Local Sports

New Palestine holds off Valparaiso for 5A football title

As the final seconds ticked off the clock Friday night in the Class 5A football state championship, New Palestine head coach Kyle Ralph couldn't help but get caught up in the moment. 

 

Fighting back tears, Ralph embraced each of his players, thanking them for a magical ride that was capped with a 27-20 win over Valparaiso en route to a 14-0 season and back to back Class 5A titles.

 

 

After a few moments, Ralph was able to reflect on a season that saw his team overcome the likes of Center Grove, Whiteland, Cathedral and then Valparaiso, doing so as the second smallest team in Class 5A.

 

 

Early on, it looked like the game between the Dragons and Vikings, both of whom entered undefeated, would be one for the ages.

 

 

New Palestine struck first as quarterback Lincoln Roth hit Blake Austin for a 24-yard touchdown and Alex Kropp's leg put the Dragons ahead 7-0. However, Valparaiso would claw back eight minutes later, as Antonio Osorio reeled in a 25-yard strike from quarterback C.J. Opperman and Liam Shepherd knotted it at 7-7.

 

The two teams would trade field goals in the second quarter, going into the locker room tied 10-10. 

Ralph told Giant FM his message was a clear one at the half -- they had been in this position before, most notably against Cathedral in a regional final.

 

 

That's exactly what happened as Charlie Spegal ripped off an 80 yard touchdown run, giving the Dragons a 17-10 lead they would never surrender. For the game, Spegal finished with 160 yards and a score on 23 touches. For his career, he finished with 10,867 rushing yards, 175 touchdowns and 173 rushing touchdowns.

 

 

The Dragons would continue to add to their lead, getting a 20-yard field from Kropp and an interception for a touchdown from Ryker Large to go ahead 27-10 with just under a minute to play in the third quarter.

 

However, Valparaiso would refuse to go away quietly.

 

Running back Tommy Burbee would find the end zone from a yard out to cut the deficit to 27-17. Two minutes later, Shepherd would add a 38-yard field for the final points of the game. 

Ralph credited his Red Rage defense for stepping up when needed. 

 

Offensively, the Dragons got a huge lift from Eric Roudebush, who had to fill in at quarterback following an injury to Roth. 

 

 

Ralph said he had no doubt Roudebush would step up, as he ended with 62 yards rushing.

 

 

For Roudebush, the win was "great." 

 

 

The win was the 28th in a row for the Dragons, a number Ralph said he owes to his players.

 

 

#1 New Palestine vs #3 Valparaiso in tonight's 5A football state championship on GIANT fm Sports

The only sure thing coming into Friday's Class 5A football state title game between New Palestine and Valparaiso is that something has to give.

 

#1 New Pal and #3 Valpo meet tonight on GIANT fm Sports (96.5 FM, 106.3 FM, www.giant.fm ).

 

Both teams enter with perfect 13-0 records and are ranked in the top three in the state. 

New Palestine averages 50.3 points per game and allows only 8. Valparaiso averages 41.3 and gives up an average of 9 points per game. 

 

Both knocked off great teams to get to Lucas Oil Stadium, and both are fully aware of the other and the players who garner the accolades. 

 

For New Palestine, the Dragons earned their fifth state finals appearance and second in a row after defeating Bloomington South 45-0 last week. In that game, New Palestine rushed for 389 yards and held the Panthers to 87 total yards. Running back Charlie Spegal rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the win. 

 

According to Valparaiso coach Bill Marshall, the Dragons are very good and, while not big, they are efficient.

 

 

Marshall said the Dragons remind him of a few teams they've seen already, including Fort Wayne Dwenger, who the Vikings beat 10-7 in semi state. 

 

 

 

The Dragons, while back in the state final again, New Palestine coach Kyle Ralph says this is much different than last year's title winning team. 

 

 

Valparaiso advanced after losing to Carmel last year in the Class 6A semi state. The Vikings defeated Dwenger last week behind the running of junior running back Tommy Burner, who rushed for 119 yards and a score. Valpo picked up 284 total yards of offense.

 

Ralph said Valpo reminds him a lot of Cathedral, a team the Dragons beat 35-10 for a regional crown.

