Golden Eagles Lead C-T Top 25 Spring Athletes

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

1. Margo HornockerOak Hill junior track and field
A fourth-place state finals finish in the 1,600 meters helped Hornocker secure C-T Top 25 Spring Athlete honors, but she accomplished much more including school records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races. Hornocker was sectional champion in the 800 and 4×800 relay and was a regional qualifier in three events. She also was a Grant Four and Central Indiana Conference champion in three events: 1,600, 4×800 relay and 800.

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2. Tahj JohnsonOak Hill freshman track and field
As a freshman, Johnson just missed medaling at the IHSAA state finals in the 400 meters, finishing 10th place in a near-school record 49.69 seconds. At one point during the season he had the state’s best freshman time in the 400, and never lost a race until his heat at the state finals, where he was second. Johnson also excelled at the long jump with a best leap of 21-feet, 4 1/4-inches, also placing him among the state’s top freshmen performers.

3. Maddi Evans
Madison-Grant junior softball
In repeating as the C-T’s softball player of the year, Evans went 10-4 in the circle with a 1.13 earned-run average and struck out 126 batters over 105 2/3 innings. Evans pitched all 18 innings in the Argylls’ epic 2-1 loss to Class 2A top-ranked Elwood for the sectional championship. She also excelled at the plate, hitting .396 with 15 doubles and 29 RBIs and was named to the all-CIC team.

4. Garrison SmithMississinewa senior baseball
Smith earned C-T pitcher of the year honors with a 5-2 record and 1.48 ERA over 42 2/3 innings. He pitched the Indians past Frankton 4-2 with a complete game effort and helped deliver the Indians a share of the CIC baseball championship. As a hitter, Smith batted .297 with three home runs. A two-time all-CIC performer, Smith will play for Indiana University-Kokomo’s first baseball team in the fall.

5. Justin JohnsonMarion junior track and field
The Indianapolis Howe transfer finished 15th in the long jump at the IHSAA state finals after winning the event in the sectional and regional meets at Indiana Wesleyan University. Johnson’s jump of 22 feet 1 1/4 inches at regional beat out Oak Hill’s Tahj Johnson and Sammy Sommers. The Giants relied on Johnson’s versatility in a number of events, including the 400 and 4×100 relay.

6. Sammy SommersOak Hill sophomore track and field
Summers culminated a breakout sophomore campaign with a 21st place finish in the long jump at the IHSAA state finals. He had finished third at regional and second at sectional behind the Giants’ Justin Johnson and during the season toppled the 40-year-old school record with a leap of 22 feet, 5 1/2 inches. Besides the long jump, Sommers made a clean sweep of the 110-meter hurdles at the Grant Four, CIC and sectional meets.

7. Savannah LeasMadison-Grant senior track and field
One of the area’s top throwers, Leas finally obtained the state finals berth that eluded her in 2016 with a third-place finish in the shot put at the South Bend St. Joseph’s Regional. Leas won the shot put and finished second behind teammate Payton Freel at the Western Sectional. In the state meet, Leas finished in 22nd place, and she graduated from M-G holding the school shot put record of 38 feet, 0.5 inches.

8. Kayla DubuqueMarion sophomore tennis
The Giants’ No. 1 singles player, Dubuque followed up a freshman season where she earned second team all-state honors with another strong showing. Dubuque was 21-5 in her matches, which included a cameo at No. 1 doubles in the NCC tournament championship match when the Giants edged McCutcheon 3-2 for their third straight title. She also helped the Giants to a 17th consecutive sectional title and received all-NCC and all-District 4 first team honors.

9. Cade McCoinMississinewa junior baseball
The C-T’s baseball player of the year, McCoin batted .382 for the Indians and led all county hitters with seven home runs. McCoin helped the Indians to a three-way share of the CIC title, hitting a key home run in the deciding game against Frankton. A second baseman, McCoin also stole 23 bases and 17 of his 29 hits went for extra bases (.802 slugging percentage).

10. Carli FonesMississinewa freshman track and field
The fastest girl in Grant County – and just a freshman – Fones showed off her speed with a clean sweep of the 100 meters in the Grant Four, CIC and sectional meets. For good measure, she set the school record in the 200 of 26.57 seconds at CIC and finished second to Elwood’s McKenzie Wilson, a 2016 state qualifier. Fones also won the 200 and 400 in the Grant Four and just missed out on a state finals berth in the 100 after a fifth-place regional finish.

11. Andrew LawvereEastbrook senior baseball
Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne recruit Lawvere led Grant County with a .524 batting average (33-of-63) and also collected four home runs. Lawvere, a catcher, was a three-time all-CIC selection and named to the C-T’s All-County baseball team. He will represent Grant County in the North-South All-Star Series July 15-16 at Ball State University, the first Panther selected since Luke Jones in 2004.

12. Brody HardcastleOak Hill senior baseball
Hardcastle became Oak Hill’s 10th North-South All-Star Series representative after batting .480 for the Eagles, and his 47 hits were the second-highest in school history. His batting average also was the fifth-highest all-time for an Eagles hitter. A catcher-second baseman, Hardcastle made all-CIC two straight years and named to the C-T All-County team.

