FORT WAYNE—The Bellmont girls track team served notice Saturday they not only expect to repeat as the indoor state champions in the small school division but that they'll be in the hunt for the IHSAA state title in early June in Bloomington.
That notice came from a "very good day" as coach Carl Risch put it after the results of a state qualifier meet for the indoor tournament at the Hilliard Gates Center on the IPFW campus which leads to the state finals on March 21 at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion. There are approximately two dozen qualifiers throughout the state.
Those results included five first place finishes for the Squaws out of 11 events held and the Squaws held their own with defending IHSAA champion (Bellmont was third last year in the outdoor state finals) Northrop being edged 85-81.5.
After all qualifying events are finished, the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (IATCCC) will pick the top 24 times or distances and those athletes will compete for the indoor state team title in Marion.
Risch said from what he can see on the IATCCC website, Bellmont is at or near the top qualifying time/distance in the events they won and several other events as well.
"From the way we finished, it was apparent the weather hasn't affected us as much as maybe other teams due to our training," Risch noted, adding "we beat almost all of the seeded times or distances in the event. We went into the meet with a lot of questions such as how would the recent weather affect us but the girls performed great. We had some absolutely fantastic efforts posted Saturday," Risch said.
Bellmont scored in nine of the 11 events overall led by senior Holly Hankenson with two individual firsts. Holly was the "class of the field" according to Risch and easily dominated the long jump competition with a winning leap of 16'7.5 (second place was 15'10.5) and then sped to a 9.22 finish for a blue ribbon in the 60 meter hurdles.
Bailey Beery paced herself well in the 3,200 race allowing Leo freshman Lindsey Marriott to blaze her way to about an 80 meter held at the halfway mark but the Lion runner wasn't able to hold that strong effort and Beery kicked her way to an easy win by :23.82 with a time of 11:45.73. The big story in that event, however, was a fourth place finish by Bellmont senior Cadi Faurote in 12:45.36 and Risch exclaimed "what a race that was for Cadi" and that "both girls ran faster than we expected."