 

 

Both coaches admit the game will come down to whoever wins the battle up front.

 

 

For Marshall, he adds his offense will have to keep Spegal off the field by controlling the clock.

 

 

If there is one area New Palestine has an edge, it is on the experience and Ralph believes that will be a positive.

 

 

New Pal's Charlie Spegal ready for final high school moment in Friday's 5A championship

Charlie Spegal knows what's at stake.

 

With one game left in his high school career, the New Palestine running back has one more opportunity to win over college scouts, and, more importantly, add another state title to a laundry list of accomplishments. 

 

Spegal told Giant FM, this season has been a fun one. 

 

 

That "fun" began as a little kid who followed in the steps of his father, Chris. The elder Spegal was a running back at Eastern Hancock, who rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior and senior. 

 

When he started acting football, he did so as a quarterback in the youth leagues of Muncie, before starting at Delta, where he ran for over 100 yards and two scores in his freshman debut against Jay County. Two years ago, he transferred to New Palestine when his father relocated his business and helped the Dragons win a Class 5A state title last fall. 

 

Spegal said last year's title was a credit to the work he and his teammates put in. 

 

While it would've been easy to relax, the senior did anything but, constantly working in the weight room and field to get better.

 

The work has paid off. 

 

Spegal is the first running back in IHSAA history to rush for over 3,000 yards in two different seasons. He is Indiana's all-time leading rusher with 10,707 yards and holds state records for touchdowns (174), rushing touchdowns (172) and points (1,048). This year, he leads the state with 54 touchdowns and has amassed 3,008 yards.

 

For head coach Kyle Ralph, Spegal is a "great kid to coach."

 

 

Ralph isn't the only one to notice.

 

Valparaiso coach Bill Marshall wasted little time telling his kids what the top rallying point this week was after the Vikings defeated Fort Wayne Dwenger 10-7 last week in semi state.

 

Marshall told Giant FM, Spegal is "tremendous."

 

Marshall said his team has heard stories of how strong and physical Spegal is. 

 

Spegal admits those quotes make him focus on what's at stake this weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium, telling Giant FM he has to bring his "A" game.

 

 

West Washington coach suffered stroke at football semistate

West Washington appears to lose much more than its 1A semistate football game at Indianapolis Lutheran on Friday.  13th year head coach Phillip Bowsman suffered a stroke.  He is expected to pass away.

 

Bowsman had recovered from a stroke in January of this year.

 

Bowsman was also the athletic director.

 

The following message posted by West Washington School Corporation on its website:

 

This is WW Superintendent Keith Nance. I am informing everyone that WW will be closed tomorrow and Tuesday.

 

Phillip Bowsman is having complications associated with a stroke and currently being supported by a vent. He will be taken off the vent early tomorrow and the doctors believe he will pass peacefully shortly after.

 

I know to many this is devastating news. Due to the grief that many of our staff and students will suffer from we will hold counseling services throughout the day Monday and Tuesday.

I know this is an inconvenience for some but I ask you to please be understanding. Phillip is a dear friend of many of our staff, family to some and a father figure to many.

 

Please call the school to coordinate counseling resources at 812-755-4872.

 

If any family is in need of food for over the holiday we have baskets and a pick up can be arranged for Monday or Tuesday.

 

 

Dragons headed back to Lucas Oil with 5A semistate win

On paper, Friday's Class 5A semi state clash between top ranked and undefeated New Palestine and Bloomington South could have been a "trap game" for the Dragons.

 

After all, New Palestine clawed its way past Cathedral last week in the regional final in a game many viewed as the top game of the season.

 

 

However, it took less than a minute for the Dragons to put an end to any thoughts of a lack of focus or potential upset, as senior running back Charlie Spegal found a seam and rumbled in for a 57-yard touchdown. The score set the tone for what kind of night it would be, giving New Palestine a lead it would never relinquish en route to a 45-0 win and another trip to Lucas Oil Stadium for a state title opportunity. The Dragons will play third ranked Valparaiso at 7 p.m. Friday. 

