With entries in five events at the IHSAA girls state finals in track Friday evening, Bellmont coach Carl Risch says he believes his Squaws have a chance at finishing among the top 10 in the team standings.
Following the girls action on Saturday will be the boys state finals with Bellmont having the only entrant from Adams County in Cam Bienz in the high jump.
The Squaws are being led into action by senior Holly Hankenson who is seeded number one in the state in the long jump with a seed of 18'8, a distance that is six inches farther than the number two seed, Yamani Hunter of Evansville Bosse. Caitlyn Redmon of Warren Central is third at 18'0 and those three are the only leapers in the field of 30 athletes who have hit 18'0 or better.
The state standard, which is established by taking the average time or distance of the ninth place finisher at state over the past three years, is 17'6 1/2 in the long jump. Fourteen of 30 met or beat the standard in the long jump.
Hankenson is also poised to score points for Bellmont in both high hurdles and low hurdles. In the 300 low sticks, Hankenson is one of six (out of 27 entrants) who met the state standard of :45.14 as she cruised out of the regional at Northrop with a :44.56 time and has the third fastest time in the field. She's entered in the same heat as Concordia's Symone Black, the number one performer at :42.51.
There will be three heats run in the 300 hurdles with the Hankenson-Black match-up coming in the fastest of three heats to be held. Unlike the 100 high hurdles, the 300 event will take the nine best times overall among the three heats to determine the finish of the race.
Hankenson has the ninth fastest time in the 100 high hurdles at :15.00, a clocking which beat the state standard of :15.09. Risch said he believes Hankenson can place higher in this event than where she is seeded. In this race, the top two finishers in each heat will automatically advance to a final round as will the next three best overall times.
Bellmont will also put its 4x8 relay team into action Friday. They qualified at 9:38.36 which is 16th out of 27 teams. Risch said he is tentatively looking at running Emily Roman in the first 800 meter leg followed by Emily Gunsett, and then having seniors Cadi Faurote and Alyssa Strickler bring it home with the last two splits. Bellmont's chances of scoring in this event were severely hampered when Holly Hankenson's twin sister, Bailee, was injured late in the season and was unable to compete in the sectional due to a foot injury.
Risch said the Squaws "would almost have certainly scored" in the 4x8 with Hankenson's presence but he is confident the team that will run Friday will improve its seeding position in the final results.