Girls Track Falls Just Short Of Sectional Title

Posted on May 18, 2017 in Girl's Track, Spring Sports

A strong contingent of Grant County girls earned their way into the regional round of the IHSAA state track and field tournament Tuesday night at Indiana Wesleyan University’s track.
Though there were standout performances by each of the school’s in the area, there was a major disappointment for Oak Hill.  The Golden Eagles had hopes of adding a team sectional championship trophy to go along with the Grant Four and Central Indiana Conference titles it had won this season, but it wasn’t their night.
Defending champion Norwell once again edged Oak Hill for team honors. The Knights finished the night with 109 points to just slip past the Golden Eagles 103.5 and hoist the hardware once again. Marion just missed a top three finish with 66 points to get edged by Southwood (67). Eastbrook (42.5) had six regional qualifiers and finished 7th while sensational Mississinewa freshman Carli Fones helped the Indians finish 10th.
But it was a bittersweet evening for Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner and his team. 
“It’s starting to become a bad habit  – we were  runner-up last year – but I’ve got to give all the credit to Norwell the last two years, they’ve out performed us in this meet,” Brunner said.
“There’s a lot of events right now going through my head where I either made a horrible call of how I put people in or  where I  put them that we lost points. A couple of races we gave up at the line and just let people pass us.
“I can also think of a couple events like high jump, long jump and the 800 where we got some points I wasn’t counting on. It all equals out in the end. I hate to say I felt like this was coming, but I think this is more of a microcosm of what we are maybe than what we showed at the conference. With some of the girls we have tired from other sports and not realizing the level that you’ve always got to be at.”
As usual the Golden Eagles were led by distance standout Margo Hornocker, who anchored the 4×800 relay team to a win and also captured the 800 sectional championship as an individual. The junior also finished second in the 1,600 to Norwell’s Sydney Lambert and fourth in the 3,200 behind Lambert, teammate Mollie Gamble and Norwell’s Morgan Theismann.
Oak Hill took the top two spots in pole vault with Leslie Tibbets finishing first and Olivia Smith earning runnerup. Auja Smith finished third in high jump, as did Zoey Salter in long jump, and Olivia Smith took third in 300 hurdles and anchored Oak Hill’s 4×400 relay team to a runner-up finish. 
One of the top individual performances of the night was turned in by Marion’s lightning-fast sophomore Katie Gadd. Gadd was one of the favorites in the 400, seeded third overall, but ran a sensational last 100 to overtake Elwood’s Kaylee Lane and win the sectional championship in a personal best of 59.22 seconds.
For good measure, Gadd nipped another Elwood runner, McKenzie Wilson to take the 200 sectional crown. Gadd is relatively new to the 200 and didn’t run anything as a freshman, but now she is a double sectional champion.
“This is my first year running track and throughout the year I never really had that much competition,” Gadd said. “(Lane) was two seconds faster than me so I just stayed with her and did what I had to do, just go with it. Normally, I run 61 (seconds) but tonight I ran 59.”
The Giants’ Leilanu Jackson also qualified in two events, finishing third in the shot put and second in discus. Fones, a semistate qualifier in cross country, added a 100 sectional championship to her Grant Four and CIC titles in the event. She also qualified for regional in the 200, finishing third to Gadd and Wilson. Eastbrook’s Audrey Altum earned a regional spot in the 100 hurdles with a third place finish and helped the Panthers’ 4×100 team to runner-up and another chance to race at IWU next week. Kaylene Cox finished third in the 800 to also earn a spot in the Marion Regional.
“A year ago we had one girl (qualify for regional) and this year we’ve got six, so we’re pretty pleased with what we did,” Eastbrookcoach Stu Goble said.
“We’ve made some nice improvements and it’s a young team.”

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