 

New Palestine coach Kyle Ralph said the quick touchdown was "huge."

 

 

Spegal, who finished with over 250 yards, was only getting started, as would again score from 57 yards out to extend the lead to 14-0 with just under seven minutes to play in the first quarter. The lead would swell to 24-0 after another Spegal touchdown and a field goal by Alex Kropp. 

 

The Dragons would get a pick six by Brody Luker, as well as scores by quarterback Lincoln Roth and Spegal to round out the scoring. 

 

The win was the 27th in a row for the Dragons, and Ralph said it was a tremendous way to send off the seniors who played their final game at home.

 

 

For Ralph, the win was the result of a strong running attack by Spegal, combined with a defense that held the visiting Panthers to negative yardage for much of the first quarter.

 

 

Triton Central's run ends in 2A semistate

Triton Central's first ever football regional title put the Tigers (10-4)  into a semistate with the defending 2A state champs.  #1 Western Boone ended the TC season with a 35-13 victory at Bud Mendenhall Field Friday.

 

WeBo jumped  out to a 14-0 lead before Triton Central closedthe gap to 14-7 just before the half on a Keaton Kermode 19 yard TD run.  

 

But the Stars responded with a drive highlighted by a 32-yard diving catch by Caleb Stoudamire that set up a goal to go capped off by a TD that put WeBo back up by 14, 21-7, at halftime.

 

WeBo (13-1) dominated on thr ground in the second half to extend the lead.

 

TC Head Coach Tim Able.

 

 

Boesing and Greiwe top the Week-2 IBCA/Subway Player of the Week honorees

Two weeks are complete in the 2019-2020 girls basketball season, and four more ladies share honors for the Week-2 IBCA/Subway Player of the Week award.

           

Bremen Senior Erin Coffel, Northwestern Senior Kendall Bostic, Our Lady of Providence Senior Natalie Boesing, and Columbus East Sophomore Koryn Greiwe have been selected as honorees for Nov. 11-Nov. 16 in the recognition program coordinated by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. Coffel is the honoree for District-1. Bostic is the recipient for District-2. Boesing and Greiwe are co-winners for District-3.

           

District-3 saw several big performances last week, but Our Lady of Providence’s Natalie Boesing might have had the most consistent week. In four games, the 5-11 forward scored no fewer than 24 points and grabbed no less than five rebounds in any single game. She began her week with a 30-point performance in a narrow 55-53 overtime loss at Lanesville. In that game, she added five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. She then helped the Pioneers to a 52-46 overtime win at Corydon Central on Friday evening, scoring 26 points and grabbing nine rebounds (five offensive).

           

Early Saturday, Boesing continued her strong play with a 24-point, 15-rebound (10 offensive) outing in a 58-33 win against North Central of Farmersburg, only to follow it up that evening with 29 more points and 13 more rebounds (10 offensive) in yet another overtime game, this time a tight 54-48 loss to Crawford County. For the week, the Senior posted 109 points and 42 rebounds (25 offensive) spread across four games.

           

Koryn Greiwe was equally good in District-3, but she did so in a different manner, exploding for an identical 32 points in consecutive games. Tuesday night, Columbus East traveled to Batesville, where Greiwe was 11-17 from the field, 5-9 from 3-point range, and 5-5 from the free throw line, helping the Olympians to a 75-34 victory. Greiwe added three rebounds, two assists, and four steals to the effort.

           

The 5-7 guard returned to her home floor Thursday night, and she again shot the ball well in a 54-43 win against Bloomington South. The Sophomore was 8-10 from the field, 2-3 from 3-point range, and a solid 14-16 from the free throw line. The 14 made free throws is a new Columbus East single-game record. Greiwe also contributed a pair of rebounds and collected three steals.

           

Erin Coffel wants everyone to know she isn’t just a homerun hitter. The Bremen star signed with the University of Kentucky last week to play softball, but she was additionally outstanding on the hardwood. In a Tuesday night win against LaVille, the 5-7 guard compiled 23 points on 8-15 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, six steals, and two blocked shots. Coffel was also 6-6 from the free throw line.

