May 22, 2024 at 2:25 p.m.

Patriots’ season ends at regional

Jay County celebrates its season in final meet of the year
Jay County High School’s Morgan DeHoff leaps over a hurdle during the regional meet at Pike on Tuesday. DeHoff climbed to 14th place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.55 seconds. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)
Jay County High School’s Morgan DeHoff leaps over a hurdle during the regional meet at Pike on Tuesday. DeHoff climbed to 14th place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.55 seconds. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)

INDIANAPOLIS — With their highest seed at No. 12, the Patriots knew their season was most likely coming to a close Tuesday.

The meet was more about celebrating the season.

Jay County High School’s girls track team closed its 2024 campaign Tuesday in the regional meet at Pike, with its 4x100-meter relay team posting the top finish of 11th.

“I’m proud of all the girls who made it,” said JCHS coach Joe Imel. “We emphasized, we’re here because you deserved it, you earned it. We’re here to have fun, make memories.”

Without a top-eight finish, the Patriots did not score in the meet.

North Central won the regional title with 74 points ahead of fellow Indianapolis schools Bishop Chartard (59) and Lawrence North (57).

The 4x100 relay team of Morgan DeHoff, Ariel Beiswanger, Matilda Mende and Jenna Dues was able to improve on its seed and its sectional time. DeHoff ran the final leg and crossed the finish line in 51.45 seconds — 0.06 seconds faster than when the team won the sectional championship in the event a week earlier at Delta.

Jay County’s quartet was 0.17 seconds ahead of 12th-place Herron and 0.15 seconds behind 10th-place Muncie Central. Bishop Chatard earned the final state-qualifying berth in 48.34. (The top three finishers in each event automatically advance to the state finals, which will be contested May 31 at Indiana University.)

“You can’t be unhappy with a 4x1 that sets your school record,” said Imel of the group that broke the 24-year-old mark as it ran a 50.87 seconds to win the Allen County Athletic Conference title in early May. “They ran another really respectable time today. I’m just really proud of the girls.”

DeHoff, a junior, was also able to improve on her seed individually. Projected to finish last amongst the 16 runners in the 100 hurdles, she climbed to 14th place in 18.55 seconds.

Jay County placed 16th in each of its other events:

•Jordyn Hutzler at 31 feet, 5 inches, in the shot put

•The 4x400 relay team of Makinsey Murphy, Cash Hollowell, Aixa Lopez and Mya Kunkler at 4:27.25

•Dues in the 200 dash in 29.12

Hollowell was disqualified for stepping out of her lane in the 300 hurdles.

Imel utilized Hutzler, who narrowly missed a sectional title last week, to illustrate his hopes for her and all of the regional qualifiers who will be returning to the team next year.

“Her goal was to make it to regional. She did,” he said. “So now she’s motivated to work a little bit in the offseason to try to improve what she’s been building on.

“I think that’s the experience that a lot of the kids have when they get to this event — they can see the light at the end of the tunnel but they’re just not there yet, so what can they do to make themselves better.”

Hollowell and Murphy will graduate and Mende is an exchange student from Germany, but DeHoff, Dues, Lopez, Kunkler, Beiswanger and Hutzler will all be back for 2025.

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