Golden Eagles Lead C-T Top 25 Athletes Of 2016-17

1. Margo Hornocker, Oak Hill cross country-track
It was simply a record settingyear for the Chronicle-Tribune’s 2016-17 top athlete. Hornocker started her junior
year earning a second-consecutive trip to the IHSAA cross country state championship after finishing 10th in New Haven semistate last fall. But that was just a warm up for track season. Hornocker finished 5th in the 3,200 and was part of Oak Hill’s 6th place distance medley relay in the indoor state championship, earning first team all-state honors for both. She then capped the spring with a 4th place finish in the 1,600 at the outdoor state championships in June. Along the way Hornocker became the first Grant County girl to run sub-2:21 in the 800 and under 5:10 in the 1,600, which she did three times including at state.

2. Brennan Butche, Mississinewa cross country-track
Butche was the C-T’s top fall athlete after running to a 15th-place finish at the cross country state championship and earned a 1stteam all-state honor from the coaches association. Butche earned XC sectional and CIC titles and broke the 28-year-old Ole Miss 5K record running 15:52.4. Though his track season didn’t pack quite the same punch for Butche, he won a sectional championship in the 3,200 and set a new CIC-meet record (9:33.26) after the old time stood for 22 years.

3. JC Herring, Oak Hill cross county-wrestling-track-baseball
A four-sport competitor for the Golden Eagles, Herring earned the C-T’s top winter sports athlete as the only Grant County wrestler to qualify for the state champion- ships. Herring was one of Oak Hill’s top cross country runners in the fall until injuries cut short his season. He also hit .286 in 35 at-bats for the baseball team and was part of Oak Hill’s  sectional champion 4×800 relay team and a regional qualifier in the 800 meters.

4. Tim Leavell, Marion basketball-track
Leavell earned the C-T’s boys basketball player of the by averag- ing 22.4 points per game and set- ting the Marion single-game scor- ing record with a 55 outburst against Mississinewa. He hit 10 3-pointers against Indianapolis Manual, nearly equaling Marion’s record of 11. Leavell earned 1stteam All-NCC honors in basketball and was a sectional champion in high jump for the Giants’ track team.

5. John Ragan, Eastbrook football, basketball, track
Ragan was a dominant and disruptive force on defense for Eastbrook’s Class 2A state runner-up football team and earned a coaches top-50 player honor across all classes. He was the second highest vote-getter amongst defensive lineman in the state and a nominee for Indiana Mr. Football. He also won 2A’s Blake L. Ress Mental Attitude Award for football and was the C-T’s Defensive Player of the Year. Ragan became a starter for the second half of the season for the Panthers basketball team and was also a member of the school’s first-ever boys track sectional championship.

6. Cade McCoin, Mississinewa football-baseball
McCoin completed 64-percent of his passes and totaled 1,508 and 21 TDs in directing the high-powered Mississinewa football team to a Class 4A No. 5 ranking and its first CIC championship since 1983. He was All-CIC in both football and baseball and was the C-T’s baseball Player of the Year. McCoin batted .382 for the Indians, led Grant County with seven home runs, one of which against Frankton earned the Indians a share of the CIC baseball crown and helped the school win the CIC All-Sports trophy for the year.

7. Jenessa Hasty, Oak Hill cross country-basketball-softball
Hasty was a catalyst for Oak Hill’s state runner-up girls basketball team last winter and finished second in scoring (10.4), assists (2.2) and pulled down three rebounds a game as well. She led the Golden Eagles with better than three steals a contest and was an All-CIC and honorable mention underclass allstate performer. On the diamond, Hasty batted .377 with 32 RBIs to earn All-CIC and all-county honors. She was also honorable mention 2A/1A all-state for the Golden Eagles semistate cross country team.

