FORTVILLE — The four straight victories leading up to Tuesday’s Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet were nice and well-earned, but it was the HHC title the Greenfield-Central girls track and field team had long coveted for two distinct reasons:
1. The Cougars had never won the HHC crown.
2. G-C lost to champion Pendleton Heights by 1.5 points at the 2013 HHC Meet.
The blue and gold’s Drive for Five was completed with the cherry on top Tuesday at Mt. Vernon, as it filed 129 points to secure its initial HHC championship.
The Arabians (110.5) were second, followed by Mt. Vernon (92), Shelbyville (90) and New Palestine (71). Yorktown (57), Delta (36) and New Castle (32.5) rounded out the field.
The Cougars’ conference win was preceded by victories at the Pendleton Heights Invitational, the Greensburg Invite, the Hancock County Meet and the Cougar Chase Invite. All five wins have come in the past 13 days.
“Absolutely,” was G-C coach Jan Hacker’s response when asked if it was the conference meet that her team had really set it sights on before the season. “This has been a focus all year long. Many of the varsity members that were here last year wanted it. They wanted to make sure they got it this year. ... Yeah, we’ve been so close so many times.
“Anytime you can be the first in your school’s history, that’s outstanding. I’m really happy for this group that they got it.”
Freshman Maddie Wise was the lone Cougar to record two individual victories, taking home blue ribbons in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. Shelbyville’s Sydney Posz was the defending HHC champ in both hurdle events, but Wise outlasted her Golden Bear counterpart Tuesday, triumphing in the two races by a combined .49 seconds.
“Shelbyville’s hurdler is absolutely outstanding. She’s had some injuries this season. She’s still bouncing back from that,” Hacker said. “It’s good that Maddie is seeing her, and it’s going to help Maddie as we get into the second part of the season – the sectional, regional and state series.”
Wise will indeed see Posz at least once more at Tuesday’s Shelbyville Sectional, and likely again at the Shelbyville Regional May 27. The top four sectional winners move on to regional.
Hacker said Wise is not “completely and totally” healthy, and her ninth-grade hurdler wore a pained facial expression as she toughed out the last 50 meters of the 300 hurdles. But, Wise, who began running hurdles during middle school track, was all smiles post-meet, crediting G-C hurdle coaches Paula and Rick Culver for her progression this spring.
“The 300 is a little more difficult – obviously, it’s 200 more meters – but the team support really helped me get through it,” said Wise, who owns the school record in the 100 hurdles. “Running against different competition makes you run faster and better. Both coach Culvers have made me so much better.”
As for the other Cougar winners, Jackie Landuyt notched a top throw of 127 feet, seven inches to claim her second straight discus title. After missing last year’s HHC Meet due to illness, Regan Lewis cleared 5-4 to win the high jump. And the quartet of Lewis, Amanda Flora, Rachel Gottwald and Rebecca Flora timed in at four minutes, 10.60 seconds to claim the 1,600 relay.
“There some events where people really stepped up and did a fantastic job. We had some, oh, flaws in other areas,” said Hacker, who went out of her way to credit the team’s assistant coaches for contributing to the victory. “We didn’t perform quite where we needed to. But, the fact that so many other people stepped up, this truly was a team win. It took every person in every event for this to happen.”
One of G-C’s hiccups came in the 400 relay, where there was a dropped hand-off between the third and fourth legs for the second straight week. (The same thing happened at the county meet). The Cougars were neck-and-neck with eventual race winner MV prior to the miscue. G-C’s 400 relay made it to regional last year.
“We dropped it. I’ll admit that was not part of our plan this evening,” Hacker joked. “We really looked good in practice yesterday, so I’m not exactly sure what happened. But we’re going to have to fix it.”
The Coleman and Cottrell Show: Episode I
Pendleton Heights’ Kiawna Cottrell treated HHC Meet spectators to quite a show last spring, winning all four of her individual events – the 100, 200, 400 and long jump, setting a meet record in the latter – and was the main reason the Arabians successfully defended their conference crown.
Cottrell went on to compete in the 400 and long jump at the State Finals, earning a state medal by placing seventh in the 400.
The Pendleton senior got some sturdy competition from Mt. Vernon’s Olivia Coleman Tuesday, a former state placer in her own right.
The two went head-to-head in three events Tuesday, with Cottrell winning the 400 and long jump, and Coleman, who finished fourth at the 2012 State Finals in the 400, prevailing in the 200. Cottrell also won the 100 by surviving G-C’s Sammie McCoy and Amanda Flora.
Cottrell beat Coleman – who wasn’t fully healthy last spring after undergoing knee surgery in November 2012 – by four inches in the long jump and by 1.13 seconds in the 400. Cottrell’s 400 time of 57.39 topped Coleman’s meet record of 59.12 set in 2012. Coleman clocked in at 58.52, a mark that would’ve earned her 10th place at last year’s state meet.
Coleman, a junior, led through 300 meters, but couldn’t hold off Cottrell.
“I think she went out a bit fast,” MV girls coach Tim Leonard said of Coleman’s 400. “Kiawna tries to break at the (200-meter mark). She tries to tear you up at the 2. You have to play catch-up. I told Olivia to not let her get too far out ahead of her.”
