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FORT WAYNE—The Bellmont Squaws advanced individuals in four different events to the IHSAA state finals with sparkling efforts Tuesday night at the girls regional track meet at Northrop High School.
The Squaws finished tenth overall as a team out of approximately 40 teams represented at the regional scoring 29 points, an accomplished that tickled coach Carl Risch pink.
"We're pretty thrilled to be going down there (to the state finals at Indiana University in Bloomington) in four events. I think we could legitimately score in all four events at state. I thought the girls handled the pressure of a big meet like this really well. It's one thing to be seeded high in some events like we were, it's quite another to come out focused and finish as well as we did," Risch praised.
To advance to the state finals, a girl must finish in the top three in her event or match or beat the state standard (an average of the ninth place finish in that event at the state finals in the past three years).
Bellmont's Holly Hankenson was spectacular for the Squaws as she will advance in both the 100 high hurdles and the 300 low hurdles. The 100 sticks found Holly ending up fourth, but she moves on via the fact she beat the state standard of :15.09 with a solid :14.96. Then in the 300 hurdles, she shattered the Bellmont school record she set earlier this year--:45.44--with a new standard of :44.83 to finish third (four girls in this race beat the state standard).
The hurdles competition was extremely fierce with defending state champion Skyler Carpenter of Westview winning both events. Carpenter's time of :42.31 in the 300 hurdles was so dominant that it beat the 1987 state finals mark of :42.51 but since this was a regional, it doesn't count as a new state record.
Hankenson was battling Simon Black of Concordia in the 300 hurdles and was running a strong second to Carpenter late in the race but she tipped the last hurdle and that seemed to disrupt her balance momentarily. That was just enough to push Black into second place by .52 of a second ahead of Hankenson.