THE CONTENDERS

Hawks have legitimate state title aspirations in multiple events

Competing for the South Hamilton boys’ track and field team at the state meet this week will be (left to right) Freddie Lewis, Quinton Grove, Zakee Newman, Cole Berg, Logan Peters, Sam Lewis, Conner Hill, Brandyn Feighner, Cade Flaugh and Brock Galetich. The Hawks qualified in seven events. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEWELL — Logan Peters quietly chuckled as Quinton Grove shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other as they stood just inches from one another on the South Hamilton High School track Monday afternoon.

Grove, a junior, didn’t want to answer the question, even as Peters prodded him to be honest.

The question posed to Grove: How would you feel if you won a Class 2A state title in the 1,600-meter run this week?

“That’s tough … I don’t know,” Grove said. “It would be a positive and negative both, all at once. I just don’t know.”

If his answer sounds odd, you need to understand the context. If Grove wins the mile, that would mean the 2018 state champion in the event would end his prep career with a loss.

Logan Peters already owns one state track title. Will he had more to his resume this week? DFJ photo/Troy Banning

That 2018 state champion: His senior teammate, Peters.

And there’s the rub.

“We both have our goals in that race, let’s just leave it at that,” Grove said as Peters continued to smile.

State title aspirations are a common theme for South Hamilton as it prepares to send 10 athletes into seven events at Drake Stadium beginning Thursday morning.

The Hawks own the fastest Class 2A qualifying times in the 4×800-meter and distance medley relays. Peters will be a contender in both the 800 and mile. Conner Hill could battle Peters up front in the 800, and Grove beat the defending state champion in the 1,600 at the state qualifier.

Add it all up and one thing is clear — it could be a memorable three days for South Hamilton.

“It’s going to be pretty fun,” Peters said. “This is my last state meet and we’re looking for big things this weekend.”

Peters and Grove will open and close the 4×800, while Hill and Cole Berg will run the middle two legs Thursday afternoon. South Hamilton has been the state-title favorite in the event throughout the season, although Madrid and Underwood put up times late in the regular season that could make it interesting.

Still, there’s only one outcome that will satisfy the Hawks.

“There’s only one goal,” Grove said.

Hill and Peters will be joined by sprinters Brock Galetich and Sam Lewis on the medley. The group ran together sparingly during the regular season, but came together for the state qualifier and cut nearly six seconds off its best time. And, all of a sudden, it’s a title contender.

“We’d only run with that quartet twice before, but going in (to the state qualifier) we knew we were going to have a good time,” Peters said. “To get first and be No. 1 going into state is pretty cool, but it also puts a target on our backs. We’ll be ready for that.”

Zakee Newman will give South Hamilton a medal contender in the 3,200; he enters seeded 12th. Brandyn Feighner is seeded near the back of the 24-man long jump field, but his best leap of the season ranks 11th in the class. Cade Flaugh will also throw the discus for the Hawks.

Saturday will be all about individual success for Peters and Hill in the 800, and then Peters and Grove in the mile later in the day. Peters hasn’t necessarily had the regular season success in the mile that he had a season ago, but that doesn’t concern him entering the final days of his career in a Hawk uniform.

He’ll be fresh. And when the gun goes off, all bets are off.

“I don’t feel any pressure going into it because I know I haven’t run my best race,” Peters said. “I really haven’t run it fresh this year, but the adrenaline will be big (on Saturday).”

State Track and Field Meet

South Hamilton Boys

Thursday

9 a.m. — 2A Boys Long Jump (Brandyn Feighner — Flight 1, No. 5).

10:10 a.m. — 2A Boys 3,200 Meters (Zakee Newman).

12:10 — 2A Boys 4×800 Relay (Logan Peters, Conner Hill, Cole Berg, Quinton Grove — Section 2).

Friday

11:30 a.m. — 2A Boys Discus (Cade Flaugh — Flight 1, No. 1).

12:00 — 2A Boys Distance Medley Relay (Brock Galetich, Sam Lewis, Conner Hill, Logan Peters — Section 3, Lane 4).

Saturday

11:10 a.m. — 2A Boys 800 Meters (Logan Peters, Conner Hill — Section 2).

2:15 — 2A Boys 1,600 Meters (Quinton Grove, Logan Peters).

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