It gets tougher, right now.
Bellmont has seven girls slated for action in the Northrop Girls Track Sectional tonight and, though Bellmont has one runner seeking a second straight state berth, and some talented freshmen who have some credentials to make it to state, there are no guarantees, just a lot of competition at one of the toughest track regionals in the state.
"I feel we have some real chances to get some girls to state," stated Bellmont coach Carl Risch. "(Alexis) Harvey made it last year by meeting the state standard and we have some girls who are already at standard level. They could make it regardless of their finish," said the coach.
Frosh Holly Hankenson now holds both BHS records in the hurdles and is taking aim at her first state experience. She is on the BHS 1600 relay team with sister Bailee Hankenson, Harvey and frosh Emily Roman, and that team is seeded ninth, though is capable of making a real run.
Bailee Hankenson will be in the high jump competition and she'll likely have to top her personal best of 5' to get out. The No. 1 jumper is at 5" 3.25".
Roman, Sarah Garner, Alyssa Strickler and senior Jessica Brewer, who is making her second appearance at the state track meet, are on the 3200 BHS team which is seeded 13th.
Harvey finished fifth last year in the regional 200 — the top three advance today — but made the standard and was able to compete in the 200 meter dash at the IHSAA State Girls Track Finals. She did not advance past her heat.
Harvey had an even better year in 2011, breaking her own records, but she has tough competition from girls from Wayne and North Side. Harvey is seeded third.
"I think she has a better run left in her," said Risch, thinking of her 200 meter run last week when she lost to the Wayne runner, a freshman.
Holly is seeded fifth in the 100 and fourth in the 300 hurdles. She set the school record in the 300 at sectional, beating the mark established by her mother, Bridget Boyle Hankenson. She'll have to repeat that record run and go about a 46.05 to advance.
"That's very possible," said Risch. "Holly is a strong competitor who rises to the occasion. We expect her to be right there in both races," said the coach.
The 1600 team, which ran a school record 4:01.96 at the NHC, is in the benefits from being in the fast heat. Northrop, the favorite, runs around 4:00. The Squaws were off their game last week at a rainy New Haven, going 4:11, but a return to their NHC form could put the foursome in the hunt for a state spot.
Bailee Hankenson won the open 400 sectional crown last week, and was scratched from the event for today. "We feel her chances weren't all that great in the 400, but one less event will give her a boost in that four by four relay," said Risch.
Adams Central has no runners in the meet. The top threat from South Adams is distance runner Hannah Moore, who is in two events.