Regional track preview
Pairings for the girls track regional set for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Northrop's Spuller Stadium in Fort Wayne have the Bellmont Squaws with a pair of second place seeds while three more individuals enter the competition with a fourth place ranking.
Overall, Bellmont will enter athletes in seven individual events and two relays while South Adams has one relay team and four individuals and Adams Central will bring participants for a relay and two individual races. The Northrop regional brings in athletes who finished in the top four in their respective event last week in sectionals at Bluffton, Marion, Northrop and East Noble.
To advance out of the Northrop regional, considered one of the toughest in the state, an athlete must place in the top three (16 contestants in each event) or meet the state standard in their event (determined by averaging the ninth place finish in an event at the IHSAA state finals for the past three years).
Bellmont's Alexis Harvey is seeded second in the meat grinder 200 dash run. She'll likely battle Wayne nemesis Brionna Thomas for the title in the event after being edged by Thomas in the sectional :24.66 to :24.92 in a race that saw Thomas establish a new Bluffton track sectional record. Both times are well under the state standard of :25.53.
The Bellmont 4 x 400 relay team also comes in second only behind Northrop. The Squaws will lead off with Harvey and then follow her with Allyson Norby, Bailee Hankenson, and Holly Hankenson. That foursome set a new Bellmont school record in the sectional with a 3:59.97 mark to easily win the race. The Squaws will have to put on their best running shoes to beat Northrop, however, as the Bruins went 3:55 in winning their sectional race.
Thomas set another sectional record last week in the 100 dash at :11.94 (state standard is :12.43) while Harvey was third at :12.29. This week, Harvey is ranked fourth in the event but has run a season best of :12.13.
"We're going to see probably four of the best sprinters in the state in this race," noted Bellmont coach Carl Risch, adding "three will automatically advance, but there could easily be a couple of more joining them by beating the state standard."
Holly Hankenson will take a pair of four seeds to Northrop in both the 100 high hurdles and the 300 low hurdles. Hankenson copped both events at the sectional with a school record :14.95 in the high sticks (also below the state standard of :15.09) and had nearly a two second win in the low hurdles at :45.66--just .03 of a second over the state standard.
With her 9'6 personal best leap in the pole vault in the sectional, Megan Schueler enters the regional fray tied for the eighth seed. The top eight placers in each event score team points.
Bailee Hankenson "could easily score for us" in the high jump according to Risch despite the fact she is seeded in a tie for ninth after topping 5'1 in the sectional. She has gone as high as 5'4 this year and since the state standard is 5'4 1/4, Risch feels she has a legitimate chance to move on in the high jump.
Bellmont won the Bluffton sectional 4 x 800 relay in 10:17 but that time was good enough for just an 11th place seed at the regional. Alyssa Strickler, Sarah Garner, Emily Roman, and Bailee Hankenson will be on the BHS crew in that event.
Garner will also be representing the Squaws in competition in the 3200 run although she has the 16th seed in a 16 person field with a 12:30.41 time. The winner of that race at Bluffton, South Adams' Hannah Moore (12:11.53) is a 12 seed at regional.
Based on sectional results, Adams Central's best chance for advancement to the state finals rests with Summer Harvey in the high jump and Ashley Faurote in the 400 dash. Both are seeded 13th as Harvey went 5'0 in the high jump and Faurote earned a special spot in the 400 when Bellmont scratched fourth place finisher (at sectional) Bailee Hankenson and that put Faurote in the regional with a 1:02.38 time.
The Adams Central 4 x 400 relay team of Faurote, Harvey, Erica Bluhm, and McKenna Macklin has a 14 seed with a sectional time of 4:16.39.