PH track enters season with high hopes


Layne Richardson competes in the long jump at the Pendleton Heights track invite.

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By Brady Extin | The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Heading into the 2023 season, the Pendleton Heights boys and girls track teams sit in different positions at the top of their roster. The girls return state qualifier Ava Jarrell, while the boys will be without last year’s top regional finisher Avry Carpenter.

But for both teams, the goals remain the same.

“Our goals are to be competitive in the county, conference and sectional meets this season,” head coach Bill Coggins said.

The girls will be led by Jarrell, a distance runner who is coming off of a cross country season in which she placed 31st at the state finals. In last year’s track season, her first at the high school level, she competed in the 800-meter and placed 3rd at both the Pendleton Heights Sectional and Ben Davis Regional before a 16th place finish at state.

“Ava is a really talented sophomore and has a chance to be all-state this season,” Coggins said.

Joining Jarrell in the distance events will be Jaycee Thurman. Thurman placed fourth in the 3,200-meter and sixth in the 1,600-meter at last season’s sectional.

While Jarrell and Thurman lead the Arabians in the distance events, returnee Abby Fisher and newcomer Addison Stanley will look to be at the top of the sprints. Fisher finished fifth at sectional in the 400-meter last season.

On the field side of things, senior Whitney Warfel looks to repeat last season’s success in both the shot put and discus.

Whitney was the only other Pendleton Heights girls regional qualifier last season after placing third in the shot put at sectional. She went on to place 13th at the regional. In discus, she was one spot off of advancing to the regional with a fourth place finish.

“Whitney is off to a great start with a throw of 41’ 6” in the shot put during the indoor season, and qualifying for the Hoosier State Relays with the fourth best throw in the state,” Coggins said.

While the girls return their top qualifier, the boys will look to make up for the loss of Carpenter, who placed third in the 1,600-meter at last season’s Mt. Vernon Sectional, and 10th at the Lawrence Central Regional.

With him gone, just like the girls, the boys will look to a cross-country state qualifier to lead them in the distance events.

Senior Andrew Blake was the Arabians first boys cross-country state finalist since 2018 and placed 84th. According to Coggins, Blake is primed for a breakout season and has the potential to get to state in track as well.

The boys also return three members of the 4×100 relay team that qualified for regional last season in Layne Richardson, Keegan Gephart and Mark Nielsen.

The trio will also be key for the Arabians in each of their individual events as well.

Layne Richardson will handle sprints and field events such as the long jump, Gephart will compete in sprints, and Neilsen will be the Arabians top guy in hurdles along with Isaac Elizondo and Ashaan Singh.

“Layne has had a terrific indoor season and has the potential to have a breakout outdoor season,” coach Coggins said.

Will Coggins and Ashton Davis will give the Arabians depth in the distance events to go along with Blake.

“The coaches are excited to see what this group can do this season because practices have been really competitive,” coach Coggins said. “We have a great mix of returning talented juniors and seniors and a really strong core of freshman and sophomores pushing them.”

Sophomore Ava Jarrell, a distance runner who is coming off of a cross country season in which she placed 31st at the state finals, is expected to be a force on the Pendleton Heights girls track team.