By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The road to the state championship has been filled with a few hurdles for the area’s girls track and field teams this spring. Mother Nature has been none too kind by dropping rain and snow on much of the first half of the year. Now that the weather has broken, teams are scrambling to get some much-needed track time and prepare for the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s sectional round.
The teams take to the track tonight, and here are a few things to watch out for:
1. Does Pendleton Heights have enough to repeat? The top two teams at the Pendleton sectional seem to be the host Arabians and the Mount Vernon Marauders. They have faced each other twice, once in a tri-meet and again in the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet, and each won once. PH has hit its stride at the right time and could ride the momentum of the conference title into the sectional.
In the sprint events, look for PH’s Kiawna Cottrell to glide past the competition as she has posted sub-12.50-second times in the 100-meter dash and low-26-second marks in the 200. Both times are among the fastest in the state this season. If she enters the same four events that she did in the HHC tournament — 100, 200, 400 and long jump — she would be primed to collect 40 points for the Arabians.
Pendleton Heights coach Melissa Hagerman said her squad has the ability to be represented in the coveted top four in each of event. She added that it will be key for that to occur for the Arabians to contend for a sectional crown.
2. Who are the best of the rest? Look for Lapel to score in the four- to eight-point range in many events, with a shot at a couple of wins, especially in the throwing events with Morgan Tarlton. She has hurled the shot put 36 feet 5 inches and discus 124-01, both near the top 10 in the state this season. Multiple runners placing high in a race could spell success for the Bulldogs.
“I thought early in the season our depth would help us, and it sure has,” Lapel coach Nick Clarkson said. “Places between third and eighth have really racked up a lot of points. We have a shot. I am hoping, based on how the girls have been practicing and the work they put into it, that it will pay off and they will bring their ‘A’ game.”
Madison-Grant has a pair of throwers who will challenge to advance from Sectional 19. Bethani Herniak and Rachel Coppess are fresh off a 1-2 finish in the shot put during the Central Indiana Conference meet last week. Herniak also captured the discus event with a 102-6.
3. Are there any sleepers who can make a run to the regional round? Lapel will send sisters Plenseh-Tay and Prisca Sakeuh to the line in sprint events. They may not challenge Cottrell for the sectional title, but they will be in the hunt to crack the top four to advance in the 100 and 200. Prisca Sakeuh will also be in the hunt in the high jump after clearing 4 feet 10 inches at the Indiana Crossroads Conference meet.
“Generally when people see Lapel girls track they underestimate (us) because of our history,” Clarkson said. “I think people are starting to get to know us now after our conference win and Park Tudor win.”
Liberty Christian’s Shaylie Rayl should be in contention for one of the four top spots in the 100- and 200-meter dashes based on her season best times of 12.94 in the 100 and 27.30 in the 200.