NEW PALESTINE — Another big meet, another big victory for the Greenfield-Central girls track team.
Buoyed by seven event wins and two meet records, the Cougars walked away Wednesday evening with their second straight Hancock County Track and Field championship.
G-C tallied 97.67 points, way ahead of Mt. Vernon (63), New Palestine (56) and Eastern Hancock (27.33). MV’s Olivia Coleman was named Athlete of the Meet after winning all four of her events.
The county triumph was the blue and gold’s third straight impressive victory following wins at the Pendleton Heights (Thursday) and Greensburg (Saturday) Invitationals.
“We’re on a roll. It’s great,” G-C girls coach Jan Hacker said. “I’m very fortunate to have such a hard-working group that operates as a team. I’m pretty lucky.”
Two Cougars forever left their mark in county history Wednesday. Freshman Maddie Wise broke former New Palestine star Corinne Zehner’s four-year-old mark (15.68 seconds) in the 100 hurdles, clocking in at 15.46. Wise also won the 300 hurdles in a new school record time of 47.65.
Junior Regan Lewis broke the oldest girls county meet record by clearing 5-6 in the high jump, barely better than the 5-5 mark established by G-C’s Chris Essington in 1982, the year of the original county meet. Wednesday, the high jump runner-up was Shelby Mourey (5-3), who bested 2012 champ Lewis at the 2013 county gathering.
Wise and Lewis weren’t the only Cougars to make noise. Sophomore Savannah Girolami ended Eastern Hancock senior Kiersten Schrope’s two-year reign in the 800. 2013 county Athlete of the Meet Jackie Landuyt repeated as champion in the discus (122-06.50). Savanna Brock cleared 9-0 to claim the pole vault. And the 1,600 relay of Lewis, Girolami, Amanda Flora and Becca Flora prevailed in 4:06.53, flirting with the county record of 4:06.07 set in 2011 by New Palestine.
Prior to the outdoor season, Hacker didn’t exactly pencil in victories at Pendleton Heights, Greensburg and county, and could only praise her group’s sustained effort post-meet.
“It’s the way that they push themselves and each other and the heart that they have,” she said. “I can teach skills, I can teach fundamentals – I cannot teach heart. That’s something they have to dig deep and find within themselves. Fortunately, I have a group that believes in that and does that.”
G-C returns to action Friday at home in the Cougar Chase Invitational against EH, Franklin, Frankton, Horizon Christian, Irvington Prepatory Academy and Rushville. The team will chase its first-ever Hoosier Heritage Conference title Tuesday at Mt. Vernon.
Hacker hopes her squad can make it four in a row Friday.
“I wouldn’t count us out,” she said.
Marauders’ Coleman announces her return
Mt. Vernon junior Olivia Coleman competed in the 2013 county meet, but it wasn’t the Olivia Coleman track observers were used to seeing.
As a freshman in 2012, Coleman won county 400 title and eventually placed fourth in the State Finals in the same event. After suffering a knee injury in November of 2012, Coleman returned in time to compete in last year’s county get-together, but recorded zero wins and wasn’t 100 percent healthy.
Coleman looked like her old self Wednesday.
She began her day by rocketing to a win in the 100 meters in 12.39 seconds, one one-hundredth of a second faster than former Eastern Hancock sprinter Alexis Laska’s county meet record set in 2001.
Wins in the 200, 400 and long jump followed, making Coleman the lone athlete to earn blue ribbons in each race she entered Wednesday.
“It feel awesome to finally be back and running the times I ran freshman year,” she said.
Even Hacker, an opposing coach, was thrilled to see Coleman back on the track.
“Anytime an athlete of that caliber suffers an injury, it’s heart-breaking for everyone. I’m glad she’s back,” Hacker said. “I’m glad she’s going as strong as she is. She just represents our county so well.”
Being rewarded with Athlete of the Meet honors – the first MV girls track member to gain that award since Hannah McKnight in 2010 – served as validation for Coleman.
“Getting the award meant a lot and it did kind of pump and make me say, ‘Maybe I can go back to state again,’” she said. “It’s a blessing.”
Coleman’s foremost goal this season is to make it back to the State Finals and take home a medal. Asked if that could be done in multiple events, Coleman smiled.
“We’ll see,” she said.
Notes: New Palestine’s Sarah Schwartz picked up a pair of individual wins in the 1,600 and 3,200 while also anchoring the victorious 3,200 relay. Other 3,200 relay members were Kylee Keller, Mattie Waggoner and Bailey Wallace. … The quartet of Taylor Riggs, Javin Whiteside, Aubri Benbow and Phylisia Donaldson claimed the 400 relay for Mt. Vernon. … EH’s Kaycee Ruble won the shot put with a school record throw of 37-02.5.