Squaws take 2nd at NHC despite seven first places

    NEW HAVEN—Seven first place finishes, four conference and four school records, four blue ribbons for sprinter Alexis Harvey and three for teammate Holly Hankenson propelled the Bellmont Squaws to 131.5 points in the annual NHC girls track meet at the Patrick D. Monaghan Track and Field facility at New Haven High School Friday night.
    Still, with all the individual highlights, plus the fact that Bellmont coach Carl Risch was honored after the meet by being named NHC Coach of the Year, the Squaws couldn't top sixth-ranked Carroll as the Chargers captured the NHC title with 147 points, despite the fact they had only five first place finishes.
    Columbia City finished third at 76 followed by DeKalb 66.5 (led by a double win in the shot put and discus by thrower Kara Eck), Homestead 59.5, New Haven 58, East Noble 43, and Norwell 42.5.
    "What a night we had," said Risch, who in his usual style deflected talk about his honor and talked only of the results the Squaws had on the track.
    Going into the meet particular emphasis was placed on the 100 and 200 meter dashes where Harvey was seeded second and first respectively in the state. Homestead's Ari Nelson had the top time in the state entering Friday night's 100 meter race but Harvey absolutely destroyed her sprinting to a school and NHC record of :11.91, the first time a Bellmont or NHC girl has gone under 12 seconds in the 100 dash.
    "Alexis took what should have been a close race and made it a dominant one. I'd be shocked if anyone else in the state has beaten that time this year. I think tonight solidly establishes her as one of the top runners, if not the top, in the state," Risch lauded.
    In the 200 dash, Harvey won the preliminary qualifier at :26.44 and dug down deep to shatter the NHC and Bellmont record as she finished in the finals at :24.56, handing Nelson a 1.14 second defeat. Risch said this race is probably Harvey's best overall event.
    The 400 dash also went to Harvey in :59.18 beating Carroll's Arden Piepho by a mere .79 of a second. Those were the only two runners out of 16 who broke the one minute mark in the race.
    The Bellmont 4x400 relay team scored a massive win by knocking off the second place Carroll team by 5.79 seconds, as their 3:58.52 time edged the BHS school and NHC record of 3:59.15 set last year. Harvey ran the opening leg of the relay and never looked back handing off to freshman Emily Gunsett and then Bailee and Holly Hankenson ran the last two splits; Holly assured Bellmont of its lopsided win with a blistering :57 lap.