            T

he Lions headed to South Bend Clay Friday night, where the Senior helped Bremen to a 49-30 win against the previously unbeaten Colonials. That evening, Coffel went for 27 points on 9-12 shooting, she was 3-3 from 3-point range, plus she was 6-7 from the free throw line. She added nine rebounds, three assists, and five steals, helping Bremen to a 2-1 record to begin the season.

           

Northwestern Senior post Kendall Bostic helped keep the Tigers on the winning path with a pair of impressive road victories last week. Tuesday evening, they traveled to Noblesville where the 6-1 front-liner approached a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and handing out seven assists. In the effort, she was 9-14 from the field, she collected three steals, and she blocked a pair of shots.

           

Then Saturday afternoon, Bostic was again efficient, going 8-13 from the field and 4-5 from the free throw line, scoring 20 points in a 66-41 win at Carmel. The Michigan State University signee added nine more rebounds, five assists, a pair of steals, and blocked five shots for the #1 team in the IBCA poll.

           

This is the 12th season for the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Week program, and the eighth season it is presented by Subway Restaurants of Indiana, a banner sponsor of the IBCA. Subway, in its eighth season as an IBCA sponsor, encourages athletes to “train hard and eat fresh”.

           

Player of the Week winners are chosen each week from each of the IHSAA’s three districts. Girls winners will be chosen from now through the Monday following the IHSAA Girls State Finals. Boys winners will be chosen starting in three weeks and through the Monday following the IHSAA Boys State Finals.

 

 

Other Top Nominees for Week-2 (2019-20)

 

District-1:Courtney Blakely, Hammond Bishop Noll; Jessica Carrothers, Crown Point; LilliannFrasure, North Judson-San Pierre; Hanna Knoll, Angola; Lilly Maple, Maconaquah; Felicity Olejniczak, Knox; Reganne Pate, Penn; Makaya Porter, Elkhart Central; Jazmyn Smith, West Noble; Claire Tanner, Plymouth.

 

District-2:Allison Bosse, Brownsburg; Katie Burton, Fishers; Tyra Ford, Anderson; Gracie Gilland, Delta; Justis Gordon, Cathedral; RaShaya Kyle, Marion; Madison Layden, Northwestern; Ally Madden, Blue River Valley; Alaina Omonodé, West Lafayette; Sydney Parrish, Hamilton Southeastern.

 

District-3:Madison Gray, Union County; Kenna Hisle, Evansville North; Sydney Jaynes, Trinity Lutheran; Paige Ledford, Jac-Cen-Del; Natalie Niehaus, Castle; Claire Rake, Center Grove; Meredith Raley, Gibson Southern; Kylee Shelton, Bloomfield; Aleiah Thomas, Switzerland County; Ava Weber, Corydon Central.

 

 

2019-20 Weekly Winners

 

Nov. 4-Nov. 9District-1 girls: LilliannFrasure, North Judson-San Pierre. District-2 girls: Madison Layden, Northwestern, and Ashlynn Shade, Noblesville. District-3 girls: Rebekah Gordon, Heritage Hills.

 

Nov. 11-Nov. 16: District-1 girls:Erin Coffel, Bremen. District-2 girls:Kendall Bostic, Northwestern. District-3 girls:Natalie Boesing, Our Lady of Providence, and Koryn Greiwe, Columbus East.

 

Penalties assessed to Southport boys' basketball team, coach, and athletic program

Following violations of undue influence, the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc. announces that it is removing the Southport boys basketball program from this year’s state tournament, ruled a player ineligible, and has placed the entire athletic department on probation for the next year.

 

The school also has suspended its coach for the first two contests of the upcoming season.

 

Southport, a public high school located in Indianapolis and first admitted to the Association as a member school in 1914, is one of 412 members who voluntarily subscribe to uphold the by?laws and policies of the Association.

 

The IHSAA has investigated potential violations of Rule 20?1 of the IHSAA by?laws regarding student Nickens Paul Lemba and Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Eric Brand. On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, representatives of Southport High School and Perry Township Schools met with Commissioner Bobby Cox and staff at the IHSAA to discuss this investigation and provide an opportunity for the school to respond to these breaches.