13. Alie CarsonMadison-Grant senior softball
A four-time all-CIC performer, Carson batted .427 for the Argylls (45-of-103) with 26 RBIs and helped the Argylls win the Grant Four tournament championship. Carson’s 1.016 on base-plus-slugging percentage ranked second on the team behind only Evans, and she committed only one error while performing at first base. She was named to the C-T All-County team.

14. Haleigh RawleyMississinewa junior tennis
Rawley was 18-4 at No. 1 singles for the Indians and two of her losses were to Dubuque. Among her victims was the top player for Zionsville’s state-ranked team and Yorktown’s best player. She was the No. 4 votegetter on the coaches all-District 4 singles team. Ole Miss finished 14-5 with a runner-up finish in the CIC.

15. Blake LeFavourOak Hill sophomore golf
From sixth man to Grant Four and sectional meet medalist in one year, LeFavour had a remarkable breakout season for the Golden Eagles. LeFavour fired a 1-over par 73 in the Grant Four at Arbor Trace that included a hole-in-one, and then followed with an even-par 72 in the sectional at Timber Ridge, Bluffton, and lead the field by four shots. Oak Hill was CIC and Grant Four champions and runners-up to Marion at the sectional.

16. Brennan ButcheMississinewa sophomore track and field
Butche didn’t quite pull off a cross country-track state finals double after his sixth place regional finish. Still, the Indians distance standout had a fine spring that included winning the sectional 3,200-meter championship. He turned in the fastest ever 3,200 at the CIC (9:33.86), topping a 22-year-old record, and was invited to compete in the prestigious ‘Miracle Mile’ at Franklin Central.

17. Connor WhiteEastbrook junior track and field
White was a top pointgetter for the Panthers’ deep track team that won Grant Four and CIC championships and first ever sectional meet. At sectional, he was the 1,600-meter champion and finished second in the 3,200 behind Mississinewa’s Brennen Butche. The two also ran the fastest ever 3,200 CIC race, with Butche setting the meet record and White establishing the Panthers new standard with a 9:39.10 clocking.

18. Lauren McGuireMadison-Grant senior tennis
McGuire set an Argylls boys’ and girls’ tennis program record with 21 match wins playing at the No. 2 singles position. She helped lead the Argylls to Madison County and CIC championships and a regular season victory over Marion. An all-region performer, McGuire finished with 55 match wins to rank fourth all-time and competed in the North-South All-Star Classic along with teammate Kelsey Kohlmorgen.

19. Jenessa HastyOak Hill sophomore softball
Hasty batted .377 for the Eagles with 13 of her 29 hits going for extra bases (.610 slugging percentage). She produced 32 RBIs to lead the Eagles, and she was named to the all-CIC and C-T All-County teams. Hasty helped the Eagles to a 20-8 season and sectional runner-up finish, losing 1-0 to Whitko in the championship game.

20. Katelyn ShouseMadison-Grant junior softball, track and field
Shouse kept busy competing by playing softball and running hurdles races for the track team and had success in both endeavors. She was 100-meter hurdles champion in both the Madison County and Grant Four meets and had a best time of 16.74 seconds. In softball, Shouse was the Argylls starting third baseman and batted .326 to gain C-T All-County honorable mention honors.

21. Darcie PattonMississinewa junior softball
The Indians catcher led all county softball players with a .576 batting average (37-of-64) that included nine extra-base hits. Patton produced 16 RBIs and finished with a 1.371 on base-plus slugging percentage. She made all-CIC for the third straight year and was on the C-T All-County team.

22. Braden DrookMarion senior golf
On a balanced No. 17-ranked Giants golf team, Drook usually played the No. 1 position and came through in their biggest meets. Drook finished fifth at the NCC meet with a 78 and helped the Giants to a runner-up finish. He also shot 78 when the Giants won their second consecutive sectional title. One of his best rounds was a 74 when the Giants shot 292 and won the Northfield Invitational.

23. Katie GaddMarion sophomore track and field
Gadd had a sensational sectional meet, winning both the 200 and 400 meters, and displayed plenty of potential. She won the 200 in a photo finish over Elwood’s McKenzie Wilson, a 2016 state finalist, and then captured the 400 in another close race. At regional, Gadd just missed out on a state finals berth in the 400 with a fourth place finish.

24. Mollie GambleOak Hill freshman track and field
Gamble followed up an impressive cross country season with more success in track and field. Among her achievements was setting meet records in the 3,200 meters at both the Grant Four and CIC, and she qualified for regional in the same event. She also was part of the Eagles’ sectional champion 4×800 relay team.

25. Luke LefflerMarion junior golf
Leffler was another mainstay of the Giants’ 17th-ranked boys’ golf team. His 76 led the Giants to a second straight sectional championship at Timber Ridge, and had the low round of the season with a 1-under par 71 at Honeywell in the Northfield Invitational. He shot 82 at the NCC meet to earn all-conference honors and help Marion to a second-place finish.

Breakdown:
By gender: Female 13, Male 12.
By school: Eastbrook 2; Madison-Grant 5; Marion 5; Mississinewa 6; Oak Hill 7
By grade: Senior 7; Junior 9; Sophomore 6; Freshmen 3

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