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ANDERSON—The Bellmont Squaws appear to be poised to defend their 2013 small school state indoor track championship this coming Saturday at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion following another stellar performance in a state qualifier held Saturday at Anderson University.
The Squaws qualified individuals in 10 of 11 events to be held after nearly two dozen qualifiers were held across the state in recent weeks and BHS coach Carl Risch, never one to go overboard in tooting his team's horn in advance, admitted
"we could easily score in seven or eight of the events and should be considered one of the top favorites to win."
Risch's confidence comes from the fact that Bellmont has three number one seeds in the small school division (classes 3A, 2A, and 1A), three number two seeds, and one third seed. The state qualifying events are combined to take the top 18 distances in the high jump and pole vault and the top 24 athletes in the other nine events.
Bellmont ran in two of the qualifiers with their first race coming a week ago at New Haven and then two days ago at Anderson. Unlike the New Haven event which was a scored race and the Squaws finished second only to defending outdoor state champion Northrop (no class differential there), the Anderson qualifier did not keep team scores.
Bellmont has two representatives in the 3,200 race including number one seed Bailey Beery. Beery chopped off 20 seconds from her time at the New Haven qualifier a week ago and went down to 11:25.87. That effort improved her status from being number five to number one. Cadi Faurote had an even more impressive improvement lopping off 49 seconds from New Haven to finish third overall at Anderson with a 11:56.71 time, a personal best for her.
Faurote is seeded tenth and Risch said he feels she has a good shot at placing at state (top eight positions score team points). "These were unheard of times at this stage of the season in a talented field. Bailey and Cadi were one-two most of the race (including the large school division runners as well) and Cadi got edged out of second right at the end," Risch noted.
Entering the 4x400 relay is another Bellmont number one seed (from New Haven) in Bailee and Holly Hankenson, Emily Gunsett and Ally Norby at 4:13.59. At Anderson, Risch tinkered with the line-up somewhat with Norby, Alyssa Strickler, Brittany Hartman and Marie Fisher running a 4:52 time.
"I think we're in good position to win this race which is important because relay races count double in terms of points," Risch added.
Holly Hankenson found some additional zip to her step in the long jump and went from 16'7 1/2 at New Haven to 17'1 1/2 at Anderson. That leap moved her from fourth seed to first seed.
Number two seeds at state are in the 4x8 relay, distance medley, and the 60 hurdles.