PENDLETON — Kiawna Cottrell’s goal going into the season was to find two seconds in the 400 meter dash.
“My goal was to get into the 55’s (seconds) in the 400 and be top three in the state,” said Cottrell. “Everything else was to improve on last season.”
Mission accomplished for the 2014 Herald Bulletin Female Track Athlete of the Year. Cottrell led the way as the Pendleton Heights Arabians girls track and field team won the Madison County Meet, the Pendleton Heights Invitational and another sectional title on their way to sending several team members to Bloomington for the state meet.
In 2013, Cottrell qualified for the state finals in the 400 meter dash and the long jump. Kiawna ran the 400 in 57.84 for a seventh place finish and did not place in the long jump.
In 2014, she qualified for the state finals in three events and left a slew of school and event records in her wake. The goal of breaking into the 55-second mark in the 400 was met at the state meet with a time of 55.76 and a second place finish to Pike’s freshman Lynna Irby, who ran her way to state titles in the 100, 200 and 400.
In addition to the 400, Cottrell scored fifth place finishes in the 200 and the long jump at the state meet. Kiawna also won the sectional title in the 100-meter dash, but did not run the 100 at regionals to concentrate on the other three events.
“(Assistant) Coach (Bill) Coggins and I are very proud of all that Kiawna has accomplished this year,” said Arabian coach Melissa Hagerman. “Not only did she walk away with most of the sprint records and long jump record for the school but she also has become a great competitor.”
The state meet was not only the culmination of hard work and dedication for Cottrell, but managing natural talent with the right mindset to put it to use. Hagerman credits Cottrell’s willingness to train as a junior along with Coggins’ training program.