• Mike Rice

Norwell Teammates sign with Purdue and Ball State

The Knights Lauren Bales and Sarah Mahnensmith have been teammates for years. Soon going their separate ways we hope for one last run as competitors.


Lauren Bales

Norwell senior Lauren Bales has signed with Purdue University to continue her athletic and academic career.

Bales will be joining the Boilermaker cross country and track and field teams, while studying for a degree in Agricultural Sales and Marketing.

Upon graduating from the West Lafayette campus, Lauren hopes to become a Veterinary Pharmaceutical Sales Representative.

A part of the Norwell cross country, track and field and basketball teams, Lauren has excelled during her time in the Lady Knights athletic program.

On top of being named as a captain in all three sports, Bales has participated in both the cross country and track and field state meets, earning a 17th place individual finish at last season’s cross country finals, and reached the Regional finals in basketball last season.

Academically, Lauren has reached the status of Distinguished Student every semester, earned the Wells Country Foundation/Rotary Club Outstanding Scholar award in 2018, the Norwell High School Internship Spotlight

Award in 2019 and is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council.


She is also active on the Youth Resources Board and Golden Knights.

Outside of school, she is a ten-year participant in 4-H, having shown the Grand Champion Steer at the Wells County Fair in three of the last four years.

Lauren has also participated in State Fair level beef, sewing, fashion and foods events and had the Hoosier Beef Congress Champion Charolais Steer in 2019.

The daughter of Steve and Jodie Bales, Lauren often draws on inspiration from a family who have “supported me in absolutely everything I do”.


Trent McBride


Sarah Mahnensmith


Norwell high school senior Sarah Mahnensmith will be continuing her academic and athletic career at Ball State University.

Sarah will be part of the BSU cross country and track and field teams, while Special Education (Intense Interventions).

The daughter of Todd and Holly Mahnensmith, Sarah was a member of the Norwell swimming team, as well.

Her list of accomplishments include being named a News Channel 21 Scholar Athlete, Beyond the Game Leadership Award Winner in swimming and cross country.

She was also nominated for a National Performer of the Week in cross country.

Sarah’s holds school records in Cross Country, Swim (4 x 100 relay) and track (4 x 800 relay).

In the last nine combined seasons for the three sports, she has reached the State Finals meet seven times, becoming only the second Norwell athlete to reach the pinnacle meet in three separate sports.

Mahnensmith is a member of the National Honor Society and is involved with Champions Together and Riley Dance Marathon.

Ever thankful for her talents, Sarah draws inspiration from the drive and passion individuals with disabilities have.

“Every time I step to the line, I think about how grateful I am to be given the ability to run and I try not to take that for granted”, she noted.

“I know there are people in the world who have to work much harder than me to just be able to get the chance to run”, she continued.

See all these photos and more later today at Greenbear Photography on Facebook.

Hat Tip to each family for providing photographs.

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