3,200.
Coggins used the first meet of the season to mix and match and evaluate many of his younger athletes who are competing for the first time.
"We had a lot of good stuff. We're just going to get better," he said. "This isn't the team you're going to see at (Madison) County."
There was plenty for Frankton coach Andre Lo to smile about as well.
Zack Davenport led off relay wins for Frankton in the 4x800 and 4x400, while Bella Dean was a three-time winner, taking both the 100 and 300 hurdles and teaming up with Evelyn Croy, Skylar Drake and Emma Sheward to win the 4x400 relay. Croy was also the girls half of a 400 sweep for the Eagles, with Brice Everitt taking the boys race.
"They were strong," Lo said of his relay teams. "If it hadn't been so windy, I would have wanted a faster time. They had a big lead, and it's hard to keep pushing."
Although the Arabians had no competitors for the hurdles races, Dean ran strong races and has impressed Lo early in the season.
"Bella is doing very well," he said. "At the first meet, she was actually neck and neck for the win until the last hurdle. She hit the last hurdle in both (races), so to come back today, finish both races from where she was last week and improve, she is doing really well. She's much farther than I thought she would be."
Jacob Davenport won the 300 hurdles and Corbin Alexander the 110 hurdles for the Frankton boys, with Luke Harrison taking the 200 and freshman Hunter Smith capping the event with a dominant run to first place in the 3,200.
Sydney Duncan won the girls shot put for Frankton with a distance of 29-4.
Contact Rob Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-640-4886.