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  • Val T.

Pioneer boys win Cass County Invitational

Pioneer girls finish 2nd behind Logansport; Caston girls, boys take 4th


Sports Editor, RTC

LOGANSPORT — Cayden Hill won both the 200 meters and the high jump and also

Cayden Hill

placed second in the long jump and 400 meters to help lead the Pioneer boys track team to the Cass County Invitational title at Logansport High School April 30.

Pioneer topped the four-team field with 93 points, 16 more than runner-up Lewis Cass. Logansport was third with 50 points, and Caston was fourth with 21.

Meanwhile, Logansport won the girls county title with 89 points. Pioneer was second with 85, Lewis Cass had 49, and Caston had 21.

In addition to Hill, other Pioneer boys to win individual events included Brandon Cearing in the pole vault, Brock Robinson in the 100, Jackson Baker in the 800 and Leighton Dodt in the 3,200. The Panther team of Rylahn Toloza, Beau Mersch, Robinson and Eli Rans won the 4 x 100 relay in 45.75 seconds.

Senior Garrison Hickle won both the discus and the shot put for Caston.

In the girls meet, Pioneer’s Violet Montgomery won both the 1,600 and 3,200 in 5:49.06 and 12:56.80, respectively. Other Pioneer individual champions included Kennedy Corn in the discus, Makenna Strycker in the pole vault and Mackenzie Rogers in the 800. The 4 x 800 relay team of Anna Shewalter, Strycker, Montgomery and Rogers also prevailed in 11:04.66.

Caston did not have a girls individual or relay champion.

Mackenzie Rogers


The final results contradicted how Pioneer coach Teresa Montgomery thought they would turn out.

“Actually, I kind of thought the girls were going to win and the boys weren’t,” coach Montgomery said. “So I was shocked and excited and really looking forward to seeing those books because I want to see what happened. We just came in today, and I just said that I want you guys to do your very best. I want you to work hard as a team. I want you to win above all else with your character and just put it all out there today. And I think we had some amazing things happen, and it was a very, very good day.”

Perhaps Hill’s most impressive event was the long jump. Coach Montgomery revealed he just started long-jumping three days before the meet, yet he flew 19-5 ½ and lost by only three-fourths of an inch to winner Cayden Ingram from Lewis Cass. Asked if Hill was a natural, coach Montgomery said “absolutely.”

Baker won the 800 in 2:09.13, a time just short of his personal best. He said he had broken 2:10 in the 800 for the first time less than two weeks earlier. He said he’s confident going into sectionals.

He said his favorite part of the race is the first lap, where he tries to go out fast.

“It feels good to go through the pain, I guess,” Baker said.

Training is unique for Baker, who runs cross-country in the fall but has also run 55 seconds in the 400.

“It’s a mix between both,” Baker said. “You want to get mileage for endurance, but a lot of it is speed-based, get a good base into the 400.”

Cearing’s winning pole vault of 10-3 beat his previous personal best by nine inches.

In the girls meet, Rogers won the 800 in 2:35.34, beating teammate Violet Montgomery by 10.04 seconds. Rogers was second at last year’s sectional in the 400 but showed skill in the longer race at the county meet.

“We just started training her in the 800,” coach Montgomery said of Rogers. “She’s been wanting to be a mid-distance runner. But she also plays some severe club volleyball, so we have trouble getting her there all the time, but we got a contract, and we’ve had her there, and now she’s been working on that 800, and she really wants to make that her signature event. She’s a fantastic long jumper as well, so we had to really decide what to do with Mackenzie today because we have her in a couple relays too.”

Violet Montgomery said she typically prefers the 3,200 to the 1,600, but she said she felt stronger in the 1,600 at this particular meet.

Violet also said she considers herself more a runner who runs a consistent pace than a runner who has a fast finishing kick. Still, she’ll do mile repeats in practice where she tries to kick it in the last lap and even run some quick 300 meter sprints in practice.

