FORT WAYNE—Bellmont's girls track team finished third out of 14 teams in the indoor Fort Wayne Invitational - HSR Qualifier held Saturday at IPFW.
The showing by the Bellmont team, considered by many to be one of the stronger teams in northeast Indiana this spring, pleased Coach Carl Risch who noted "it was a pretty competitive meet and I think we finished pretty much where we were expected to be."
The Braves finished in 10th place in the field for the boys.
There are qualifying meets being held at various locations throughout the state (including another event next Saturday at Anderson in which the Squaws are entered) and times and distances will be ranked together so that the top 24 in each event will advance to the indoor state track meet at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion on March 16.
Risch said he feels confident that several of the Bellmont performances "will easily be in the top 24."
In individual results, Holly Hankenson placed second in the long jump at 16'5 3/4 and in the 55 meter hurdles with a clocking of :08.67 (just 0.07 seconds behind winner Jaquell Taylor of Northrop). Twin sister Bailee went 5'1 in the high jump for a second place finish as well.
Speedster Alexis Harvey "showed no lingering effects whatsoever from the knee injury she had last fall" according to Risch and posted a third place finish in the 55 meter dash at 7.45. Bellmont also scored third place finish points in the pole vault competition with Megan Schueler clearing 8'6 and Rachel Klingensmith went 7'6 to pick up fifth spot for four team points.
Just out of the scoring parade in individual events was Kenzie Funk who finished ninth at 31'9.
What greatly pleased Risch was the performance of the relay teams for the Squaws.
A second place finish was recorded by Harvey, Bailee Hankenson, Emily Gunsett, and Holly Hankenson in the 4 x 400 relay in 4:14.07 and then the 4 x 800 team of Bailee Hankenson, Sarah Garner, Bailey Beery, and Holly Hankenson was third in 10:19.17. Bellmont was fourth in the 4 x 200 race with Harvey, Gunsett, Allyson Norby, and Andrea Fruchte posting a 1:54.16 time (beating Snider by .02 of a second).
The girls distance medley relay team of Emily Roman (1200 meters), Beery (400 meters), Alyssa Strickler (800 meters) and Garner (1600 meters) ended up seventh with a 14:29.50 combined time.
"We didn't come into this meet trying to win but simply went out to try and qualify people for the state meet," Risch said, adding "we had some awfully good early season times. Some of our finishes were times we were running in mid-April last year. Our goal is to have a pretty strong contingent of girls at the state indoor meet."
Depending on the number of qualifiers Bellmont has for the meet at Marion, they should be considered one of the top entries since there is a meet for teams in class 1A, 2A, and 3A (Bellmont is in 3A) and then another for 4A and 5A teams. The two teams that beat Bellmont Saturday, Carroll (97 points) and Northrop (92 points) will both be in the other meet.
Risch pointed out the Squaws have had just three weeks of practice and that "we still don't know what everyone's good at. We're just getting started and some of these other teams are in mid-season form already. Carroll and Northrop are probably two of the top five teams in the state and we went to this qualifier and competed favorably with them."
Bellmont took third with 61 points (scored on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis) and other teams included Wayne 35, Leo 29, Elkhart Central 23, Snider 20, New Haven 19, Norwell 14, Bishop Dwenger 14, DeKalb 10, Westview 6, Churubusco 5, and Manchester 3.