Princeton eyes its fourth straight sectional

Paul Wilcoxen/Daily Clarion

Princeton Community's Justin Niederhaus completes the 400-meter dash at the Big-8 Conference meet last week. The Tigers will compete and host tonight's IHSAA sectional.

Having regained the Big-8 Conference championship by rallying to deny Jasper a second straight crown, Princeton Community now eyes its fourth straight boys track and field sectional team championship.

“We know Gibson Southern, and South Knox have good athletes. And Vincennes Lincoln could challenge if all their guys are healthy — some were hurt last week,” said Princeton Coach Bill Niederhaus.

Tonight’s meet at PCHS will start with field events at 5 p.m., followed soon after by the 3,200-meter relay and about 5:30 by running trials.

The top three finishers in each event advance to next Thursday’s Evansville Central Regional, where the field in each event will include athletes with the next three-best marks in the four sectionals feeding into the regional.

“We’ve got good kids, but I don’t know if we can beat Princeton,” said Gibson Southern Coach Ron Kahle, whose Titans won four straight sectional titles before the Tigers’ took charge in 2015.

Wood Memorial Coach Nick Berry sees advancement possibilities for senior Ethan Phillips in the 110-meter high hurdles and junior Clayton Grider in the discus.

“Ethan is seeded fourth and could move on, and Clayton might surprise,” said Berry.

Princeton senior and coach’s son Justin Niederhaus in the 1,600 run, classmate Stephan Wilkerson in the high jump and junior Zach Dove in the discus eye sectional title repeats.

Niederhaus, to continue his track and cross country careers at Indiana State, is fresh from Big Eight titles in the 1,600 and 800. Dove won the Big-8 shot put and discus crowns, junior Jackson Krieg the 3,200. The Tigers’ also won the 400 relay.

“We’ll also enter Stephan in the long jump to see what he can do when he takes three jumps,” said coach Niederhaus. “He usually takes just one jump, but he’s been practicing more. Bill Niederhaus, who saw graduated brother JaVon Wilkerson win last year’s sectional long jump.

“We think Tor’Jon Evans has a good chance in the 100. Same with Miles Boston in the 200, Cooper Clark in the 400, Justin in the 800 and 1,600, Krieg and Lee Friedman in the 3,200.

“Zach could sweep shot put and discus,.Chase Wilson and Luke Dunn are pole vault contenders. Cole Hurt has a shot in the 110 high hurdles, as does Chandler Weeks in the 300 intermediate hurdles.”

Kyler Havill will join Friedman, Krieg and Justin Niederhaus in the 3,200 relay. Brothers Tor’Jon, Tory and Tre Evans, will join Wilkerson in the 400 relay.

“We’re not sure yet who’ll run the 1,600 relay,” said coach Niederhaus. “It’ll depend on who feels strong after the other events,” said Bill Niederhaus.

Gibson Southern senior Trey Riggs eyes a sectional repeat in the high hurdles after winning that and the 300 intermediates in the Pocket Athletic Conference meet.

“Trey is in a good position, especially in the highs, and Alex Meyer could also advance in the hurdles,” Kahle said. “Our 1,600 relay team of Avery Gick, Meyer, Riggs and John Loehr won the PAC and has a legitimate shot to win Thursday.

“Loehr has an outside change in the 400. Trey and Josh Pohl have both gone 6 feet in the high jump. Zach Nurrenbern won the sectional shot put last year and has a legitimate shot to repeat; he also has a chance in the discus.

“Loehr has an outside chance in the 400, while Zach Purcell, Aidan Neel, Adam Reed and Travis Hart have an outside chance in the 3,200 relay. Travis Hart could challenge in the 1,600 and 3,200.”

Pike Central senior Gavin Boyd sill contend in the vault after winning the PAC by clearing 13-0 1/4.

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