Bright futures: Young athletes gain important experience at State Finals


BLOOMINGTON — The ground floor of whatever success New Palestine girls track experiences the next few years was built Saturday.

None of the six Hancock County athletes who qualified for the annual State Finals at Indiana University brought home a medal presented to the top-nine finishers at each event.

However, Dragons’ freshman Jordan Reid fell short of making the finals in the 100-meter dash by only .17 of a second. Her preliminary time of 12.39 seconds was 12th overall compared to the slowest finals’ qualifier — Fishers’ freshman Tamia Perryman.

Reid was even closer in the 200, placing 10th with a prelim effort of 25.52 seconds.

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“I’m not disappointed at all. It was so fun to see all the great runners there. Everyone was so big and tough in the starter’s blocks, and I was shaking,” Reid said with a laugh. “My adrenaline was pumping. It was crazy.

“But I feel being so close will motivate me for the next three years.”

New Palestine’s other competitors also benefited by performing in front of over 5,000 spectators at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track Complex.

This would be sophomore Victoria Crowder, whose time of 59.28 seconds was 19th-fastest in the 400-meter dash, and freshman Kaylin Casner coming in 18th in the 1,600 in 5:15.79.

“I think just going down there and competing as well as they did for as young as they are will help them,” Dragons coach Kyle Ralph said. “A lot of people can crumble at the State Finals, but it was great to see them perform so well.

“Our girls team is incredibly young, and you feel pretty positive when two of the girls in the core group are freshman and the other is a sophomore.”

Greenfield-Central seniors Jennifer Flora and Emily Jones were able to conclude their high school careers on the biggest of stages.

Flora placed 13th in the discus with a throw of 122 feet, 8 inches. In the pole vault, Jones made the opening height of 10 feet, but was out shortly thereafter to finish in a tie for 20th.

Crystal Peterson’s time of 47.03 seconds was good enough to earn her 19th-place in the 300-meter hurdles.