A trio from Brownstown Central and a high jumper from Seymour will compete at the state’s highest level starting at 3 p.m. today during the state track and field meet at Indiana University.

It will be the first time at the state meet for three of the four Jackson County athletes making the trip.

Ragon returns to state

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All season long, Seymour junior Seth Ragon has performed at his best in high pressure situations.Ragon has a Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional titles as well as a runner-up finish at the Bloomington North regional to his name in 2016 for the high jump.

Last week at the regional, Ragon cleared a personal-best of 6-foot-5.

That height meets the state cut of 6-4, and seeds him ninth of 30 athletes today at IU.

Last season, Ragon advanced thanks to some scratches after jumping 6-3.

“I feel more confident this time around,” Ragon said. “I have the experience from going to state.

“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere again. It should be a lot different then the competition I’ve seen this season. I’m hoping to jump 6-5 or higher and set a new personal best. Hopefully that will be enough to place.”

The performance list has four athletes who hit 6-5, five at 6-6 and three at 6-7 or higher.

Evansville Bosse senior Kevin Porter claimed the top seed at 6-10½.

Owls coach Randy Fife said that Ragon has a good chance at scoring.

“It’s a really good number, it’s right on the edge of scoring,” he said. “He got 6-3 last year, and if he didn’t get to the state this year — it still wouldn’t have been a disappointing season.

“To make it to state any given year is extremely difficult. He has met pressure this year. When he needed to perform he answered the bell at conference, sectional and regional. I’m awful proud of him.”

With the weather forecast predicting rain all day, the elements could affect the final outcomes.

“I think that it will effect the competitors,” Fife said. “We’ve jumped in the rain and competed in those conditions in practice. It shouldn’t bother him. He’s a strong kid mentally.”

Barnes eyes top-5 finish, school records

Barnes, a junior, has high expectations for himself in his first state bid for the shot put and discus.The Bloomington North regional shot put champion comes into state with the sixth best throw (55-07½) in the 27-thrower field.

At regional, Barnes scratched on a throw of near 57-0 — a toss which would have put him as the third best for the shot put on the performance list.

“I can’t wait to see some of the throwers I’ve heard about all year at the bigger meets,” Barnes said. “I’m looking forward to throwing in a great ring with the best in the state.”

Braves coach Sam Terrell couldn’t remember the last time an athlete had as high a seed as Barnes.

“It has been a while,” Terrell said. “We’ve had a lot of great athletes here. He has a great shot of being up there. He just needs to focus and go throw without complicating things.”

Ben Davis senior Jalil Brewer has the highest mark heading into state at 61-08.

For the discus, Barnes sits at No. 12 of 28.

He threw 161-01 at regional, and hopes to break that record at IU.

Nick Ray, a junior from Hobart, is the discus thrower to beat at 179-05.

After sitting out a year after transferring from Medora, Barnes aims to prove himself with the best.

“It’s going to be serious,” Barnes said. “Nobody will be jabbering around. Everyone is there to do the same thing — compete. I’m there to throw, and that’s what I’m excited about.”

McCullough soaking it in senior year

While McCullough may be the final seed in the 800, it hasn’t discouraged him.McCullough ran the 800 for just the second time this season at the regional, and escaped with at third place finish in 2:00.22.

“They’re going to push me and I will run a faster race,” McCullough said. “Everyone is faster than I am on the list. I don’t have anything to lose. I’m going to go out there and run as fast as I can.”

For the senior, it’s all about how he comes off the start.

“It’s all about the start, If I get out well and not boxed in I should run a good race,” McCullough said. “It’s going to be a cool atmosphere. It’s an honor to represent Brownstown. There’s not a lot of people who typically get to go from here.”

West Lafayette’s Cooper Williams has the fastest time in the event at 1:51.61.

Terell said that each of his athletes need to not overthink the approach to their events.

“I think that each one of our kids has done everything they possibly can to get where they are now,” he said. “They just need to go up and not think about anything and do what they’ve done all season — PR. We need to not really be overwhelmed by the fact it’s the state tournament.”

Bollinger shoots for PR

Already holding the school record for the pole vault at 14-1, Bollinger hopes to set the standard higher at state.Bollinger comes in at No. 14 of 37 with his vault of 13-09 at regional.

Four vaulters are at 14 feet and five have cleared 15 or more.

“I’m looking forward to jumping with the best in the state,” Bollinger said. “ I just want to have fun. It’s going to be a great experience. I just want to do my best.

“I wasn’t surprised by the performance list. I’ve been watching the jumps all year.

Bollinger said that he went to a camp at IU last year and is familiar with the track.

“I’m hoping to go at least 14 feet,” he said. “I think it will just be my confidence. I just need to jump without overthinking it.

For Terrell, sending three athletes to state speaks volumes of the quality of the talent in the area.

“Any time you can send kids to the state competition, it’s an awesome thing” Terrell said. “For us to send three kids with the size of our school, it says a lot about our athletes.”

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.