Memorial Day Mile organizers hoping to draw crowd

A year ago, the Memorial Day Mile in Franklin had an impressive debut.

More than 350 runners and walkers, from as far away as Kentucky, participated in the inaugural event.

This time, organizers expect a significantly larger turnout.

Already, 115 people have signed up, compared to 72 at the same time last year for the May 30 event.

Open to adults and children of all ages, first-time runners, walkers and competitive runners are all invited.

Part of the city of Franklin’s Memorial Day weekend celebrations to honor those who served in the U.S. military, the event is making special recognition of Johnson County residents who made the ultimate sacrifice.

All participants will receive a T-shirt. On the back of each will be the names of every local resident, 165 in all, who died serving in either World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

Encouraged by last year’s turnout, the goal is to make the Memorial Day Mile the nation’s fifth-largest mile race by 2018, according to Chad McCullough, one of the event’s chief planners. The two largest, respectively, are in New York City and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Today, the Minneapolis race has more than 2,000 annual participants but started with 323 in 2005, according to McCullough. The 2005 figure is comparable to last year’s Memorial Day Mile total.

A 1996 graduate of Franklin College, McCullough competed on the school’s men’s cross-country and track and field teams. Coincidence or no, Franklin College athletes — past and present — made an impact on last year’s race.

Eric Thompson is a McCordsville resident and senior on the Grizzlies’ men’s track and field team. He won last year’s men’s Memorial Day Mile in a time of 4:30.58.

On the women’s side, the winner was Jessica Sinclair, a Seymour resident with a dental practice in Seymour. She is also a Franklin College graduate and won in a time of 5:48.52.

Other finishers of note were Jared Campbell of Franklin and Deb O’Keefe of Whiteland.

Campbell was the first local resident to cross the finish line in the men’s race. He was third overall with a time of 4:39.03.

O’Keefe was the first local resident to finish the women’s race. She was second overall with a time of 6:06.77.

Early registration is underway until May 10. Early registration fee for persons 18 and under is $5. For persons 18 and over, it’s $12.

Fees increase to $7 and $14, respectively, after May 10.

All participants receive a T-shirt and participation medals.

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Grizzlies pitcher earns league honor

Franklin College senior Hayden Cleveland has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week.

A left-hander, he tallied nine strikeouts in the Grizzlies’ 9-1 win against Anderson University on Saturday. He allowed two singles, one each in the first and ninth innings, and retired 14 consecutive batters in between.

Cleveland is the third Franklin pitcher to earn the HCAC’s Pitcher of the Week award this season, joining junior Jacob McMain and sophomore Christian Sullivan.

Grizzlies compete at outdoor championships

The Franklin College women’s track and field team placed fourth at Saturday’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Bluffton University.

Junior thrower Erica Christy, a Greenwood graduate, was runner-up in the shot put. Senior Ashley Myers, an Edinburgh graduate, was third in the 1,500-meter run; fourth in the 800 run; and was fourth in the 3,000 steeplechase.

Senior Kasey King from South Ripley High School was runner-up in the javelin and the 400 hurdles. She also was eighth in the 100 hurdles.

On the men’s side, Franklin finished sixth at the outdoor championships.

Senior Eric Thompson led the Grizzlies with a third-place finish in the 1,500 run and a fifth-place showing in the 800 run.

Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.