TERRE HAUTE —
Taylor Carter. Colin Carver. Connor Curley.
There are a lot of Cs in those initials (Carter was not asked to change her first name for the benefit of this story, by the way), but that doesn’t mean they turned in average work during the high school spring sports season.
So far above average were these three athletes, in fact, that they are the Tribune-Star’s Wabash Valley Athletes of the Year for the spring — Carter because she might have been the Valley’s best softball hitter or its best softball pitcher, or both, for Northview; Curley because his quest for an undefeated season in pole vault for Terre Haute North came just one place short at the Indiana boys track and field finals; and Carver because he was unbeaten in his two main events for Casey, winning both Illinois Class A hurdles championships.
Carver was not only the only state champion among these three athletes, he might be the most unlikely state champion around, he revealed last week while sitting out a practice for the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association with a chronic groin injury.
“I’m not flexible at all. I can’t even touch my toes,” he said with a grin, appreciating the irony of someone with chronic groin pain being asked — and being able — to run fast while jumping over things.
The Warrior senior did that pretty consistently all four years at Casey, where he also played four years of football and three seasons of basketball.
Except for a false start in the sectional of his freshman season, “I’ve been to the state finals since seventh grade,” Carver said.
As a sophomore he placed ninth in the 110-meter high hurdles, then added the 300-meter intermediate hurdles as a junior — when he was second in the state in that event and fourth in the highs.
Going into his senior year, his goals were pretty obvious.
“The guy who came in first [in the high hurdles in 2011] moved up to [Class] 2A, and the other two guys ahead of me graduated,” Carver pointed out. “The guy who was first in the [intermediate hurdles] graduated.”
Had he not been undefeated, then, Carver would have been disappointed in himself. He wasn’t thrilled even by winning two state championships, helping the Warriors finish in a fifth-place tie as a team.
“At the finals I didn’t run good at all,” Carver insisted, posting winning times of 14.65 seconds in the highs and 38.71 seconds in the intermediates. He’ll be taking his speed and his balky groin to Eastern Illinois.
Curley, who had a strong fourth-place finish last weekend at the Midwest Meet of Champions — vaulting 15-foot-6 and losing only to state champions from other states — also wasn’t completely satisfied with his state-finals showing of 15-3 (the winner went 16-1), but could appreciate the season as a whole.
“I didn’t get as high as I wanted to go [at the finals] … but it was a really successful season. I’m pretty proud of myself,” he said.
It was quite a journey in the event for the Patriot graduate, who improved from 10-6 as a freshman — “when I couldn’t even bend the pole,” Curley noted — to 12 feet indoors and 13 feet outdoors as a sophomore, then started a summer training regimen that enabled him to reach the state finals his last two years.
His personal best in competition so far is 15-7, his winning height at this year’s Evansville Regional — where he just missed a try at 16 feet.
He expects to better that mark sometime this summer as he prepares to enter Indiana State in the fall, and he’s had two other summer meets — winning in one at Fort Wayne, placing second in another at Rushville — to help him get there.
“I’ve been working my butt off,” Curley said. “I want to get 16-3 before I get to ISU.”
Unlike the two boys, Carter still has a senior season waiting for her at Northview, although she too knows where she’ll be playing in college. She’s made a verbal commitment to East Tennessee State.
The star of the Knights looks ready to fulfill any role on a college team. She had a 16-6 record during her junior season as a pitcher — including a complete-game win over eventual Class 4A champion Plainfield during the regular season — with 166 strikeouts in 141 innings.
At the plate, Carter batted .490 with 12 doubles, a triple and nine homers, driving in 42 runs and scoring 29. Her slugging percentage was .900, her on-base percentage .549, which means her OPS — the trendy new statistic in which a mark of 1.000 indicates a superstar — was 1.449. A superstar-and-a-half, if you will.
With her college choice out of the way — “I really liked it down there,” she said of the Johnson City campus of ETSU — Carter’s motivation involves getting to where Carver and Curley have been, the state finals.
“At the beginning [of the 2012 season] we were all different [from the 2011 team] … but as the season went along we learned to play together,” she recalled. “It all came together for us, we just couldn’t pull it out in the end [losing to Terre Haute South in the sectional semifinals].
Plainfield needed its march to the state championship to pass the 20-win mark, something the Knights, the Braves and Terre Haute North — Northview’s first-round sectional victim thanks to two Carter homers — also attained. The 2013 sectional could be just as tough — and possibly provide another state champion.