 

On November 15, 2019, the IHSAA received a letter from Assistant Superintendent Robert Bohannon outlining sanctions the school intends to implement in a corrective attitude of these violations. The IHSAA appreciates and supports these initial steps to insure compliance to the rules.

 

1. Southport High School Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Eric Brand has violated Rule 20?1 of the IHSAA by?laws. As incorporator and director of the Southport Basketball Club, Inc., he has provided a tuition payment to Perry Township Schools in the amount of $5,548.00 on behalf of student Nickens Paul Lemba originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

2. Perry Township Schools accepted the tuition payment on behalf of Nickens Paul Lemba in order to remain compliant with U.S. immigration law and meet requirements of an F?1 student.

 

Rule 20?1 provides the following:

 

20?1 Recruitment Prohibited

The recruitment or attempted recruitment of a prospective student, through the use of undue influence is prohibited. Undue influence is the act of encouraging or inducing a prospective student to attend a school for athletic purposes.

a. It is a violation of this rule for a prospective student to be unduly influenced, with or without the offer of a tangible benefit.

b. Any successful or unsuccessful attempt to recruit a prospective student through the use of undue influence will subject the school(s) benefited, or to be benefited, by the recruitment to sanctions to be determined by the Commissioner.

c. If, following any recruitment through the use of undue influence, a prospective student enrolls at a member school, the prospective student will be ineligible for athletics in accordance with the penalty described at Rule 19?4.

d. The offer or the acceptance of any of the following shall constitute prima facie evidence of undue influence:

 

(2.) Free or reduced tuition, room or board for the prospective student, provided, however that schools which charge tuition or which may make room and board available to students, may adjust tuition, room and/or board for children of faculty members provided there is no undue influence or under an objectively determined need?based financial aid program for tuition, room and/or board.

 

Respective of Rule 20 of the IHSAA by?laws, the response from Southport High School and Perry Township Schools, the following determinations have been made:

 

1. The Southport High School athletic department is placed on probation for 365 days from the date listed above. This probation is a severe type of warning. It is official notice that unacceptable and serious violations have occurred, are a matter of record and future, similar incidents will not be tolerated.

 

2. The IHSAA accepts the suspension of Head Coach Eric Brand by Southport High School for the first two contests of the 2019?20 season yet notes this suspension falls woefully short of the expectations of the IHSAA from its voluntary member school.

 

3. Southport High School student Nickens Paul Lemba is hereby declared ineligible for the 2019?20 school year.

 

4. Southport High School is hereby removed from the 2019?20 IHSAA Boys’ Basketball Tournament Series.

 

As per the provisions of Rule 17?4.1 of the IHSAA by?laws, an affected party may seek review or an appeal of these determinations.

Ratcliff, Elliott inducted into IHRA Hall of Fame at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Rod Ratcliff, casino and racetrack owner and developer, and Jim Elliott, longtime Thoroughbred owner and breeder, were inducted into the Indiana Horse Racing Association (IHRA) Hall of Fame Monday, Nov. 4 during a special ceremony held at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Ratcliff and Elliott were the 16th and 17th individuals to join the prestigious Hall honoring those who made long lasting and substantial contributions to horse racing in Indiana.

 

Hosted by Rachel McLaughlin and Emily Gaskin, on-air racing personalities for Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park, respectively, several hundred people gathered for the event. Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager and member of IHRA, provided a quick history of the organization and gave some background on the implementation of the IHRA Hall of Fame.

 

“The IHRA was formed in 2014 with the intent to represent all three racing breeds in the state,” said Schuster. “The addition of the Hall of Fame was actually a brainchild of one of the inductees tonight, Rod Ratcliff. The diligence, achievements, and successes of the industry needed an outlet to reward those who have brought the sport to where it is today.”

 

Schuster read a list of previous inductees, which includes the Honorable Lawrence M. Borst, DVM, Michael G. Schaefer (posthumously), Honorable Dick Thompson, Ralph Wilfong (posthumously), Harold Barnes, Mari Hulman George, Senator Robert Jackman, DVM, Don Myers (posthumously), Honorable Howard “Luke” Kenley, Lynn George Wilfong, Raymond “Steve” Panke (posthumously), Sarah McNaught and Howard Clark “Pete” Peterson (posthumously).