This all came during a winter where it was not uncommon for her to put in six miles a day – sometimes on a treadmill and sometimes outdoors, depending on the weather.

“Actually, my mom times my laps every single time, and I try to get a 1:30, so that’s what I base off of, but if I have some real competitors, then I go off the competitors,” Violet said.


Hickle lost his sophomore season of track to COVID in the spring of 2020 and took his junior season in 2021 off track. He has since returned to the sport.

“He decided to come back for his senior year, so he’s got that basis for that technique, and he’s just using that extra size he’s put on to just send it,” Caston coach Blair Zimmerman said.

Dague finished second behind Pioneer’s Dodt in the 3,200 despite dealing with some hamstring tightness, according to Zimmerman. Dague and all the other competitors had to deal with an errant bell ring. The bell is supposed to ring with one lap left, but in this instance, it incorrectly rang with two laps left. Runners started pushing the pace prematurely, and Zimmerman thought it might have sapped some of the runners once they got to the actual final lap.

“He looked fairly solid in spite of those couple of issues,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman also said that junior Brady Evans will not compete this season after suffering an ACL injury in a JV basketball game in December. Evans was a regional qualifier in both the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles last year. He is also a member of Caston’s sectional champion boys soccer team.

In the girls meet, Caston’s top scorer was Delaney Strasser, who took third in the 800 in 2:48.59 and second in the 1,600 behind Violet Montgomery in 6:09.78.

Zimmerman said Strasser is another runner who tends to run an even pace.

“I know she knocked some 20 seconds off her mile today,” Zimmerman said. “Super excited. There was a bit of a stiff wind off this front stretch, and everybody came out and just competed. Something about that county competition brings it out.”

Emma Stinson was fifth in both the 100 hurdles and 400, and Taylor Shafer was fifth in the discus and third in the shot put. Her shot put toss of 30-8 ½ marked the first time she had gone over 30 feet.

Zimmerman praised all his athletes afterwards.

“Across the board, I believe that everybody PR’d today,” Zimmerman said. “I know that we definitely saw some season-best times across the board. I’m really proud of these guys and gals.”

Girls results: Logansport 89, Pioneer 85, Lewis Cass 49, Caston 21

Winners plus all Caston and Pioneer scorers

100 m

1. Frutos (LOG) – 12.81 seconds, 2. Rachel Harding (PIO) – 13.34, 3. Michelle Harding (PIO) – 13.70

200 m

1. Scott (LC) – 26.87 seconds, 2. Michelle Harding (PIO) – 27.66, 3. Rachel Harding (PIO) – 28.60

400 m

1. Henderson (LOG) – 1:05.25, 2. Kenzie Dockery (PIO) – 1:06.44, 3. Anna Shewalter (PIO) – 1:06.47, 5. Emma Stinson (CAS) – 1:10.50

800 m

1. Mackenzie Rogers (PIO) – 2:35.34, 2. Violet Montgomery (PIO) – 2:45.38, 3. Delaney Strasser (CAS) – 2:48.59

1,600 m

1. Violet Montgomery (PIO) – 5:49.06, 2. Delaney Strasser (CAS) – 6:09.78

3,200 m

1. Violet Montgomery (PIO) – 12:56.80, 4. Kylie Jamerson (PIO) – 16:06.91

100 m hurdles

1. Scott (LC) – 15.50 seconds, 4. Blair Grigsby (PIO) – 18.13, 5. Emma Stinson (CAS) – 19.31

300 m hurdles

1. Scott (LC) – 48.28 seconds, 4. Katie Hutsell (CAS) – 55.38, 5. Blair Grigsby (PIO) – 55.47

4 x 100 m relay

1. Logansport (Hettinger, Curry, Sutton, Frutos) – 52.78 seconds, 2. Pioneer (Nies, Harding, Grigsby, Harding) – 53.06, 4. Caston (Sommers, Chandler, Paul, Pierce) – 1:01.34