Coleman returned the favor in the 200, surging past Cottrell late and outpointing her Arabian rival 26.57-26.68.
The two will see each other again at Tuesday’s Pendleton Heights Sectional, with at least one more meeting expected at the Ben Davis Regional May 27.
“That was great competition. They’re going to see each other at sectional, regional and state,” Leonard said. “I was saying to Olivia, ‘Either you’re going to state on her skirt tails, or she’s going to state. You girls have to work as a team.’ The Ben Davis Regional is tough.
“Pressure doesn’t bother (Coleman). She shot out of the cannon in that 200 and Cottrell relaxed a little bit when she got out ahead.”
The Marauders received a win in the 400 relay from the foursome of Javin Whiteside, Phylisia Donaldson, Aubri Benbow and Taylor Riggs. Zoe Harves was second in the high jump and pole vault, tallying personal bests in both events. Benbow was third in the 300 hurdles.
“I was thinking fourth or fifth. If we had a bad night, fifth. If we had decent night, fourth. But we had a great night and we got third,” Leonard said. “I thought it was a great night for us.”
Schwartz is NP’s top performer
New Palestine’s Sarah Schwartz delivered two top-three finishes for the Dragons, taking second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200.
Annabelle Dockins (long jump), Lillie Cain (shot put) and the 400 relay of Dockins, Gabbi Pierson, Kylie Dhonau and Kylie Zehner all recorded third-place finishes for NP.
The Dragons scored 22 more points than they did at last season’s HHC Meet, and moved up two places in the team standings.
Notes: Pendleton Heights’ Alex Buck defended her HHC crown in the 1,600 while also claiming the 3,200. … Shelbyville notched two wins with Blayre Scott (800) and Kennedy Weaver (pole vault). … Delta’s Kaitlyn Rawls’ toss of 35-10 was enough to beat Greenfield-Central’s Savannah Hart by five inches in the shot put. … A’Dreana Howard-Anderson, Sarah Hazen, Lauren Elston and Carly Trulock won the 3,200 relay in a school-record time of 9:59.45 for Yorktown. … New Castle competed in the HHC Meet for the first time. The Trojans will become a member in all HHC sports in the 2014-15 school year. … New Palestine will join G-C at the Shelbyville Sectional, while Eastern Hancock is at Pendleton Heights with Mt. Vernon. … The state’s top-ranked team, Warren Central, will compete at the Shelbyville Sectional.
Hoosier Heritage Conference Girls Track and Field Championships, Tuesday at Mt. Vernon
Greenfield-Central 129, Pendleton Heights 110.5, Mt. Vernon 92, Shelbyville 90, New Palestine 71, Yorktown 57, Delta 36, New Castle 32.5
Top 3 individual/relay results
100: 1. Cottrell (PH) 12.45; 2. McCoy (GC) 13.07; 3. A. Flora (GC) 13.44
200: 1. Coleman (MV) 26.57; 2. Cottrell (PH) 26.68; 3. Claxton (YT) 27.14
400: 1. Cottrell (PH) 57.39*; 2. Coleman 58.52 (MV); 3. Smith (NC) 1:01.61
800: 1. Scott (SH) 2:24.99; 2. Booher (PH) 2:25.05; 3. Girolami (GC) 2:25.77
1600: 1. Buck (PH) 5:14.30; 2. Schwartz (NP) 5:30.96; 3. Scott (SH) 5:34.36
3200: 1. Buck (PH) 11:32.13; 2. McCarty (PH) 12:00.89: 3. Schwartz (NP) 12:12.49
100 hurdles: 1. Wise (GC) 15.45; 2. Posz (SH) 15.56; 3. Box (DE) 16.29
300 hurdles: 1. Wise (GC) 48.81; 2. Box (DE) 49.19; 3. Benbow (MV) 49.44
400 relay: 1. MV (Whiteside, Donaldson, Benbow, Riggs) 52.40, 2. SH (E. Diemer, M. Diemer, Bailey, Tackett) 53.14; 3. NP (Pierson, Dhonau, Dockins, Zehner) 53.46
1600 relay: 1. GC (A. Flora, Lewis, Gottwald, R. Flora) 4:10.60; 2. SH (Tackett, Chavez, Davis, Scott) 4:12.00; 3. YT (Howard-Anderson, Claxton, Trulock, Murr) 4:15.60
3200 relay: 1 YT (Howard-Anderson, Hazen, Elston, Trulock) 9:59.45; 2. PH (Hinton, Wolfgang, Dudley, Booher) 10:01.96; 3. SH (A. Lubbe, Chavez, D. Lubbe, Scott) 10:13.58
High jump: 1. Lewis (GC) 5-4; 2. Harves (MV) 5-2; 3. Malapit (YT) 5-0
Pole vault: 1. Weaver (SH) 10-3; 2. Harves (MV) 9-6; 2. Muniova (NC) 9-6
Long jump: 1. Cottrell (PH) 17-03.75; 2. Coleman (MV) 16-11.75; 3. Dockins (NP) 15-11.50
Shot put: 1. Rawls (DE) 35-10; 2. Hart (GC) 35-05; 3. Cain (NP) 35-00.50
Discus: 1. Landuyt (GC) 127-07; 2. Rawls (DE) 115-10; 3. Baker (SH) 101-10
*HHC Meet Record