FORTVILLE — Sydney Cook had no part in Greenfield-Central’s first-ever Hoosier Heritage Conference Championship track and field championship.
She contributed mightily to its second.
Cook, a freshman, won the 800-meter title Tuesday at Mt. Vernon to help the Cougars edge Mt. Vernon 130-112 for their second straight team crown.
Her victory came immediately after Mt. Vernon’s Aubri Benbow knocked off defending 300 hurdles champ Maddie Wise of Greenfield-Central, closing the Cougars’ points lead to 71-70 against the Marauders.
“She’s meant so much to us,” Wise said. “Sydney’s been a great teammate, all the way around.
“When coach (Jan) Hacker laid it out to us (before the meet), she said we were within one point of each other, so we were all going to have to step it up and bring our best.”
Cook finished the 800 in two minutes, 20.08 seconds, nearly toppling the meet record of 2:19.54 set in 2003. Along with upperclassmen teammates Rachel Gottwald, Amanda Flora and Savannah Girolami, Cook led the Cougars’ 4×400-meter relay to a victory, as well, in 4:08.
“Some people think freshmen can’t do anything, so it was nice to show them,” Cook said. “To be in junior high, and then come in a join a team like this, it feels awesome.”
Cook broke Audrey Smoot’s school-record time in the 800 win, while senior Regan Lewis, already a program high jump record, set a new conference standard for Greenfield-Central with a winning jump of five feet, eight inches.
Wise successfully defended her 100 hurdle titles, beating the field in 16.10, well ahead of runner-up Benbow (17.22).
The Mt. Vernon senior edged the Cougars standout sophomore in the 300 hurdles, however, 47.07 seconds to 47.17, overtaking Wise down the stretch.
“I love watching Benbow race, love it,” said Mt. Vernon’s Olivia Coleman, very much the athlete of the evening.
The senior claimed four titles: in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump.
Coleman scorched the field to take the 100 crown in 12.61. Teammate Alexa Christenen finished runner-up in 13.09.
Coleman’s second win of the night came in the 400, in 58.38. She topped the 200 field in 25.76, ahead of second-place Girolami (26.74). And, equaling 2014 Pendleton Heights graduate Kiawna Cottrell’s four-win effort of a year ago, Coleman took the long jump title with a leap of 17-0.5.
“She was my biggest competition, by far,” Coleman said of Cottrell, who kept Coleman to one HHC win last season (in the 200), with Coleman then still not full strength following a sophomore-year knee injury. “It feels good being back to 100 percent.”
Coleman finished fourth in the State Finals in the 400 as a freshman, prior to the knee injury. She hopes to make a return to Bloomington, site of the championships, June 6.
“I’m so excited for sectional, really excited for regional,” Coleman said. “It’s a really tough regional, so you never know.”
The Marauders’ 400 relay group of Benbow, Christensen, Kiara Gibson and Alex Franklin picked up another host-squad victory in 50.8, helping the Marauders out-distance Pendleton Heights (86), Yorktown (84) and Shelbyville (83) for second place.
New Castles (64.5) was sixth, followed by New Palestine (53) and Delta (10.5).
“This year was more difficult,” said Hacker, who guided the Cougars to their inaugural conference crown last spring. “The whole field was strong.
“For us, it wasn’t one specific person. It was an entire team effort, each member doing her job. We had people who are willing to sacrifice in order to help the team.”
Erin Trimpe and Rachel Wineman registered New Palestine’s top finishes of the night, taking second in the pole vault and high jump, respectively. Trimpe cleared 10-3, behind Shelbyville’s Erin Diemer (10-6), while Wineman soared 5-1.
With a throw of 108-10.75, New Castle sophomore Caroline Warner won the discus, ahead of Greenfield-Central’s Caitey Sosnowski (99-5.5) and New Palestine’s Lillie Cain (99-3.5).
Pendleton Heights freshman Grace Baer won the 1,600 (5:21). Yorktown’s Madelin Aul of Yorktown registered first place in the 3,200 (11:40.54).
Notes: Lewis broke the previous HHC meet high jump record of 5-7, set by Kristi Thomason of Hamilton Southeastern in 1994. … Shelbyville set a new meet record in the 3,200 relay with a time of 9:54.45, breaking Delta’s 2002 standard of 9:56.76. … New Palestine’s Sarah Schwartz (foot), a second-place 1,600 HHC finisher a year ago, and Annabelle Dockins (knee), a third-place longer jumper, didn’t compete Tuesday. … Mt. Vernon will also host the boys conference meet on Thursday. … Shelbyville will host Greenfield-Central and New Palestine in the girls sectional next Tuesday, while Pendeton Heights will host a sectional that includes Mt. Vernon and New Castle, as well as Eastern Hancock.
Hoosier Heritage Conference Girls Track and Field Championship team results, Saturday at Mt. Vernon.
Greenfield-Central 130, Mt. Vernon 112, Pendleton Heights 86, Yorktown 84, Shelbyville 83, New Castle 64.5, New Palestine 53, Delta 10.5