4 x 400 m relay

1. Lewis Cass (Dockery, Montiel, Werry, Scott) – 4:27.14, 2. Pioneer (Anna Shewalter, Blair Grigsby, Keirsten Nies, Mackenzie Rogers) – 4:30.30, 4. Caston (Delaney Strasser, Katie Hutsell, Ali Paul, Emma Stinson) – 4:49.00

4 x 800 m relay

1. Pioneer (Anna Shewalter, Makenna Strycker, Violet Montgomery, Mackenzie Rogers) – 11:04.66

Long jump

1. Hettinger (LOG) – 14-11 ¼, 2. Mackenzie Rogers (PIO) – 14-9 ¼, 4. Ali Paul (CAS) – 14-3 ¼

High jump

1. See (LOG) – 4-8, 2. Rachel Harding (PIO) – 4-8, 3. keisten Nies (PIO) – 4-8, 4. Ali Paul (CAS) – 4-6


1. Kennedy Corn (PIO) – 93-7, 5. Taylor Shafer (CAS) – 70-7

Shot put

1. Miller (LC) – 34-0, 3. Taylor Shafer (CAS) – 30-8 ½. 4. Kennedy Corn (PIO) – 29-7

Pole vault

1. Makenna Strycker (PIO) – 6-9, 3. Hayley Malchow (PIO) – 6-0

Boys results: Pioneer 93, Lewis Cass 77, Logansport 50, Caston 21

Winners plus all Caston and Pioneer scorers

100 m

1. Brock Robinson (PIO) – 11.75 seconds, 3. Eli Rans (PIO) – 12.10

200 m

1. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 23.85 seconds, 2. Beau Mersch (PIO) – 24.34, 4. Brock Robinson (PIO) – 25.22

400 m

1. Armstrong (LC) – 53.18 seconds, 2. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 55.47

800 m

1. Jackson Baker (PIO) – 2:09.13, 3. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 2:25.48

1,600 m

1. Hines (LC) – 4:47.56, 2. Jackson Baker (PIO) – 4:49.97, 4. Carson Meyer (PIO) – 4:57.20

3,200 m

1. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 10:49.51, 2. Austin Dague (CAS) – 10:51.50, 4. Carson Meyer (PIO) – 11:04.00

110 m hurdles

1. Rene (LOG) – 16.59 seconds, 3. Corbin Smith (CAS) – 19.00, 4. Beau Mersch (PIO) – 19.09

300 m hurdles

1. Rene (LOG) – 44.06 seconds, 2. Beau Mersch (PIO) – 44.47

4 x 100 m relay

1. Pioneer (Toloza, Mersch, Robinson, Rams) – 45.75, 4. Caston (Sullivan, Angot, Sutton, Smith) – 50.85

4 x 400 m relay

1. Lewis Cass (Gilbert, Young, Lowe, Armstrong) – 3:47.22, 2. Pioneer (Cearing, Hill, Adams, Baker) – 3:49.00, 4. Caston (Angot, Aguilar-Mendez, Smith, Dague) – 4:20.47

4 x 800 m relay

1. Lewis Cass (Hines, Gilbert, Palafox, Armstrong) – 8:42.37, 2. Pioneer (Meyer, Brooke, Dodt, Baker) – 9:20.46

Long jump

1. Ingram (LC) – 19-6 ¼, 2. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 19-5 ½, 4. Josh Sullivan (CAS) – 18-5

High jump

1. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 5-6, 3. Austin Brooke (PIO) – 5-2


1. Garrison Hickle (CAS) – 115-4, 2. Lincoln Alma (PIO) – 109-6

Shot put

1. Garrison Hickle (CAS) – 39-9, 2. Lincoln Alma (PIO) – 36-4 ½

Pole vault

1. Brandon Cearing (PIO) – 10-3, 2. Ryan Adams (PIO) – 9-6

The Pioneer boys track team won the Cass County Invitational at Logansport High School Saturday.

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