TERRE HAUTE —
They’ve evolved from the happy-to-be-here stage, even though they are happy to be here.
But diver Alex Davis and five swimmers from Terre Haute South were planning all season to represent the Braves at the boys state high school swimming championships that start this evening. They’ll enjoy themselves without celebrating — at least until the meet is over — and aren’t likely to be overwhelmed by the moment.
So don’t be surprised if they swim their best times of the year and exceed their seedings, in other words.
“We let them sleep in this week [as part of the tapering process to make the swimmers fresh for the competition], and we’re going to unleash the hounds [tonight] and see what they can do,” coach Jeff Thompson of the Braves said earlier this week.
Preliminary swims begin at 6 p.m., with the top 16 swimmers or relay teams advancing to Saturday afternoon’s competition (the top eight swimming in the finals, the next eight in consolation finals). Diving competition starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, when five rounds of dives will cut the field from 32 to 20 and three more rounds will trim four more divers; the final 16 join the 1 p.m. championship meet.
“I think every single one of [the Braves] has a legitimate shot at swimming again on Saturday,” Thompson predicted. “What happens [tonight] comes down to what’s between their ears.”
Swimming in the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, will be Chandler Bray, Josh Ford, Collin McCord and Dalton Mitchell. Christian Wilhelm will be in the 200 freestyle, Bray in the 200 individual medley, Wilhelm in the 500 freestyle, Mitchell in the 100 backstroke, Bray in the 100 breaststroke and Mitchell, Wilhelm, McCord and Bray in the 400 freestyle.
Bray is seeded seventh in IM and 14th in breaststroke, Wilhelm 12th in the 200 and 19th in the 500, Mitchell 27th in backstroke and the relay teams 17th and 11th. Davis had just the 20th-best regional diving score, but like the swimmers is considered a good bet to do better starting Saturday morning.
“I just want to drop time in the backstroke; I had kind of a disappointing swim at the sectional, so I hope I can improve it,” said Mitchell, a sophomore but already a finals veteran in all his events. “I’ve learned not to let the pressure affect you, just to focus on yourself.”
“I’m pretty confident,” said Wilhelm, a junior. “I’m excited to swim. This is my second trip [to the state finals] and I want to drop at least four seconds in the 500 and two in the 200. I feel I can do it.”
“This is my second time, and I’m the only senior going [as a swimmer] so I’m going to try to swim as fast as I can,” said McCord. “This will be one of my last races … I’ll be excited to swim fast.”
“I was an alternate to state last year,” said Ford, a junior. He learned then that “state’s really fun. We’re all there, we get to watch fast swimming and we get to stay in the hotel together.”
Bray is the only Brave who will be at the state finals for the first time as a team member, but he’s hardly a rookie. His older brother Addison is South’s best swimmer ever — although Chandler’s times indicate “so far” wouldn’t be an inappropriate addition to that designation — and his sister has also been a state finalist.
“Time drops are the big thing; I’d like to make top eight in both my individual [events],” Chandler Bray said this week. “I watched Addison and Mercedez both compete at the state, so I know what to look for. I know what I should do and shouldn’t do … and I know Jeff [Thompson] will prepare us; we just have to do what he says.”
Davis is the other member of the team competing this weekend, and although he’s a senior who was at the finals a year ago, he might be the most inexperienced of all the Braves. He didn’t become a diver until his sophomore year, but he’s come a long way since.
“The competition will be pretty stiff,” said Davis, who has signed with Indiana University and who accelerated his progress by going to camps and training with college divers in addition to his work with coach Shane Weber at South. “I’ll have to hit every one of my dives. It means dealing with high-pressure situations.”
Those facts are actually why both Weber and Thompson about Davis’s chances this weekend.
“He has super-hard dives; if he puts them in, he’ll get huge points,” Weber said, “and he’s awesome under pressure.”
“I have some high-difficulty dives,” Davis admitted. “I have two that are 3.0 [”the highest degree of difficulty is 3.1,” Weber noted], and a lot of kids don’t do those in high school.”
TERRE HAUTE —
They’ve evolved from the happy-to-be-here stage, even though they are happy to be here.
- High School
Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview
When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.
Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan
Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.
Terre Haute North baseball cruises past Warren Central
Terre Haute North swept a high school baseball doubleheader against Warren Central on Friday night by scores of 14-1 and 10-4.
PREP ROUNDUP: Sollars, Morrison lead West Vigo softball to win
Kaitlyn Sollars had a double, triple and four runs batted in and winning pitcher Leah Morrison contributed a pair of triples and a double to lead visiting West Vigo over Riverton Parke 14-1 in high school softball.
West Vigo baseball wins in rout
When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.
Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond
The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.
Prep baseball: Northview beats top-ranked Shakamak
Damon Bass pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out seven to lead Northview to a 7-0 high school baseball victory over Shakamak.
The visiting Knights blew open a tight game against Class A’s top-ranked team with a four-run seventh inning.
Austin Butts and Jake Harden combined for six hits for Northview.
PREP ROUNDUP: North girls tennis wins 5-0 at Plainfield
Terre Haute North’s girls tennis team swept its opening match of the high school season as it defeated Plainfield 5-0 on Wednesday.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall
My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.