“I’m looking forward to everyone [on the Northview team] working over the summer,” Carter continued. “We need to focus on softball … and get our bats together.”
Honorees had stellar high school athletic seasons
TERRE HAUTE —
Taylor Carter. Colin Carver. Connor Curley.
- High School
Softball sectionals up for grabs
All three Vigo County high schools and Northview appear to have a realistic chance of winning sectional championships in softball this week.
West Vigo softball holds off nemesis Edgewood in softball sectional
Ice cream was enough of a reward Monday night after the West Vigo Vikings beat eight-time defending champion Edgewood 6-2 in extra innings in the opening game of the Class 3A softball sectional at Edgewood High School. But that’s not what Vikings want.
Terre Haute South, Northview vie for tennis regional title
Terre Haute South and Northview take respective records of 10-5 and 11-5 into the Greencastle Regional today.
Coach Bill Blankenbaker’s Braves will play Seeger at 4:30 p.m., while coach Emily Goff’s Knights will take on Crawfordsville about 6 p.m.
Terre Haute North offense unable to get going in loss to Mooresville
Jack Kirchner chose to give credit Monday night to Mooresville pitcher Taylor Chitwood, not to the Greg Maddux-size strike zone she seemed to enjoy.
But if there were no excuses forthcoming from Kirchner and his Terre Haute North High School softball team, it wouldn’t have been hard to find a spectator or two to come up with extenuating circumstances about the Patriots’ 4-1 loss at the Class 4A Martinsville Sectional.
Terre Haute North looking strong going into girls track regional
Terre Haute North might need an off night for anyone to catch them in the girls track regional at Evansville Central.
The Patriots are as well-rounded as they’ve ever been, and two relay teams are state contenders with times ranking No. 2 in Indiana among times recorded all spring.
Terre Haute South, Northview and Sullivan have athletes among the contenders in multiple events as well.
PREP ROUNDUP: Shakamak's Green hits two homers in win over West Vigo
Shakamak improved to 22-3 on the season behind a complete-game effort from Brett Yeryar, and Patrick Green hit two solo home runs in a high school baseball game Monday.
Vikings win in extra innings at Rockville
West Vigo scored six runs in its first two innings Saturday, then needed a ninth-inning single by Lucas Fagg to escape with a 7-6 extra-inning win in nonconference high school baseball at Rockville.
TH South beats Northview in Big Four makeup baseball game
Terre Haute South wrapped up a share of the MIC baseball title and finished up the Big Four Classic with an 8-1 victory over Northview in less than 24 hours on Saturday morning.
Olds pitches South to share of MIC baseball title
Friday night, winning the second game 5-0 and earning a share of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball title.
Damon Olds was dominant on the mound for the Braves, striking out 14 and walking just one while pitching a three-hit shutout.
South wins first half of doubleheader against Lawrence North
Host Terre Haute South kept its Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball title hopes alive — and clinched no worse than second place in the process — by downing Lawrence North 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Friday night.
The second game, which started after Senior Night festivities between games, ended past the Tribune-Star deadline.
PREP ROUNDUP: Calleja pitches West Vigo past South Vermillion
Brandon Calleja had 13 strikeouts to lead West Vigo to a 5-1 victory against South Vermillion in high school baseball Friday.
Brandon Behringer went 2 for 4 with two RBI for the Vikings, who secured second place in the Western Indiana Conference.
Kaden Lawson had double for South Vermillion (15-7), which finished 4-2 in the WIC.
Seibert returns from injury to win three events as Braves win sectional crown
His baseball equivalent might be Rick Sutcliffe of the 1984 Chicago Cubs.
When Tyler Seibert returned to the Terre Haute South track and field lineup Thursday for sectional action at Terre Haute North, it was like the midseason trade the Cubs made for Sutcliffe that earned them a playoff spot.
South switches up lineup to defeat North in tennis sectional
Terre Haute South coach Bill Blankenbaker said two weeks ago that he would change the Braves’ lineup after the 3-2 dual-meet loss to Terre Haute North.
The Patriots knew it was coming, but they couldn’t do anything to stop it.
PREP ROUNDUP: North slips past Northview in eight-inning baseball game
Colton Pittman drew a bases-loaded walk to score Zach Milam with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as host Terre Haute North edged Northview 8-7 in high school baseball Thursday at Jennings Field.
