Archive for May 27, 2014

KOKOMO WILDKATS LAY CLAIM TO NCC BOYS ALL-SPORTS TROPHY, LOSE OVERALL BY TWO POINTS

North Central Conference

UPDATED: June 3, 2014 – 12:01 a.m.

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Kokomo is still the team to beat in the North Central Conference when it comes to boys sports. For the fifth consecutive year, the NCC Boys All-Sports plaque goes to the Kokomo Wildkats. For the second straight year, the Kats out-pointed Richmond for the championship, 68.5 to 58. Huntington North was third with 56, followed by Marion (51.5), Muncie Central (44.5), Logansport (43) and Anderson (38.5).

“The boys really ran away with the boys all-sports this year,” said Kokomo Athletic Director Jason Snyder. “In the spring, we had a nice run with track and golf finishing in first. That is a nice accomplishment, winning 10 points.”

The Wildkats won four championships this year on the boys’ side: swimming, wrestling, golf and track. Second place finishes came from football and cross country, and the Kats got a pair of third places in basketball and baseball. Snyder noted that this year, the Kats won the trophy despite the “big three” sports – football, basketball and baseball – not winning a title.

“Our big three was in the top half of the conference, but we had other teams step up,” said Snyder. “Swimming has been very tough, and they won this year. And golf was a really big conference win after other schools have dominated it. This was just an overall team accomplishment. We just had a group that really took pride in our conference games.”

Huntington North was the overall NCC All-Sports champions for the second consecutive year, topping the Wildkat boys and girls by a mere two points, 118-116. The Vikings placed third in the boys’ race and second on the girls’ side. Marion was third (108), followed by Logansport (105.5), Richmond (102.5), Muncie Central (93) and Anderson (74).

“We were ahead for quite a while, which is really tough considering the position we are in,” said Snyder, explaining that Kokomo is one of two NCC schools that does not field a gymnastics team. “All of the schools at the top have gymnastics teams and field points in that event, and we do not. So I am proud of our group. We have a great senior class, and their efforts and leadership led to Kokomo having a great year.”

The Lady Wildkats finished fifth overall in the girls NCC competition, which was won by Logansport for the second consecutive year. Kokomo’s total of 47.5 points was one shy of fourth place Muncie Central. The Berries had 62.5 points to beat Huntington North by one-half a point. Marion was third (56.5), Richmond was sixth (44.5) and Anderson seventh (35.5). The Lady Kats had no team championships in 2013-2014, but showed vast improvement from its eighth place finish of 2011-2012.

The NCC will look different when the new school year kicks off this fall as Lafayette Jefferson, McCutcheon and Harrison – all from Tippecanoe County – will join the fold. Huntington North will depart at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, with Indianapolis Arsenal Tech taking its spot to maintain a 10-team league.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY WINS THRILLING INDIANAPOLIS 500, EDGES HELIO CASTRONEVES

Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

INDIANAPOLIS – For a record 149 laps, cars raced around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway unimpeded and in an orderly manner. But once the first yellow flag fell on lap 150, the 48th Running of the Indianapolis 500 became exciting – complete with a NASCAR-style red flag with nine laps left to give fans a classic finish.

One year removed from missing out on a shot at an Indy 500 win due to a late yellow flag, Ryan Hunter-Reay crossed the Yard of Bricks a mere 6/100th of a second ahead of a hard charging Helio Castroneves to earn his first drink of milk in the IMS victory circle. In the process, the Florida native became the first American to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing since Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2006 – a seven-year dry spell for Team USA.

“It’s a dream come true man. I can’t even believe it,” said Hunter-Reay. “This is just the most fantastic team for what they’ve given me. My dream has come true today and I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure.”

Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport, held off three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves by a hair-raising .0600 of a second – the second-closest margin of victory in the history of the event – in a five-lap shootout to claim victory. Marco Andretti finished .3171 of a second back for his third third-place finish in nine starts.

“We never really ran those lines at all the whole month and that was all new,” said Hunter-Reay on his battle with Castroneves. “Everything everybody was doing at the end was all new. I didn’t know if we had what it took but I’ve got the best team behind me. Nobody can stand on their own without a good team behind them.”

Hunter-Reay started 19th and roared to the front early in the race, claiming his first lead at lap 100. Altogether, there were 34 lead changes among 11 drivers. Following the red flag, the first at Indy for a crash in 50 years, Hunter-Reay led lap 195, Castroneves gained control on the next lap only to lose it back to Hunter-Reay on laps 197 and 198. Castroneves grabbed the reins again, only to lose it coming off the fourth turn as both drivers approached the white flag (.0235 second lead at the white flag for RHR). Castroneves made a late move coming down the final front stretch, but Hunter-Reay held him off by a little more than a car length.