 

Elliott, who passed away in early 2016, was inducted posthumously and was represented by numerous friends and family members.

 

Born in 1941, Elliott and his wife, Amy, built up a Thoroughbred training and breeding business from the ground up at their farm in Brookston, Ind with their children Michelle and Jason. Elliott had an innate ability to seek out and identify true talent in racehorses and developed a national reputation as a seller and buyer at some of the country’s biggest sales. As a result, he was able to bring both notoriety and breeding stock into the state, which helped lay the groundwork for the current breeding programs for horse racing.

 

 

Elliott was an initial member of the Indiana Breed Development Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor and was an active director of the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. He was instrumental in implementing the Two-Year-Old Sale in Indiana. Since his passing, his wife, Amy, has continued operations on the farm and his daughter, Michelle, now trains horses for the family’s stable.

 

“Jim and Amy were together at every sale and every race,” said Tom Mosley, friend of the Elliott’s. “And, it all started in Brookston, Ind. Now, Michelle is carrying on the Elliott name as trainer and in her third year, she just surpassed $1 million in earnings. Jim would be so proud to know that fact.”

 

The official IHRA resolution to induct Jim into the Hall of Fame was presented by Herb Likens, who has had a longstanding partnership with the Elliott family as a breeder and owner.

 

“Both Jim and Rod are the two best friends a guy could ever ask for,” added Likens. “I commend the nominating committee for inducting two such outstanding individuals. Both inductees are very fitting into what the Hall of Fame represents for Indiana horse racing.”

 

The second half of the ceremony was directed to the induction of Ratcliff. Jim Purucker, president of John Frick and Associates, provided an introduction of the man behind many accomplishments in the Indiana horse racing industry over the past two decades.

 

“Rod has never been a CEO who stayed in the board room or his office,” said Purucker. “Everyone has had unparalleled access to him, and I’ve had the good fortune to be a spectator to most of his success. His partnership with Churchill Downs was very crucial in the early stages of racing, and he was also involved in the initial efforts to bring resources into slots at tracks. Rod has always taken the long view of the deal and never reneged on his word. He has received many awards but his inclusion in this Hall of Fame probably means the most due to his commitment to the entire racing industry.”

 

The official resolution for the induction of Ratcliff into the IHRA Hall of Fame was read by John Keeler, vice president and general counsel of Spectacle Entertainment, Ratcliff’s current company. Keeler noted his early prowess and entrepreneurship as a successful businessman with transportation, agribusiness, commodities and casino gaming. He walked the crowd through a timeline created by Ratcliff as owner of Centaur Gaming, acquiring control of Hoosier Park and later adding Indiana Grand to the company. In the process, Rod created in excess of 2,000 jobs and contributing more than $1 billion annually to the state’s economy. Keeler also pointed out Ratcliff’s various philanthropic causes such as a major gift to Purdue University for the construction of the Centaur Equine Specialty Hospital, just minutes from Indiana Grand.

 

“Rod developed a relationship of trust and respect with hard working and dedicated men and women of the Indiana horse industry,” added Keeler. “Combined with his skillful legislative advocacy, he enabled the passage of legislation allowing gaming at racetracks which provided a stable source of revenue to support Indiana horse racing and breeding.”

 

Keeler ended by showcasing several of Ratcliff’s awards over the years, including a finalist for Ernst & Young Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year, Columbian of the Year by the Columbia Club, Man of the Year by Gilpin County in Colorado, the Pinnacle Award from the Indiana Standardbred Association and more recently the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash presented by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

 

Ratcliff was greeted with a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium following the induction.
 

“It is a real honor to be up here with Jim Elliott,” said Ratcliff. “My grandfather had 21 ponies and four horses when I was growing up. I never dreamed horses would have done for me what has been accomplished.  This is the greatest honor because it is the core of what we created. I spent many nights talking to Steve Panke and Ralph Wilfong and learning about the business from real pyramids of horse racing. I never thought I’d be on that wall with them.”