Roncalli fights past North Central in extra innings on way to Braves Bash title
Roncalli became a three-time Gold Bracket champion of the sixth annual Braves Bash high school softball tournament at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex Saturday night by defeating Evansville Mater Dei 7-1 in the title game.
The 12-team round-robin tournament, which started Friday evening with three pools, and concluded with bracket championships Saturday night.
Sullivan enjoys record golf day at Northview Invitational
Sullivan and No. 1 player Nathan Pirtle were top finishers in the Northview Invitational for high school boys golf teams played Saturday at Forest Park.
TH North loses to McCutcheon, beats Harrison (West Lafayette)
Terre Haute North bounced back from a big loss to host McCutcheon to defeat Harrison (West Lafayette) in a pair of high school baseball games Saturday.
The Mavericks defeated the Patriots 17-7 early Saturday, but North beat the Raiders 9-4 later in the day.
West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic
West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.
TH South sweeps MIC baseball doubleheader
Justin Jenkins and Timmy Herrin led visiting Terre Haute South to a sweep of a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader Saturday at Indianapolis North Central.
Opening their final MIC season, the Braves won the opener 9-6 and the nightcap 8-6.
Braves Softball Bash a 'premier' early-season tournament
The Braves Softball Bash has grown to 12 schools in 2014, with high school teams looking to gauge their early-season progress against quality competition.
The host Braves have put together a solid 3-1 start that includes a doubleheader sweep of Casey, Ill., a newcomer to the field along with West Vigo.
Golf season gets going Saturday with Northview Invitational
Most high school boys golf teams in the area will get the season started Saturday in the Northview Invitational at Forest Park.
New players will be in the lineups for many of the teams. Sullivan and Greencastle are the leaders in returning players.
PREP ROUNDUP: Allen homers in North softball win
Jazmine Allen had her first home run of the season and she and Conner Nelson combined for five hits and four RBIs as Terre Haute North defeated Sullivan 8-1 on Thursday in nonconference high school softball.
PREP ROUNDUP: South offense leads Braves to dominant win over Lincoln
Justin Jenkins had three hits and Jacob Johnson and Zach Donnelly drove in four runs apiece as Terre Haute South rolled to a 15-2 high school baseball victory Wednesday at Vincennes Lincoln.
Terre Haute North tops Sullivan, falls to Class A No. 1 Shakamak
Class A No. 1-ranked Shakamak got a big pitching performance and big hits from Braxton and Brett Yeryar Tuesday night while beating Terre Haute North 5-2 at Don Jennings Field.
Prep roundup: West Vigo softball wins in 4 1/2 innings
Charity Lane, Shelby Edington, Baylee Waters and Leah Morrison each had two hits and Lane knocked in three runs to lead West Vigo past visiting Turkey Run 13-2 in a run-rule high school softball game that went 4 1/2 innings Tuesday.
Terre Haute South cruises to Braves Bash title
Terre Haute South knew it had a deep pitching staff going into the 11th annual Braves Bash baseball tournament and that proved to be true. But the Braves’ offense surprised everyone but the players Saturday as South won two 10-run-rule games en route to the championship.
South defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 Saturday morning and capped the championship with a 14-4, come-from-behind victory over Munster in the finale.
PREP ROUNDUP: Collett homers as North splits doubleheader
Sophomore T.J. Collett hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader as Terre Haute North opened its high school baseball season with a 9-3 victory over host Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday.
The Patriots lost the nightcap 6-0 after three first-inning errors led to three unearned runs.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
PREP TRACK PREVIEW: Raetz, Holman among new coaches
Two new coaches are in charge among the eight Vigo County and Northview high school track teams in 2014, although one of them isn’t really that new.
Mark Raetz has taken over the Northview boys for Chad Smith, who is battling an illness. Raetz formerly headed the Terre Haute South boys program for two seasons.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Season preview: Vigo County, Northview baseball teams ready to roll
To no one’s surprise, Wabash Valley baseball fans don’t have to leave Vigo County — although they certainly could, as described later in this article — to find talented baseball players on the high school diamond this spring.
Terre Haute North has a quartet of .300 hitters returning — Zach Milam, Jonathan Eilbracht, Nathan Will and Lane Dransfield — in addition to super sophomore T.J. Collett, who led the Patriots with a team-best 50 runs batted in for the 24-7 Patriots last season. Collett hit .424 with six doubles, two triples and nine home runs as a freshman.
PREP ROUNDUP: Marlow's 10 RBI leads Braves' softball at Casey
Terre Haute South’s Kelsey Marlow had 10 runs-batted-in during a doubleheader sweep at Casey.
Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC
Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.
Girls state finals leaving Terre Haute
The IHSAA and city of Terre Haute are still on excellent terms, insists Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Dave Patterson. But that didn’t keep the girls basketball state finals from returning to Indianapolis in 2015 after a three-year stint with Terre Haute’s Hulman Center serving as the host venue.
TH South comes out swinging in softball opener
The combination of experience and talent has created great expectations, from both the fans and players, for the Terre Haute South High School softball team. The Braves displayed both Friday afternoon in an impressive 11-4 season-opening victory over host Southmont.
- More High School Headlines
- Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview