Pendleton Heights High School and Lapel High School track and field athletes make their mark at state meet


BLOOMINGTON — Many members of the Pendleton Heights and Lapel track and field teams who qualified for the IHSAA State Finals saved their best for the last meet of the year.

The State Finals took place at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex at Indiana University, Bloomington, on Friday and Saturday, June 1 and 2.

For Pendleton Heights runner Matt Sakeuh, his journey from Lapel to Tennessee back to Pendleton ended on a positive note Saturday, June 2.

The Pendleton Heights senior capped his high school track career by finishing third in the 300-meter hurdles. He was clocked in a personal-best 38.32 seconds.

“The competition helped out,” Sakeuh said. “The weather was good. Just everything was right. It was good to run a (personal record).”

Sakeuh spent his first two years of high school at Lapel High School. Last year, his family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and he made that state’s big-school state meet while running for Knoxville West. The family moved back to Pendleton at the beginning of this school year.

Sakeuh first began running hurdles when he was at Lapel and credits his freshman coach for the push to get into running hurdles.

“I was scrawny and small, and I came in my freshman year and I had hops,” Sakeuh said. “(The coach) saw my hops and was like, ‘OK, we’ll try you in the hurdles,’ and the rest is history. It’s become like a second language to me.”

Sakeuh’s older sister Plenseh-Tay was a state medalist at Lapel and just finished her junior year at Taylor University. Matt is planning to join her there next year and may compete for the track team.

“I want to,” he said. “It would be really neat to run there with my sister.”

Meanwhile, Pendleton Heights junior Eli Pancol came away with a third-place finish, too. Pancol leaped 6 feet, 8 inches, to take third in the high jump.

Pancol made 6’ 2”, 6’ 4” and 6’ 6” on his first jumps, 6’ 7” on his second attempt and 6’ 8” on his first try before missing his three allotted jumps at 6’ 9”. Plymouth’s Nate Patterson went a state-record 7’ 4” to win the event.

The Arabians just missed a spot on the medals podium in the 4×400 relay. Sakeuh and juniors Luke Upton, Pancol and Milan Jones finished 11th in 3:20.55, just 44-hundredths of a second out of the ninth and final scoring spot.

Jones also took 13th in the 800 in 1:56.52 for Pendleton Heights, which finished 12th overall as a team with 14 points.

Lapel sophomore Luke Combs finished 12th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:17.72, while Pendleton Heights junior Luke Upton finished 20th with a time of 4:24.55. Matthew Schadler of Evansville Reitz Memorial finished first in 4:07.83.

The girls competed Friday, June 1. Patience Sakeuh, a sophomore at Pendleton Heights, earned a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (44.23).

Chatard junior Beth Barnes won the race in 43.76, while Lawrence Central senior De’Air Robertson finished second (43.81).

In the high jump, Pendleton Heights senior Marisa Marshall finished in seventh place with a leap of 5 feet, 6 inches. First place went to Shelly Tyler of Shelbyville, who jumped 5’ 11”, while Katie Isenbarger of Zionsville finished second.

Pendleton Heights girls finished tied for 25th with 10 points.

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