Squaws earn first NHC track title

    NEW HAVEN—Bellmont scored in all but one event and captured five first place finishes en route to snaring its first-ever Northeast Hoosier Conference girls track conference title Monday night at the Patrick D. Monaghan Track and Field Facility at New Haven High School.
    "The story of the night is that our back-up runners came through to score. You've got to have the horses to win a meet like this and we benefited from scoring two people in a lot of the events," analyzed Bellmont coach Carl Risch.
    Risch proclaimed himself to be "absolutely thrilled" with the team title calling it "a big deal for us to win. We had a lot of great performances tonight and there weren't many events where we didn't get at least third place or better," he pointed out.
    Some slick scheduling of athletes by Risch helped Bellmont to the title as well. Figuring it would be a battle between the Squaws and Homestead and Carroll for the team title, Risch looked at every event for a way to score points and he found them with some unusual line-up switches that helped the Squaws place higher than normal in some events.
    Bellmont registered 122.5 points for the team victory while Carroll was eight points behind at 114.5 and Homestead was third with 103. East Noble, which led Friday night with 30 points when the meet was suspended due to inclement weather, was fourth at 82.5 followed by New Haven 59.5, DeKalb 52.5, Norwell 47, and Columbia City 41.5.
    To no one's surprise, Bellmont senior Holly Hankenson picked up three first place finishes but when she told Risch to put her in whatever event was needed to help the team score points to win, that's what Risch did.
    Thus, Risch penciled her in the 100 dash and she earned a second place finish in the finals with a time of :12.78.
    "That was huge for us. We took her off of the 4 x 4 relay team and put her in the 100 dash. While we may have won the 4 x 4 with her, we ended up fourth there (in 4:18.31) and that was good for five points. However, with her in the 100 dash, we get eight points from her and that's an event we probably wouldn't have scored in had she not run," Risch said.
    Hankenson had already picked up a victory in the 100 high hurdles  and was leading in the long jump last Friday night. She took just :15.38 to end the 100 hurdles event and finished at 16'10 in the long jump, over eight inches better than the second place finisher. In another event completed last Friday, Kenzie Funk was a half inch out of second at 34'1 and then Monday evening she earned a fifth place spot in the discus with a throw of 96'9.