COLUMBIA CITY—At any other time of the track season, Bellmont coach Carl Risch and his Squaws would have had big circles drawn around Tuesday night's NHC triangular match-up between Carroll, Columbia City, and Bellmont, arguably the three best girls' teams in the conference.
However, with the NHC tournament coming up on Friday night and not wishing to "show all our cards," Risch penciled in some different entries for the meet and the state's seventh-ranked Carroll Chargers took first place with 73.67 points. Bellmont, with six first-place finishes, was a solid second at 58.33 while Columbia City, a team with several potential state finals athletes, was at the bottom with 34.
"We didn't run our usual line-up in every event," Risch said, adding "we still had some tremendous efforts as we tied a couple of school records, Holly Hankenson came away with three firsts, and Alexis Harvey had two blues."
Risch said he feels good about the Squaws' chances in the NHC meet Friday night at New Haven which starts at 5 p.m. at Paul Armstrong Stadium.
"There are a couple of events we'll score well in that we didn't tonight," he said, in particular looking at the 4x400 relay (Bellmont was last Tuesday night in a hotly contested race) "and I'm really looking forward to our rematch on Friday. I honestly think we can take it."
In addition to the sterling shows by Harvey and Hankenson, Risch lauded the performances of freshman Bailey Beery and senior Megan Schueler.
Beery clipped nine seconds off her previous best time in the mile run to finish 5:13 for second place but what really pleased Risch was the fact that she beat veteran state finalist runner Samantha Roush of Columbia City for the first time in three attempts this year and that her time nearly matches the state standard (which if had been done in the sectional or regional would have automatically qualified her for the state finals in Bloomington in June.
"It was an outstanding effort by Bailey. She's really brought her times down in the last week or so," Risch noted.
Schueler tied the Bellmont school record of 9'6 in the pole vault (she was second Tuesday night), soaring an amazing one feet over her previous best effort. She joins Bellmonters Myranda Zimmerman (2004) and Erika Hammond (2007) as the top jumpers at Bellmont now.