 

Ratcliff went on to talk about the initial stages of pari-mutuel racing in the state and he realized early on it needed to move to a next level.

 

“They (Panke and Wilfong) all had what was needed for Indiana, but I had a much bigger picture,” added Ratcliff. “We were able to take it and fuel it. We needed something because there was a lot of competition coming from other areas, and we had the right recipe, but we had to do the right thing by the horsemen. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

 

Ratcliff realized the huge economic impact horse racing had on the state. As a result of his leadership, Indiana has been at the forefront of states integrating gaming and racing.

 

“We have done it better than anyone else because we all worked together,” said Ratcliff. “It’s been a heck of a ride and has always been enjoyable. We are still working hard for horse racing in the legislature. We have your back and we are looking out for you. This is an industry I will never turn my back on.”

 

Both the portrait of Elliott and Ratcliff was unveiled during the ceremony. Portraits were provided by artist Melinda Spear-Huff of Sheridan, Ind.

Shelbyville High School girls basketball to host Cancer Night

The 2019-2020 Shelbyville High School (SHS) Girls Basketball team will host a special night tagged as “United We Fight” to raise funding and awareness for cancer. The inaugural event is set for Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 during the home game against the Southwestern Lady Spartans. Tip-off is 6 p.m. with various fundraising activities taking place throughout both the junior varsity and varsity games that evening.

 

Included in the lineup of activities will be a raffle featuring several unique giveaway items, including three Mammograms donated by Major Health Partners (MHP). Tickets for the raffle include 10 different prizes and may be purchased near the main entrance for $1. All proceeds will go directly to MHP’s Relay for Life.

 

“Relay for Life of Shelby County is honored to be a part of the inaugural “United We Fight” event at Shelbyville High School this year,” said KaLeigh Lee, Relay for Life committee chair. “Cancer is something that affects all communities, and those affected deserve a spotlight to be heard. “United We Fight” is an important step in the fight against cancer by educating the community and making everyone aware of the severity of the disease. Our committee works hard to host Relay for Life each June to celebrate survivors and honor those who have passed. All of the funds our participants raise go to the American Cancer Society to help all types of individuals affected by cancer. It’s been amazing to work with the “United We Fight” group to get this event started, and we’re so excited to participate.”

 

MHP will provide several facts about cancer that will be announced throughout the games. Lee, who is in her first year as chair of Relay for Life, will address the crowd with a special message about the 2020 event in Shelby County.

 

Both Shelbyville and Southwestern girls’ teams will rally together to show support of “United We Fight.” Special pink flowers will be hand delivered by the players to those in the stands who have both conquered cancer as well as those who are currently undergoing treatment. The event was created by first year SHS Girls Basketball Head Coach Becca Hoefler as a way to get the team involved in the community.

 

“It’s very important to me that all the girls on the team work together and know the importance of giving back to the community,” said Hoefler. “Almost every family has been affected by cancer in some form or fashion, and ‘United We Fight’ is a great first step for us to take to honor and support these families and individuals. We are excited to partner with MHP and Relay for Life and hope this is just the start of a great initiative moving forward.”

 

Other fundraising events during “United We Fight” include pink t-shirt sales and pink Breast Cancer bracelets. Donations will also be accepted for Relay for Life during the event.

 

For more information regarding “United We Fight,” contact Shelbyville High School Girls Basketball Coach Becca Hoefler at the school.

New Palestine overwhelms Franklin for sectional title; Cathedral awaits

A new sectional, the same result for the New Palestine High School football team. 

 

A year after running wild in the north to a Class 5A state championship, the Dragons (11-0) ran past Franklin 49-14 Friday to claim the Sectional 14 championship. The win marked the fifth sectional crown under Head Coach Kyle Ralph, who improved to 85-4 at the helm.

 

New Palestine wasted little time setting the tone, putting together an 11-play opening drive that was capped by Charlie Spegal from four yards out. It would be the first of four touchdowns for Spegal in the game.

 

 

New Palestine would continue to roll, extending the lead to 35-7 midway through the second quarter, thanks in part to a pair of 40-plus yard touchdown runs by Spegal. The lead would swell to 42-7 at the half.