8. Maddi Evans, Madison-Grant volleyball-basketball-softball
Evans repeated as the C-T’s softball Player of the Year this spring going 10-4 with a 1.13 ERA in the circle for the Argylls while batting .396 with 29 RBIs and a countyleading 15 doubles. She helped the M-G volleyball team achieve its first-even No. 1 ranking in the fall and was part of the Argylls’ sectional championship winning basketball team during the winter. Evans averaged nearly eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in hoops and hit six 3-pointers and scored 30 points in the Argylls’ season opener against Marion before missing a portion of her season with an arm injury

9. Garrison Smith, Mississinewa football-baseball
Smith put together a 5-2 record and a 1.48 ERA to lead the Ole Miss pitching staff and was the winning pitcher against Frankton in helping the Indians clinch a share of the CIC baseball title. He also earned the C-T’s county pitcher of the year as well as All-CIC recognition for baseball. Smith was also a key component of the Indians’ road-grading offensive line last fall that provided protection for McCoin and cleared the way for more 4,500 yards of total offense for Ole Miss.

10. Owen Perkins, Oak Hill football-wrestling-baseball
Perkins earned a spot on the Class 2A all-state football team for the second straight year. The IWUrecruit helped the Golden Eagles rush for more than 250 yards-pergame on offense and had 62 tackles and an interception on defense. He picked up his fourth consecutive CIC championships over the winter and qualified for the semistate. Two of his five losses were against eventual 285-pound state champion, Evan Ellis of Eastern. Perkins had two home runs, six doubles and 19 RBIs in his senior baseball season.

11. Christian Bratcher, Eastbrook football-wrestling
Bratcher was another key-cog in the Panthers run to the 2A state championship football game finishing with more than 60 tackles including five for loss. He was also a semistate qualifier in wrestling and held a 38-0 record at 152-pounds after winning sectional and regional championships. Bratcher’s hopes for being a state champion were derailed three days prior to the semistate when he suffered serious injuries in a car accident.

12. Riley Worland, Marion tennis
Worland became the first Giants’ tennis player to qualify for the individual singles state finals and lost a quarterfinal match to eventual state champion Patrick Fletchall from Carmel. He finished his junior year 22-5 playing against a strong group of No. 1 singles competitors and earned a spot on the coaches all-district 4 first-team and allstate second team.

13. Tahj Johnson, Oak Hill cross country-track-basketball
The fast freshman for the Golden Eagles was one of just two freshman to qualify for the 400 meter state championships this season, and the only race he was beaten all season was in his heat race at state. Johnson’s time of 49.69 seconds at state was the second fastest in Oak Hill history and earned him 10th place out of 27 qualifiers. He was also one of the runners for the Golden Eagles semistate qualifying cross county team in the fall.

14. Heisman Skeens, Mississinewa football-track
Skeens put together one of the most prolific offensive seasons in recent memory for the Indians football team last fall. The C-T’s offensive player of the year accumulated 1,838 all-purpose yards and scored 30 touchdowns as one of the main weapons in the Indians arsenal that averaged more than 43 points per game and won the CIC with a undefeated regular season.

15. Dontea Henderson, Marion football-track
An all around contributor for the revitalized Marion football program, Henderson used his blazing speed to score touchdowns rushing and receiving as well as on kickoff and interception returns. His presence helped the Giants go from an 0-10 team in 2016 to 5-5 in 2017 earning him All-NCC honors in the process. Henderson was also NCC champion and a regional qualifier in the high jump for Marion’s track team.

16. Savannah Leas, MadisonGrant golf-track
One of the top throwers in the area and state, Leas finally reached the state track championships in shot put with a third-place finish at the South Bend Saint Joseph’s Regional after narrowly missing a trip as a junior. She won the Western Sectional shot put championship and finished second to teammate Payton Freel in discus. Leas, who will continue her track career at Olivet Nazarene in the fall, finished 22nd at the state championship. Leas also holds the M-G school record with a throw of 38-feet, 5-inches.