PREP ROUNDUP: North and South to face off for tennis sectional title
The winner of the Terre Haute sectional for girls high school tennis will come down to Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South.
Terre Haute North gets 10 event victories to claim 12th straight sectional crown
Terre Haute North won 10 events Tuesday night while winning the Indiana High School Athletic Association girls track and field section at South Putnam High School for the 12th straight year.
North, South to meet in first round of baseball sectional
The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced pairings for the baseball state tournament Tuesday and the draw offered up a Vigo County battle in the opening game.
PREP ROUNDUP: West Vigo softball clinches share of WIC title
West Vigo clinched at least a share of the Western Indiana Conference softball title with a 6-4 victory over Edgewood on Tuesday.
Jacy McClain and Bailee Waters had RBI singles in the fourth inning to break the game open for the Vikings.
Track sectional titles on the line
Expect one heck of a high school dual track meet Thursday night when Wabash Valley boys visit Terre Haute North for sectional action.
Prep report: Patriots, Braves favored to advance from tennis sectional 1st round
Persons attending this week’s girls tennis sectional championship match at Terre Haute North might want to pack a lunch.
Local ADs happy to see spring come to a close
Brian Mancuso is the most experienced of the high school athletic directors in Vigo County — and that’s a very relative term — but even he wasn’t quite ready for the headaches that have accompanied spring sports the last few weeks thanks to rain, rain and more rain.
South baseball remains in first-place tie with Center Grove
Heading into Saturday’s Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference baseball doubleheader against Center Grove, coach Kyle Kraemer of Terre Haute South wasn’t completely optimistic.
Kehrt Award goes to Emily Bell, Lee Davis
Emily Bell of Terre Haute South and Lee Davis of Terre Haute North are the 2013 recipients of the Willard M. Kehrt Mental Attitude Award.
Bell and Davis were nominated by their schools and chosen in a vote by the Kehrt Award panel. Both will be recognized at awards assemblies later in the month at the schools.
Bell played varsity basketball four years at South and is competing in track this season, running the 800 and two relays. “I wanted something to do my senior year,” Bell said.
She plans to attend DePauw University and play basketball. DePauw is the reigning NCAA Division III champ in women's basketball.
Bell tore an AÇL playing in a basketball tournament the summer after her sophomore season. She missed most of her junior season but came back to play her senior year and was second leading scorer and leading rebounder her final season.
Bell also was leading rebounder her sophomore year.
South softball's power display earns Braves share of MIC
The fun that the Terre Haute South high school softball team had Saturday — including those five home runs — was all the result of the hard work the Braves had put in before the game, coach Dwayne Stout said after the game.
Pirtle takes medalist, leads Sullivan to WIC title
Sullivan took team and individual honors in the Western Indiana Conference boys high school golf championships played Saturday at Idle Creek.
Prep roundup: Patriots drop doubleheader to Carmel baseball
Host Terre Haute North saw its Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference baseball championship hopes suffer what was probably a fatal blow on Saturday as the Patriots lost a doubleheader to Carmel by scores of 8-7 and 11-8.
Timely hits: After slow start, Terre Haute North rallies to beat Mooresville
No-hit through three innings, Terre Haute North’s bats came alive — especially Sam Wolf’s — just in time to rally for a 4-2 home victory over Mooresville in high school baseball Friday evening at Jennings Field.
Linton’s Weber to coach at BNL
Bedford North Lawrence High School has announced that Steve Weber will be the Stars’ head coach for the 2013 season.
Freshman group adds to Big Four teams' baseball tradition
The Terre Haute North-Terre Haute South high school baseball series wasn’t an inning old last week before T.J. Collett of the Patriots lashed a run-scoring single.
That hit helped the Patriots take a 2-0 lead, but in the top of the second inning a three-run double by Justin Jenkins sparked the visiting Braves to a four-run inning.
North tied the score in the bottom of the second inning, Collett driving in another run. And just before rain caused the game to be suspended, South called Logan Ames in from its bullpen for some solid pitching.
Not bad for a trio of freshmen. And the weekend hadn’t even started yet.
Pairings drawn for high school softball sectionals
The IHSAA announced Thursday its pairings for the 2013 sectional softball tournament slated for May 20-25.
Regionals will take place May 28.
- More High School Headlines
- Softball sectionals up for grabs