By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
FAIRMOUNT, Ind. —
Mother Nature continued to play havoc on the Madison County high school track and field teams, as the temperatures hovered around 40 degrees for the 2013 Madison County Track and Field Championships at Madison-Grant High School on Friday.
For the second straight year, and the fourth since the county championship began in 1996, the Pendleton Heights Arabians made a clean sweep of the hardware by capturing both the boys and the girls crowns.
“We are doing the right things this time of year,” Arabians boys coach Ryan Potter said. “Our girls team has set the bar pretty high for us to try and chase them down.”
Unlike last season when there was little question to who was going to win early in the tournament, this year it came down to the 13th scored event for the girls and the 14th for the boys.
Heading into the final three girls events, Pendleton Heights and Lapel were tied with 117.5 points. The next event to be scored was the 200-meter dash. Junior sprinter Kiawna Cottrell ran it in 26.30 seconds, fast enough for a first-place finish, but more importantly for the team — 10 points. Those points put the Arabians up by three.
With that win, Cottrell finished the night with three first-place finishes, including the 100-meter dash (12.71) and the long jump (16-feet-8).
The Arabian girls won a total of seven events. Perhaps the biggest came in the 3,200 when Alex Buck and Chelsea Blackwell scored a one-two finish to put the meet out of reach for Lapel.
“I am pretty proud of the girls,” Pendleton Heights coach Melissa Hagerman said, “Lapel, wow, they were a good competitor. They gave us some good competition. We had a lot of first-place finishes.”
Senior Emma Manchess captured two first-place finishes, the 1,600 and the 4X800 relay. With the team crown, she will leave Pendleton Heights as a four-time county champion.
“It is great to be a part of this team,” she said. “We are like family. It was great to come back and win it again my senior year.”
Anna Dudley also joined in on the victories with a first-place finish in the 800.
Not to be outdone, the boys team from Pendleton Heights also recorded seven victories, with the biggest being in the next to the last race of the night.
Anderson held a nine-point lead heading into the 3,200. Potter said one of his team’s goals was to take first and second in the distance races, and that is what they did as Eli Young took first, followed by Steven Win. The 18-point total gave the Arabians a 130-122 lead.
“The reality of it set in that we could win this,” Potter said. “Anderson got out early, they were running away of it. We got the best out of our kids. I can’t say enough about how hard our kids work.”
Other winners on the boys side for the Arabians was Brandon Smith in the 1,600, Colby Knecht in the 800, Sean Brady in the long jump, Skyler Prol in the shot put, as well as relay teams in the 4X400 and 4X800.
The Pendleton Heights boys now have five county championships, and the girls have earned eight.