PENDLETON — The goal was set months ago, and it was nearly achieved once already.
On Tuesday night, the Mt. Vernon girls 4×800-meter relay team finally obtained it — at the perfect time.
A week prior, the Marauder relay foursome of Alexandra Overshiner, Lydia Carrell, Emma Gasiorek and Morgan Tharp broke the Hoosier Heritage Conference meet’s 11-year-old record in a time of 9 minutes, 56.68 seconds.
During the Pendleton Heights Track and Field Sectional seven days later, they shattered the school’s record by winning the 4×800 relay in 9:54.98.
The Marauders won three events overall at sectional and advanced in 11 total to finish second with 117 points behind champion Lawrence North (170), which won seven events.
Eastern Hancock placed a program-best fourth with 54.50 points, which was ahead of host Pendleton Heights with 51. New Castle was third with 90.50 points.
Tharp was first in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:26.20 for Mt. Vernon, while Anna Stanfield won the 300-meter hurdles in 49.70.
However, the crown victory unfolded early on for the Marauders. The key was the start, and Overshiner set the tone as the lead leg with a personal-best.
“Our first meet of the season, we decided we were going to break that 4×800 record, even at our team meeting before the season started. The team definitely had to overcome some obstacles and adversities this year, so I’m super proud of everyone for what we’ve accomplished and having so many people advance this season,” Tharp said.
The Marauders’ advancements into next week’s Ben Davis Regional were consistent throughout, with the top-three finishers in each event earning an automatic state tournament berth.
Overshiner advanced in the 400 with a third-place run in a time of 1:04.01. Carrell finished second in the 3,200-meter run at 12:13.20, while New Castle’s Lydia Harvey won in 12:00.08.
Stanfield added a third-place run in the 100-meter hurdles at 17-seconds flat, which was just short of Eastern Hancock’s Sydney Springman at 16.92, which was good enough for second.
Springman was second in the 300 hurdles with a time of 50.50 and helped the 4×100 relay team of Makenzie O’Neal, Stephanie Sotelo and Cameron Koch place fourth in 53.90.
Sotelo, Ellie Meyer, Olivia Evans and Cameron Koch placed third in the 4×400 relay with an advancing time of 4:28.48.
Meyer secured the EH Royals’ fourth automatic advancement in the high jump, taking third with a height of 4-feet, 10-inches.
“This is the best overall score we’ve had in five or six years,” Royals head coach Michael Galyan said. “Our girls have been just this close in everything this year. At county we ran an amazing meet, but there were around six county records set this year. Everything has been so stacked. Our conference has been the same way, so it was just awesome to actually see our girls have that success and get to go to regional.”
The Royals were coming off a heartbreaking runner-up finish at the Mid-Eastern Conference meet this past weekend. EH missed their chance at a team title by two points against champion Wapahani. The meet championship slipped away when the 4×800 relay team was upended by Daleville, which won the race and left the Royals with second.
“I’m just so happy. We’ve never gotten fourth. We’ve gotten fifth before, but we’ve never beaten both Anderson and Pendleton,” Galyan said. “That was awesome.”
The Marauders knew their chances at winning the sectional team title were slim due to injuries and several obstacles placed in their path, but they focused on their strengths and it worked to their advantage.
“If you set your goals in a place where you are hurting, then it makes things difficult. We tried to focus on the things we could control and do,” Mt. Vernon head coach Nick Clarkson said. “We focused on just cutting times and getting PRs, and we’ve had girls run their best career times at all levels, which is great.”
The Marauder 4×400 relay team of Gasiorek, Carrell, Stanfield and Emma Gale took second in 4:21.15. Sophie Amegnigan was third in the pole vault at 7-06.00. Jayla Tremble finished third in the discus at 105-06.50, which marked a personal best.
Gasiorek was also third in the long jump at 14-10.00. Each win padded their team-points total and propelled them from fourth midway through the meet into the top-two.
“We definitely knew we wanted to qualify as many people as possible because we know we have a lot of talent on the team in so many areas. That was definitely the goal going into today,” Tharp said.
Tomorrow’s task? To divvy up the 4×800 baton into four parts.
“They are getting fourths,” Clarkson said. “Alex Overshiner actually dropped two seconds in the very beginning of that, and everybody else ran their best ever, too. That’s what it took.”
2022 Pendleton Heights Girls Track and Field Sectional Results
Team scores (champions): Lawrence North 170 (7), Mt. Vernon 117 (3), New Castle 90.5 (3), Eastern Hancock 54.5, Pendleton Heights 51, Daleville 42, Anderson 31 (2), Blue River Valley 30 (1), Lapel 14, Shenandoah 7, Knightstown 3, Anderson Preparatory Academy 2.
Event: Winner, School Time/Distance
4×800-meter relay: Emma Gasiorek, Lydia Carrell, Morgan Tharp, Alexandra Overshiner (MV), 9:54.98
Discus: Alaina Bowman (NC), 112-09.50
High Jump: Allyson Madden (BRV), 5-00.00
100-meter hurdles: Zoe Allen (AHS), 16.17
100-meter dash: Adrianna Woods (LN), 12.57
1,600-meter run: Morgan Tharp (MV), 5:26.20
4×100-meter relay: Megan Barnum, Adrianna Woods, Tionna Thompson, Talaya Broaders (LN), 49.86
800-meter run: Carol Ludington (LN), 2:26.24
200-meter dash: Adrianna Woods (LN), 26.61
Long Jump: Adrianna Woods (LN), 16-09.25
3,200-meter run: Lydia Harvey (NC), 12:00.08
400-meter dash: Megan Barnum (LN), 1:02.32
300-meter hurdles: Anna Stanfield (MV), 49.70
4×400-meter relay: Megan Barnum, Carol Ludington, Alecea Brown, Bailey Powell (LN), 4:10.07
Shot Put: Malena Higgins (AHS), 38-10.50
Pole Vault: Margaret Lewis (NC), 8-06.00