There might only be three county competitors at today’s IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals, but the three that are there enter with outstanding season credentials.
Greenfield-Central’s Savannah Lake, Mt. Vernon’s Riley Nielsen and Eastern Hancock’s Ellie Meyer will be representing Hancock County today in the final, and biggest, event of the season at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.
Lake, the only returning state qualifier from last season, has not only added an event to her schedule this season, but she improved upon her main event.
Last year, she competed in the 100-meter dash, seeded in the 22nd spot.
“I think it’s going to help a lot,” Greenfield-Central head coach Mike Foster said of Lake’s prior experience. “We went down to practice (Thursday), and I could just tell by her demeanor that she was a lot more comfortable. She’s very optimistic, and just going into [today] with the right mindset. For an athlete, that is more than half the battle.”
This year she comes in seeded sixth with a time of 12.05 seconds in the 100, and in the 200, her time of 25.47 has her seeded 12th. Both of those regional times were personal records.
Her time of 12.05 in the 100 is a Greenfield-Central school record, and she is .01 seconds off of the school record in the 200 set last year by her former teammate Kayana Maroska.
“The key to her success this year has been her work ethic. She is just an unbelievably hard worker, and she’s very coachable,” Foster said. “That shows in the fact that she has progressively gotten faster all season. She’s peaking at just the right time, and that’s exactly what you want to have happen.”
Although different from a season ago, competing in two events is something Lake is prepared for and has had success with all season. She swept both events at the county meet, Hoosier Heritage Conference meet, and the Warren Central Sectional. At the Franklin Community Regional, she placed second in each.
“We’ve been working the past couple of weeks on that sequence of events where she’ll have to run two trials and then two finals,” Foster said. “We’ve been getting her used to that routine. The weather is going to be hot, so we’re bringing things to make sure she stays cool and can refocus.”
Mt. Vernon’s Nielsen has had a similar path as Lake in her event, the pole vault.
She took first place at the county, conference, and sectional, and at last week’s Pike Regional she placed third.
Her height of 11-feet, 3-inches has her seeded 10th.
Today will be Nielsen’s second time competing at the state finals. She qualified in 2021 as a sophomore. She missed all of her junior season due to injury.
For Eastern Hancock, Meyer makes the trip to Bloomington as just the 14th girl in school history to qualify for the state finals, and the first since Kaycee Ruble in 2016.
“We would love to get on the podium, that would be a huge accomplishment to be able to medal,” Eastern Hancock head coach Pat Echeverria said. “We haven’t had a ton of females that have had that opportunity, and she’s worked her tail off to get to the position that she is in.”
The regional was the first time all season that Meyer focused solely on high jump, and it showed. After clearing heights of 5-feet, 1-inch at most meets all season, a personal best height of 5-feet, 5-inches has her seeded 12th in the high jump.
She won the event at county, was second at the Mid-Eastern Conference meet, and then runner-up at both the sectional and regional.
“She’s not only an outstanding high jumper, but during the season she runs our 400 relay, 1600 relay, 200 so every meet she’s doing all of those things and still high jumping at an elite level,” Echeverria said. “In the regional, high jump was all she had to do, and she really knocked it out of the park, and crushed her personal record. And now she’s had a great week of preparation for state.”
IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals
Site: Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, Indiana University, Bloomington
Admission: $15 per person. Children age 24 months and younger admitted free. All tickets will be digital through your mobile phone and may be purchased through GoFan.co. Present your phone purchase at the gate for admission.
Order of Events (area competitors)
3 p.m. – Pole vault (Riley Nielsen, Mt. Vernon)
3 p.m. – Long jump
3 p.m. – Discus
3:30 p.m. – High jump (Ellie Meyer, Eastern Hancock)
3:30 p.m. – Shot put
4:15 p.m. – 3200-meter relay finals
5 p.m. – 100 dash trials (Savannah Lake, Greenfield-Central)
5:15 p.m. – 100 high hurdles trials
5:40 p.m. – 200 dash trials (Savannah Lake, Greenfield-Central)
6:10 p.m. – Opening ceremonies
6:15 p.m. – 100 high hurdles
6:25 p.m. – 100 dash
6:35 p.m. – 1600 run
6:45 p.m. – 400 relay
7:05 p.m. – 400 dash
7:20 p.m. – 300 hurdles
7:45 p.m. – 800 run
8:05 p.m. – 200 dash
8:15 p.m. – 3200 run
8:30 p.m. – 1600 relay