Cougars depth leads to sweeping success

GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central coach Jan Hacker had a good problem Wednesday night at the Hancock County Track and Field Meet. She couldn’t say which one of her runners would win Athlete of the Meet.

Behind senior Savannah Girolami and sophomore Sydney Cook, the Cougars dominated from start to finish to win their fourth consecutive county championship. After all sixteen events were scored, Greenfield had 98 points, New Palestine 62 points, Mt. Vernon 50 points, and Eastern Hancock 50 points.

The Cougars won nine of the sixteen events contested on Thursday night including the 3,200-meter relay, 400-meter dash, 800, 200, 1,600 relay, pole vault, high jump, and long jump.

“It feels great to be honest with you,” Hacker said afterwards. “This group of seniors are some of the strongest leaders I’ve ever seen. … They are willing to step up and do whatever they are needed to do.”

Cook put the Cougars in the lead from the start running the anchor leg of the opening race, the 3,200-meter relay. She would also go on to win the 800 and 1600 individually.

“We’re really just scratching the surface with her,” Hacker said about her sophomore standout.

Despite winning three events, Cook lost out on Athlete of the Meet honors to teammate Savannah Girolami, who won the 200, 400, and 1,600 relay. Her most memorable race of the night, however, was the one she lost.

In the 100, Girolami and Mt. Vernon junior Alexa Christensen dueled to a photo finish. Christensen came out on top, finishing in 13.12 seconds, while Girolami finished in 13.13. Christensen was also part of the Marauders winning 400 relay team.

The Cougars dominance didn’t exist only in running events. Junior Ava Dickmann won both the long jump and high jump events. While the Cougars finished 1-2-3 in the pole vault, with junior Emily Jones taking home the crown.

New Palestine finished second on the night based on solid finishes throughout each race. Winners for the Dragons included junior Lillie Cain in the discus and Sarah Scwartz in the 3,200.

Eastern Hancock represented itself well Wednesday, winning three events. Senior Hope Spaulding won both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and senior Kaycee Ruble won the shot put.

“I was proud of Hope Spaulding,” Eastern Hancock coach Tom Huff said while trying to find a warm place on a bitterly cold spring night. “She has tendinitis in her Achilles and is running in so much pain its unbelievable.”

Despite the Royals’ fourth-place finish, Huff remained confident going into next week’s Mid-Hoosier Conference meet.

“We build the whole season, as most schools do, to try and win the conference,” Huff said. “After the performances I saw tonight, if we do what we need to, I think we’ll be okay.”

The Cougars are looking forward to their Hoosier Heritage Conference meet as well, as a Pendleton Heights Invitational win and Wednesday night’s win give Hacker belief they can succeed on the bigger stage as well.

“The conference meet is going to look a lot different than tonight did,” Hacker said. “I think Mt. Vernon and New Pal will be well prepared going in, but based on how we ran tonight, I think our girls will respond to the atmosphere.”