17. Justin Johnson, Marion track
Despite just starting his long jump career in April, Johnson proved he is a quick learner and is blessed with stellar athletic ability. The junior captured sectional and regional long jump championships for the Giants and finished 15th at the state championship narrowly missing on qualifying for the medalist round.

18. Sammy Sommers, Oak Hill swimming-track
Sommers culminated a breakout sophomore season with a 21st place in long jump at the state track championship in June. Sommers set the Oak Hill school record in long jump with a leap of 22-feet, 5.5 inches and was a multi-event threat for the Golden Eagles all season, winning Grant Four, CIC and sectional championships in the 110-meter hurdles.

19. Jerod May, Mississinewa tennis-basketball
May was a key contributor for the Indians’ tennis CIC and sectional champions finishing with a 17-5 record combined at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, and made the coaches all-district 4 team. For the second straight season, May was the leading scorer for the Ole Miss basketball team with a 17.1 ppg average. He helped the Indians win 16 games, including a stretch of 11 in a row and earned first-team allCIC honors on the hardwood.

20. Connor White, Eastbrook track-cross country
White earned Class 2A first-team all state honors by the track and cross country coaches association, only the second Eastbrook runner ever to earn that accolade. White raced to fourth in the sectional and sixth in regional and helped the Panthers advance to cross country semistate for the second year in a row. White was also a top point scorer for Eastbrook’s Grant Four, CIC and firsttime ever sectional track team. He won the 1,600 sectional championship and was second to Butche in the 3,200, setting a new Eastbrook record with a 9:39.10 clocking.

21. Brody Hardcastle, Oak Hill football-wrestling-baseball
Hardcastle was recently awarded a spot on the North team for the annual North-South baseball all-star series being played at Ball State July 15-16. Splitting time as catcher and at second base, Hardcastle batted .480 for the Golden Eagles and his 47 hits were second highest in school history earning him all-CIC honors. Hardcastle also won a wrestling sectional championship at 170-pounds and earned a trip to semistate finishing runner-up in regional.

22. JK Thomas, Marion foot- ball-basketball
Thomas became the most pro- lific scoring freshman in the his- tory of Marion basketball. He fin- ished the season as the No. 2 scorer (13.3 ppg) and exploded onto the scene scoring 23 points against Maconaquah and drop- ping 30 on Lawrence North off the bench in his first two varsity games. His production dropped some, but he finished his fresh- man campaign with 13 straight double-figure scoring games. Thomas was named second-team All-NCC. He totaled 564 yards and scored five touchdowns for the Giants in the fall.

23. Kanani Price, MadisonGrant volleyball-tennis
A back row specialist, Price earned coaches Class 2A firstteam all-state honors after recording 475 digs, just 12 shy of the M-G school record. The Mis- sissippi State-recruit helped lead the Argylls to a 30-4 record and to the No. 1 ranking in 2A last sea- son. The all-CIC performer played in the North-South volleyball Allstar game in Indianapolis last fall. Price also earned all-CIC honors playing at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles for the record-setting M-G tennis team.

24 . Mollie Gamble, Oak Hill cross country-track
Gamble was a bit of a surprise for the Golden Eagles cross country team in the fall. Running in Hornocker’s shadow most of the season, the freshman was usually close behind in every race. Gamble edged Hornocker at the finish line to capture the Marion sectional championship, finished fifth inregional and 20th at semistate to earn a trip to the state finals and Class 2A all-state honors. Gamble built on her success during track, setting new Grant Four and CIC meet records in the 3,200 while qualifying for regional in the same event. She was also part of Oak Hill’s 4×800 relay sectional champion.

25. Lauren McGuire, MadisonGrant basketball-tennis
McGuire set an M-G tennis program record, boys or girls, with 21 wins playing at No. 2 singles and helped lead the Argylls to Madison County and CIC championships. On the basketball floor, McGuire averaged nearly 10 points, six rebounds and over two assists and two steals in helping M-G win a sectional championship for the first time since 2001.

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