BLOOMINGTON — Atop a hill overlooking the east side of Indiana’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, the Greenfield-Central girls track team gathered at its tent and decompressed.
After expending every ounce of energy the group had, collectively and individually, during the 43rd Annual IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals, the setting sun Friday evening finally signified the end.
“When you start the day at 3 o’clock and finish it up at almost 9 with the sun beating down on you and the humidity, that’s a long day,” Greenfield-Central head coach Jan Hacker said. “I’m proud of them.”
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Though the Cougars weren’t able to secure a state medal in any of the team’s five events, it was a success, said Hacker and the Cougars, who huddled for photos and playful fun before hopping back on the bus to trek north to Hancock County.
Seniors Savannah Girolami and Amanda Flora shared their coach’s sentiment after completing their final event of the day, the 4×400 relay with freshman Mackenzie Polster and sophomore Sydney Cook.
“Even though our times didn’t really show it, getting to state is an accomplishment in itself,” Girolami said. “As long as we are here, left everything out there and tried everything we could, we can’t be ashamed of anything really.”
The relay team ran to a 23rd place finish in a time of 4:05.02, just a few seconds shy of their goal and two seconds beyond their runner-up regional time of 4:03.16.
“We wanted to go sub-four in the 4×400. That was the plan. It didn’t work out, and they were disappointed in that part of it, but I’m not disappointed in their performance because they did go for it and ran well,” Hacker said. “Overall, I’m extremely pleased with how we performed. We went out and pushed ourselves and started the day with a school record.”
The relay team of Cook, Katie Helgason, Girolami and Hayleigh Loyal placed 21st in the 4×800 with a time of 9:46.03. The Cougars 4×800 relay team was runner-up at the Warren Central Regional last week. They posted a time of 9:50.07 to break a school record.
In Girolami’s third event, the IPFW recruit finished 16th overall in the 400 in 58.60. Cook ran to a 23rd placement in the 800 with a time of 2:22.26. She posted a 2:18.17 for runner-up at the Warren Central Regional last week.
“The field took off extremely fast, and I don’t think Sydney was expecting that,” Hacker said. “There was this gap between the lead runners and where she was. She had to use so much energy in that gap to catch up, and the group never slowed down.
“It was a strong field. It’s a race she will learn from and build from for next year when she returns. Sometimes that’s the best thing, to learn, especially as a sophomore.”
Junior Emily Jones cleared 10-00 on her first attempt in the pole vault. Setting the school’s indoor record at 10-00 and outdoor at regional with a 10-03, Jones was 25th overall on Friday.
“It’s hard to get here. It’s probably the hardest meet next to regional. Just getting here is an accomplishment itself,” Flora remarked. “Competing to get placed, with so many schools and athletes, it’s hard because everyone here is good. There’s a reason everyone is here. It’s not every day you get to bring this many people to state.”
Eastern Hancock’s Kaycee Ruble, who placed seventh at state a year ago, fell short of her repeat all-state bid in the shot put. Last year, she set a personal best with a throw of 40-01.50.
At regional, Ruble reached 39-09.5 for third.
At state, the senior hit 39-00 for 13th overall. New Palestine’s Lillie Cain was 17th in the shot put with a throw of 37-11.50.