By DYLAN MALONE
I was always taught in writing opinion pieces that if it’s been said before, don’t bother writing it again, but Bellmont’s track team is getting a little ridiculous.
Forgive me for going on about the Squaws in particular for they just seem destined for greatness in the state tournament fast approaching.
Why do I feel there is room for improvement on last year’s banner year for Bellmont track? They were in the top five in the state last year and did not even win their NHC meet.
This go around, the Squaws brought home the hardware from New Haven despite the elements and what coach Carl will call some clever line-up shifts.
Modesty only takes you so far, coach.
The Bellmont Squaws did what they did because of raw talent. Not lucky line-up changes last minute. Sure the points may have ended up slightly different but in the end we’re only having this conversation because more than a handful of girls showed up.
It was a complete team effort and that’s what it’ll take to crack the top five once again at the state level.
People that are unfamiliar with the sport may look at a top five finish at state track and think, “well that’s all well and good but don’t they want to win it all?”
Well, certainly Bellmont wants to win the whole thing, but for those people who may be a smidge unkept in the sport, let me remind you that they are not competing in any classes. Every school in the state is treated as the same size in this sport from Southern Wells’ tiny campus down in Poneto to Ben Davis in the state’s capital.
That’s a huge size discrepancy and one that should never be overlooked.
Last year’s finish was historic for the program and it should not be overshadowed by the potential that this year’s group has in furthering that best.
Not that they will.
No, I have a feeling that every girl that took part in that state tourney last year knows exactly what is at stake at every level starting from sectional and ending at the state finals. You miss one time and you go home. You slip and you’re out.
I would add “no pressure” cautiously for those girls who may end up reading this but it would be completely unnecessary. This group of girls has been there and done that. Two indoor track titles are already under their belts this season. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to add more hardwood into the halls of BHS.
In other spring sports affairs, there are some AC teams that have a lot to prove here when sectional rolls around.
More so than even the baseball’s semi-state run last year, the Lady Jets’ softball team enters their first season at the 3A level after two straight title appearances in 2A.
What will coach Blake and the Lady Jets do as an encore entering Bellmont and Norwell’s realm? I have no idea who to take in that sectional as it seems impossibly wide open to me.
There just isn’t a team in the bunch that has absolutely no chance to succeed. If I had to pick a favorite I would go with either Central or Norwell but I’ve seen Eastbrook, Mississinewa, and Heritage play as well and they are all solid teams.
I can’t say for sure what Columbia City will bring to the table but I do know that Bellmont, despite their 4-14 mark so far, is my dark horse if they can play to their potential. It’ll be a difficult challenge but if I had to ask Crestview what they thought of the Squaws’ chances, I’d have to think they wouldn’t sleep on them after blowing a 10-run advantage in their game against them.
As the AC’s baseball team, there are a lot of hitters in that lineup that will give anyone they draw in sectionals a hard go. What worries me with them is their pitching staff and defense. Simply out-scoring teams can be done but that’s living on the edge in baseball.
I’ve seen good days and bad with AC pitching. They have a young pitching staff and no clear ace but if the upperclassmen defense can step up their game like they have in their victories than they will be the team to watch along side Woodlan in the sectionals this year.
Bellmont’s baseball team is another mystery to me and I’m sure coach Fawbush will agree. The Braves this year are like a box of chocolates to quote Forrest. You just don’t know which team you’re gonna get on the field. The one who put a beating on ranked Heritage...or the team that dropped seven straight including bad losses to Norwell and Woodlan. The good Braves team will be the ones to make noise in the playoffs.