By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
FORTVILLE, Ind. —
When Liberty Christian’s Austin Castor lined up for the 300-meter hurdles, he did so with one goal in mind — advance to the regional.
His goal was like the other 248 student-athletes at the Mt. Vernon Sectional track meet, but Castor’s chance to run during his senior season was nearly shattered. When the Lions faced Elwood during basketball season, Castor sustained a fractured left femur.
Castor achieved his goal with a second-place finish Thursday and became the first Liberty Christian male athlete to advance to the regional round. This is the second time he was part of a first for the Lions. He also was on the 2011-12 and 2012-13 boys basketball sectional championship teams.
“It is unbelievable. It is an honor,” Castor, who has been running track for three years said. “My goal when I started track was to make it out of sectionals. Honestly, without the people backing me up, I could not have done it.”
Initially, Castor’s physician said he would not be able to run until the summer, which would have not have allowed him to reach for this goal.
“He has been working for this for three years,” Liberty Christian coach Paul Jessup said. “This is probably the proudest moment I have ever had. To see him come back from such a traumatic injury ... is huge.”
Freshman Franklin Nunn later joined Castor in qualifying for the regional. Castor finished one spot ahead of Anderson’s Jaylen Pierce, who earned six points towards the team total. He went on to collect a team-high 34 points for the Indians, tying fellow senior Jalin Beard.
The combination of Beard and Pierce paced the Indians to a point total of 140.50, enough for Anderson to capture the section crown that eluded it last season. Mt. Vernon was 22.5 points back in second place.
“It is back where it belongs,” Anderson coach Cary House said. “I am thrilled, I could not have asked for more from them. There was not a better team out there tonight.”
House not only credited the team members, but he said if it were not for his supporting staff, none of this would have been possible.
“I have to thank my assistant coaches,” he said. “It really is coaching by committee. Johnny Johnson, Bill Coggins, Chuck Peters and Dan Malloy help me. I could not do it without them.”
What his team of coaches put together was a dominating performance by the Indians. Anderson earned points in each of the 16 scored events and will be represented at the regional meet in 14 of them.
“We know if we could get seconds and thirds would could win,” Beard said. “We knew if we worked really hard in practice, we would pull it out.”
Beard had three second-place finishes (100, 200 and long jump) to go along with his first-place finish as part of the 4x100 relay team.
Other winners for the Indians were the 4x100 relay team (Dorian Wilson, Marc Anderws, Beard, Pierce), 4x400 relay team (Semaj White, Matt Harter, Armon Daniels, Pierce), Cody Dugger in the discus and Khalil Williams in the high jump.
The lone remaining area athlete to capture a section crown was Daleville’s Dalen Beck, earning first place in the long jump.
The top four places in each event advance to the regional round at Ben Davis High School next Thursday at 6 p.m. They will face athletes from the North Central, Muncie Central and Ben Davis sectionals.