“I did everything I could do,” said Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car. “It’s interesting when second place kind of sucks. But certainly taking the positive out of this, it was a great race. I think you guys had a good time. Second thing, congrats to Andretti Autosport. Ryan Hunter-Reay, great race. He did everything he could. I did everything I could obviously to try to stop him. Definitely unbelievable.”

Marco Andretti finished .3171 of a second back for his third third-place finish in nine starts. After the race, Andretti said he was almost taken out by the race winner.

“Yeah, I mean, close but we never really dominated. You could say that Ryan and Helio did. The only way we had a shot is if those two got together. They were putting so many blocks on me that there was nothing I could do. Every time we got to the front, we got shuffled back,” said Andretti. “I think we did what we could, but congrats to Ryan, he almost took me out in Turn 3 — I almost crashed. I think if it wasn’t for the Indy 500, I was going to be pretty mad at Ryan, but it is for the Indy 500 and he’s up there and I’m not. This is as competitive as IndyCar has ever been. I don’t care what anyone has to say.”

Carlos Munoz, who finished second last year as a rookie, finished fourth driving for Andretti.

“I think we were missing a little bit of speed,” said Munoz. “I tried to give everything down on the track. I pushed hard. I’m really happy for the team. They won the 500 – first, third, and fourth. It’s a great result for the team.”

2000 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya was fifth after his run through NASCAR, and current NASCAR superstar Kurt Busch placed sixth in his first Indy car race. Busch left the track by helicopter and raced in the Coca-Cola 600.

Race officials red-flagged the race on Lap 192 for seven minutes to fix the turn two SAFER Barrier and clean up from the single-car incident involving Townsend Bell’s No. 6 Robert Graham KV Racing Technology entry. Bell had been running fifth, less than two seconds behind the race winner.

Pole-sitter and Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter’s day ended when he was sandwiched between Bell and James Hinchcliffe in turn one on lap 176. He was running in the top four at the time.

“Hinch tried to make three wide in turn one with 25 laps to go. Not a smart move,” said Carpenter. “It wrecked both of our races. I told him if he didn’t have a concussion last week that I would have punched him in the face. It wasn’t a green-white-checkered situation. Of all of the guys out there, I wouldn’t have thought it would be Hinch. I am pretty good friends with him and those guys at Andretti. I think he just didn’t use his head right then.”

“Partially my fault; partially Townsend’s fault; 100 percent not Ed’s fault,” said Hinchcliffe. “I saw Townsend come down into Ed, who came down into me. I was the last guy there, so I have to take a portion of the blame for sure. I feel bad for Ed.”

The first caution flag flew on Lap 150 when the No. 83 car driven by Charlie Kimball made light contact with the SAFER Barrier in turn two. The record for longest stretch before a first yellow flag had previously been set at 65 laps in 2000. The four yellow flags tied the record for fewest (1990).

Graham Rahal was the first to retire from the race with an electrical issue in the No. 15 entry. Tony Kanaan, who won the race in 2013, developed an early suspension issue and finished 26th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series contributed to this story

 

WESTERN, NORTHWESTERN, HEIGHTS, CASS ANNOUNCE THEY ARE HEADED TO HOOSIER CONFERENCE

IHSAA

On May 23, the Hoosier Conference announced the addition of four Mid-Indiana Conference schools to the seven-school HC. Western and Northwestern from Howard County, Lewis Cass from Cass County and Hamilton Heights from Hamilton County will join the conference that was formed in 1947. With Eastern, Taylor, Peru and Maconaquah already announcing they are leaving the MIC, the conference will end following the 2014-2015 school year.

The following is a press release provided by the Hoosier Conference:

The Hoosier Conference is proud to announce that four area high schools have accepted an invitation to become the newest members of the Hoosier Conference. Effective July, 1, 2015, Northwestern High School, Cass High School, Western High School and Hamilton Heights High School will become members of the Hoosier Conference. 

The existing member schools of the Hoosier Conference, which include Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School, Delphi Community High School, Lafayette Central Catholic High School, Rensselaer High School, Tipton High School, Twin Lakes High School, and West Lafayette High School , are excited about this expansion and look forward to growing the Hoosier Conference. 

This expansion will help the Hoosier Conference on its path to become one of the premier conferences in the state of Indiana.

For more on this developing story, see the May 27 issue of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana.