FORT WAYNE—The Bellmont girls track team qualified athletes for the IHSAA state finals track meet in eight events Tuesday night and established five new school records en route to a huge second place team finish in the regional meet at Northrop High School.
"Good performances all around the board," exclaimed a pumped-up coach Carl Risch, as he analyzed the work his team put forth at the regional.
Bellmont was led on the night by junior Holly Hankenson who charged up her jets in winning the long jump competition with a school record leap of 18'11 3/4. That shattered the old mark--ironically also held by Hankenson--that was set earlier this year of 18'3 3/4.
An initial review of the seven other regionals in Indiana Tuesday night showed Hankenson's jump was the best in the state which will seed her as number one going into the state finals on Saturday, June 1 at Indiana University's track and field facility in Bloomington.
Hankenson also went toe-to-toe with Concordia's Symone Black in both the 100 high hurdles and the 300 low hurdles with Black escaping with narrow decisions in both races. Black won the 100 hurdles at :14.20 while Hankenson cross the line at :14.52; both racers were the only two to break the state standard time of :15.07 and did so easily. Hankenson's effort broke another BHS record she held of :14.67.
In the 300 low hurdles, four runners beat the state standard of :45.32 (meaning fourth place finisher Makelle Skelton of Northrop will advance to state as well--the top three finishers plus those who beat the standard time or distance go on) with Black and Hankenson dominating the race with times of :42.58 and :43.69 respectively. Bethany Neeley of Eastern was third at :44.20. Hankenson's race was her third school record of the night with her old mark of :44.70 falling by the wayside.
Hankenson ran the anchor leg of the Bellmont 4x400 relay team that finished third overall out of 16 teams in 3:56.90 (standard 3:58.51). Bellmont ended up just behind Northrop, the team regional winner Tuesday night, and Eastern and those three schools were the only ones beating the standard time.