Tribune Staff Writer
Following Thursday’s Hoosier Hills Conference boys track and field meet, Seymour senior Daniel Hauersperger was all smiles.
It was the final HHC meet of his high school career, and he had yet to win an individual title, but it all changed that night.
He captured blue ribbons in the 1,600-meter run (4:32.46) and 3,200-meter run (9:48.26), helping the Owls place seventh in the eight-team meet with 49½ points.
“It feels really good. Last chance. I had to do it now,” Hauersperger said.
“I was second in the mile as a sophomore and third in the 2-mile,” he said. “Then last year, I was injured in the winter, and I ran poorly at conference (in the spring), so these are my first two titles.”
In the 1,600, Jennings County’s Kyle Lewis led for the first three laps with Hauersperger on his heels. On the backstretch of the final lap, Hauersperger tried to make a move, but Lewis matched it.
Then with 200 meters to go, Hauersperger accelerated and ran to the title.
“Sophomore year, I wasn’t very strong at it,” he said of the final 200 meters. “And then junior year, I wasn’t very good at the first few laps. So I had to get really good at the last lap. Now that I’m in shape, I’m better at it.”
It wasn’t Hauersperger’s career-best time, but he said it was his fastest last lap.
“The first two laps were relatively slow,” he said.
Hauersperger was happy to have a little more breathing room late in the 3,200.
“It’s my second-best (time) of all-time, but it’s my best time that I’ve ever run when I’ve run all three events,” he said, as he was the anchor on the opening 3,200-meter relay, which placed fourth.
Now, the senior is focused on the postseason.
“Our 4-by-8 can possibly win sectional, and I’m going to try to hopefully win the mile and 2-mile there,” he said. “And then our regional is really tough. We have three out of the top-five guys in the state in it, so I’m going to hopefully PR that day.”
Owls coach Randy Fife said it was a great night for Hauersperger.
“He anchored the 4-by-8 to a season-best, ran his season-best split 2:04, 2:05; came back with 4:32 in really a hard-fought mile; and then competed really well in the 3,200, broke away with 800 meters to go and really just dominated the last part of the race,” Fife said.
“Any time you can be a conference champion, that’s pretty special,” he said. “But yet to be a double winner, it doesn’t happen a lot, no matter what two events you’re talking about.”
Fife also was happy with the performance of junior Austin Hatfield.
He posted a pair of season-best showings, placing third in the long jump (20-9) and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (16.45). He also was the lead runner in the 400-meter relay that placed fifth (45.60).
“We actually started high-hurdling him after the Seymour Invite,” Fife said. “That’s an event we’ve only had one person in, and I was hoping to develop a little bit of depth there, and Austin has really worked hard. When you can get third in the conference in long jump and fourth in the high hurdles, that’s a nice combination.”
The Owls’ only other top-five finish was by Seth Ragon, who tied for fourth in the high jump (5-10).
Host Floyd Central ran away with the team title with 180 points. Jeffersonville was a distant second with 96 points.
Seymour was only eight points behind fifth-place Jennings County and one-and-a-half points behind Madison.
“This year, Floyd Central is just really dominant. They’ve got a very good team, a team that’s going to do well in the tournament, and the rest of the teams are just real solid, and there’s a lot of balance there,” Fife said.
“Obviously, seventh is disappointing, but there were some bright spots,” he said. “You feel good for the individuals that performed well, but team-wise, we could have done better. We underperformed in several places, and had we performed well in all of them, we wouldn’t have been seventh. That’s the way it works this year, so we’ll focus on sectional and see if we can get a better performance from everybody.”