GREENFIELD — Sydney Cook is going places in a hurry. And on her current pace, it would be hard to imagine the Greenfield-Central sophomore without a state championship medal around her neck when her high school career is all said and done.

This year, though, after following up an impressive cross-country season, Cook will make her second-straight trip to the IHSAA State Track and Field Finals on Friday at Indiana University. She will run in three events.

But she won’t be alone.

The Cougars are bringing a crew with them to Bloomington, as seven individuals will compete against the state’s best.

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Cook’s seed time in the 800-meter dash is 2:18.17 after finishing in second at the Warren Central Regional last week.

She also will run on Greenfield-Central’s 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams with senior Savannah Girolami, who will also run in three events on Friday.

“This season has been fun for me; I did stuff I never thought I would be able to accomplish,” Cook said, who hopes to run at a Division I school in college. “I made goals for myself at the end of cross country season, keep getting better and work off last season.”

She’s done exactly that, posting times nearly two seconds faster this season in the 800. At state in 2015, Cook finished 17th in 2:19.74.

And earlier this season, Cook won multiple county titles and finished second in the 800 at the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet.

But now, she is fully aware of the competition that lies ahead. Fortunately for Cook, the sophomore speedster was able to get a taste of the competition at the sectional and regional meets. Racing against eventual regional champion Brooke Talhelm (2:15.38) of Franklin Central was beneficial.

“It’s going to be very intense,” Cook said of the state race. “I will just have to go with them from the beginning and see how well I can hold on to them.”

Cook will be in the fast heat where approximately 14 girls are separated by mere seconds.

“She (Cook) had a really strong cross-country season,” Greenfield-Central head coach Jan Hacker said. “She’s going to see others who have just as strong of a kick as she does (in the 800).”

Helping Cook this season has been the presence of the Girolami, who has basically been there and done that in track and field. Cook said she has been a great friend and better leader for her the last two seasons. 

“We all worked so hard and became so connected with one another that not going to state wasn’t an option,” Girolami said, who made it to Bloomington her sophomore season. “It’s nice to know that all our hard work has paid off.”

Girolami will run track at IPFW next season. She will certainly be in the mix for a state medal Friday, too, as her seed time (58.44) is just over three seconds off the lead qualifier.

Also performing on the 3,200 relay team with Cook and Girolami will be juniors Katie Helgason and Hayleigh Loyal.

On the 1,600 relay team, senior Amanda Flora, who will row in college, and freshman Mackenzie Polster join Girolami and Cook.

“She (Girolami), even as a freshman, came in as a strong leader,” Hacker said. “She helped develop this program. I don’t know what I would do without her and Amanda Flora.”

Girolami and Flora went to the state finals two seasons ago on the Cougars’ 1,600 relay team.

Hancock County will also be represented by two area throwers at the state meet.

Eastern Hancock senior Kaycee Ruble is finishing up a solid prep career after placing third at the Ben Davis Regional last week with a throw of 39-09.50. At state last season, Ruble placed seventh with a throw of 40-01.50.

And from New Palestine, Lillie Cain almost came from nowhere to reserve her first state finals appearance. She finished in third place in the shot put at the Warren Central Regional after throwing 38-01.75.

But for Greenfield-Central and Coach Hacker, this is the first time the Cougars will have participants in five events at state. It is also the first time in her career that two relays made it to the last meet of the season.

“We’ve gone in four events before, but not five,” Hacker said. “It is exciting. We just have to be ready to go that day.”

On to State

Sydney Cook

Event: 800-meter run

School: Greenfield-Central

Grade: 10

Last week: 2nd at Warren Central (2:18.17)

Top state seed: 2:13.89

Savannah Girolami

Event: 400-meter dash

School: Greenfield-Central

Grade: 12

Last week: 2nd at Warren Central (58.44)

Top state seed: 54.53

Emily Jones

Event: Pole Vault

School: Greenfield-Central

Grade: 11

Last week: 3rd at Warren Central (10-06)

Top state seed: 13-02

Greenfield-Central 3,200-meter relay

Runners: Sydney Cook, Savannah Girolami, Katie Helgason, Hayleigh Loyal

Last week: 2nd at Warren Central (9:50.07).

Top state seed: 9:23.70

Greenfield-Central 1,600-meter relay

Runners: Sydney Cook, Savannah Girolami, Amanda Flora, Mackenzie Polster

Last week: 2nd at Warren Central (4:03.16)

Top state seed: 3:58.58

Lillie Cain

Event: Shot put

School: New Palestine

Grade: 11

Last week: 3rd at Warren Central (38-01.75)

Top state seed: 45-10.00

Kaycee Ruble

Event: Shot put

School: Eastern Hancock

Grade: 12

Last week: 3rd at Ben Davis (39-09.50)

Top state seed: 45-10.00

Author photo
Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or