 

With the win, New Palestine advances to the regional title tilt against Cathedral (9-2), who defeated Decatur Central. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at New Palestine. The last time the Irish and Dragons met was 2009, with Cathedral winning 45-6 in the regional. 

 

Ralph said it is an honor to be a part of a game many are looking forward to.

 

 

Tony Cunningham repeats as Leading Quarter Horse Owner at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

It was another solid year for the Cunningham Stable and as a result, Tony Cunningham won his fourth straight Leading Quarter Horse Owner title. With nine wins for the year, Cunningham now moves into the top spot as the track’s all-time leading Quarter Horse Owner with 54 career wins at the Shelbyville, Ind. racetrack.

 

Cunningham has participated in all years of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing, traveling down from his farm in Michigan to race when the inaugural season was launched at Hoosier Park in 1997. Since that time, his stable has grown to prominence and he has numerous stakes winners in his barn, including the older hard hitting Beach Bum Eddie. Now six, the Escondido Beach gelding won the Born Runner Classic Stakes in May and continued throughout the season to be stakes placed in several other events.

 

“That was probably the highlight of the season for me,” said Cunningham. “Watching Beach Bum Eddie come back off an injury and win the way he did. That just made the whole meet special.”

 

Cunningham divides his time between his farm in Michigan and Indiana Grand, where he keeps a string of racehorses. With 14 at the track and 43 at home, Cunningham had a strong showing for 2019.

 

With the conclusion of the 2019 racing season at Indiana Grand, Cunningham will be traveling up and down the road a little less, but the work doesn’t stop. He and his team are already hard at work.

 

“We have 21 babies and we already have 15 of them galloping at our farm,” added Cunningham. “All but six of them are Indiana bred or sired. It feels great to have another good season. We have a great team to credit for that success.”

 

Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing, and Kevin Greely, director of racing, made the winner’s circle presentation to Cunningham for his Leading Quarter Horse Owner title. Schuster pointed out the impact Cunningham continues to have on the Indiana Quarter Horse racing program.

 

“It is great to be down here again with Tony for this award,” said Schuster. “We thank him for being a big part of our Quarter Horse program and for showcasing a lot of talent on the track. He is a great asset to our Quarter Horse meet.”

 

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR), holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and diversity. Located in Shelbyville, Ind., Indiana Grand features 2,200 of the latest slots and electronic table games in addition to a one-mile dirt racecourse and a seven-eighths mile turf course offering live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at Winner’s Circle Brewpub & OTB located on the casino floor as well as a Winner’s Circle OTB located in Clarksville, Ind. For more information, please visit www.IndianaGrand.com. Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing at racetracks and 21 or older to gamble at sports books and casinos. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-9-WITH-IT (1-800-994-8448) ©2019 Caesars License Company, LLC.

State park properties to temporarily close for deer hunts

Select Indiana State Park properties will close temporarily for controlled deer management hunts in the coming weeks.

Each hunt runs two days. The first hunt is on Monday, Nov. 18, and Tuesday, Nov. 19. The second is on Monday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 3. The participating state park properties will close to the general public on the evening before each of the two hunts.

Participating state park properties are: Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Prophetstown, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, and Whitewater Memorial state parks, as well as Cave River Valley Natural Area and Trine State Recreation Area.

These state park properties will re-open the morning after each two-day hunt. All Indiana state park properties not mentioned will be operating under normal hours.

Indiana DNR biologists evaluate which state park properties require a deer management hunt each year based on habitat recovery and previous harvest rates at each park. The state parks are home to numerous natural communities that serve as significant habitat. The deer management hunts help control browsing by deer to a level that helps ensure healthy habitat for native plants and animals.

Only individuals selected from the draw may participate at any site.

A full report on the 2018 deer management hunts is at stateparks.IN.gov/files/sp-DeerRMRR.pdf. The 2019 report will be available in March 2020.

Information regarding 2020 state park deer management hunts, including online applications, will be available next summer at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt. The application deadline is usually in mid-August of the year in which the hunts are to take place.