The month of March gets all the credit for bringing the winter season to an end. March also gets the lion’s share of sports hype for the madness that comes with a certain college basketball tournament. Yet, although the circadian short second month is treated meekly by many, February is title month in Indiana.
Of the six Indiana High School Athletic Association sanctioned tournaments conducted for winter sports, five of them will crown champions in February. The remaining sport — boys basketball — begins play by month’s end.
Two winter sports are already into state tournament action. For the local schools, the results are mixed at this point of the competition.
The 43rd Annual Girls State Basketball Tournament played their first games at Crawfordsville, Tuesday night, and for the Crawfordsville ladies the tournament ended before hardly starting. The 2-21 Athenians ran into a powerful 19-6 Benton Central club, in search of their fourth straight 20-win season. The 67-19 shellacking rapidly sent the Lady Athenians home.
Whether the other two Montgomery County schools fare any better is still a question. Neither North Montgomery nor Southmont boast winning records, although both teams have won at season’s end. North Montgomery (7-14) meets Benton Central, and Greencastle (15-8) hooks up with Southmont (9-13) on Friday.
The 80th Boys Wrestling State Tournament has already completed its Sectionals round, held locally at Crawfordsville, last Saturday. Across the board, wrestling is the preeminent winter sport in Montgomery County this season. The three area schools advanced thirty wrestlers into Saturday’s Regional No. 9 at North Montgomery, and are poised to send several wrestlers into New Castle’s Semi-state.
High school swimming and diving conducts their tournament this month, also. The ladies begin the 44th Annual Girls Swimming and Diving Championships tomorrow, at the Crawfordsville Aquatics Center. The preliminary round of Sectional 10 begins at 5:30 p.m. The Sectional swimming and diving finals are Feb. 3.
The 81st Annual Boys Swimming and Diving Championships follow the same format on the weekend of Feb. 15 & 17. Sectional 10 is also at Crawfordsville.
Would it surprise you to learn that the state’s Gymnastics tournament has been staged longer than Girls Basketball? I might have been had I not remembered that the popularity of gymnastics exploded in the late 1970’s following Olga Korbut’s dazzling Olympics performances. Gymnastics programs were growing across Indiana. The IHSAA even crowned some Boys champions. Sadly, the expense of purchasing first rate equipment, and the cost of insurance stunted the sport’s growth.
Today, only six Sectionals exist for Girls Gymnastics statewide. The 46th Annual Girls Gymnastics Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 23-24. North Montgomery, Southmont, and Crawfordsville all participate in Sectional No. 2 at Lafayette Jeff.
And, that leaves the 108th Annual Boys Basketball State Championships, which begins action Feb. 27, with all county teams heading to Sectional 25 in Lebanon.
February may be short on days, but in our state, it’s never short on action or memories.
John O. Marlowe spent most of his career as a “pine-time” player, and was football's first DH (dummy holder) for Wabash College in the late 1970's. New to the art of the sports beat writer, Marlowe has spent forty years – and nearly $11,000 – following Indiana high school sports.