Gold and Silver / Smith wins shot put, Kilbarger-Stumpff takes second in 1,600 at state track meet – The Republic

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tucker Smith and his fellow throwers knew going into Friday’s shot put competition at the Boys Track and Field State Finals that there wouldn’t be much drama as to who was going to win.

The real question was whether Smith could break the 70-foot barrier.

While Smith fell a little short of 70 feet and of his own all-time state record of 69-8 1/2, the Columbus North junior did break the state meet record in winning his first state title.

Smith threw in the 67s on each of his first five throws before fouling on his sixth and final attempt. His best throw of 67-11 1/4 on his second attempt was almost seven feet farther than runner-up Bram Arnett of Morgan Township.

“Major mediocrity is pain,” Smith said. “It’s kind of a different kind of failure than what I’m used to. But it wasn’t the worst meet. Since I got the all-time state record earlier in the year, it’s not the worst thing in the world.”

Prior to the shot, Smith had missed by two spots of making the finals in the discus, finishing 12th with a throw of 155-1.

Meanwhile, it was a painful day for fellow North junior Reese Kilbarger-Stumpff. Kilbarger-Stumpff, who has been battling an illness all week, still ran a personal-best 4 minutes, 7.78 seconds in the 1,600 meters, but finished second, less than a half-second behind Corydon Central’s Camden Marshall.

“He ran phenomenal, especially not feeling at his best physically,” North coach Rick Sluder said. “He set the tone for the race and made it fast and then hung on when they made their moves and ran really well. He made the race strong the first half and then really battled through it. He has that great kick and came up just short.”

Kilbarger-Stumpff was having trouble breathing after the race and had to scratch out of the 800, where he was the No. 4 seed and a state title contender.

“He wasn’t feeling well after the 1,600 at all physically,” Sluder said. “He’s had a bit of a cold and sinus. He gave his best in that 1,600 and came up just short and obviously put out a tremendous effort. It was just too much for him to come back.”

North senior Austin Pulkowski finished 22nd in the 3,200 in 9:59.39.

“It wasn’t my best job,” Pulkowski said. “But it was state, and with these conditions, that is actually good. This is my senior year, and I’ve never competed in a state track championship. So just getting here was amazing.”

“Austin ran well,” Sluder added. “(The leaders) took it out really fast and then stretched it out really early. He ran well. He just was kind of stuck by himself and maybe one other kid for a lot of the race, and it’s kind of hard to run your best sometimes when you get stuck inbetween.”

Also for the Bull Dogs, sophomores Will Russell and Kellen Hottell, senior Andy Stohr and sophomore Clayton Guthrie finished 19th in the 4×800 relay in 8:15.64.

The Bull Dogs tied for seventh place overall as a team.

“Those younger kids got their feet wet and ran really strong,” Sluder said. “We were talking afterward how many kids, this is their first state meet, so there’s a lot of kids that feel like freshmen because of missing last year. (Distance) coach (Danny) Fisher were talking, they got here, they got the experience and all but Andy will be back. So we feel like we’re really set up for next year to come back and compete well.”

Columbus East competed in a pair of relays. Seniors Malachi Parks, Crase Bergman and Sean Ryan and sophomore Ethan Duncan finished 18th in the 4×100 relay in 43.41 and 22nd in the 4×400 relay in 3:29.01.

Both times were slower than their regional performances last week.

“For us, it’s kind of disappointing,” Parks said. “It’s our worst time here in the tournament run. But you have to give credit to everybody else who came out here and competed very well.”

Jennings County senior Zane Ortlieb finished 19th in the discus with a throw of 143-8. Brown County senior Ricky Stanley tied for 21st in the pole vault at 12-6.