Hornocker Wins 1600 Advances To State

Posted on May 24, 2018 in Girl's Track, Spring Sports

BY SCOTT HUNT – shunt@chronicle-tribune.com
Oak Hill senior distance standout Margo Hornocker achieved another first in her illustrious distance running career Tuesday evening in the Marion Regional at the Indiana Wesleyan University track stadium.

Despite being crowned a regional champion in cross country, Hornocker had never claimed a regional title in her four years of track for the Golden Eagles, but that changed with the running of the 1,600 meter race.

Hornocker quickly assumed control of the race, distanced herself from the pack, and cruised to the regional championship in a time of 5:02.13, more than nine seconds ahead of runner-up Sydney Lambert of Norwell.

Runners faced warmer and windier conditions than in last week’s sectional meet, and Hornocker had planned to keep the same strategy she used in running a 4:58 mile in the sectional – the fastest mile for a high school girl in Grant County history – but she quickly had to adopt a different strategy in the regional.

“Going into it my strategy was about the same, just to feel out what everyone else did, but about 10 seconds into the race I kind of realized, okay it’s just going to be me,” Hornocker said. “I was planning on running it hard and going for a fast time anyways but I was going to wait it out and see if the two other girls were going to be with me. I was just by myself at the beginning so I just took it from there.”

Hornocker was the only Grant County girl to qualify for the state championship meet on June 1 at the Indiana University track stadium in Bloomington, and she’ll be very familiar with the surroundings as she claimed a fourth place finish at the state in the 1,600 last season.

The goal now is to improve upon that.

“You want the opportunity because that chance (to compete at state) doesn’t come around very often,” said Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner, who’s team totaled 23 points to finish 13th out of more than 30 schools represented. “She’s there now, another medal would great, but we want to go in with the mindset of what do we need to do to be at a high level.”

Hornocker began the evening with hopes of potentially qualifying for state in the 3,200 as well, but a strangely slow pace at the start set the state for Megan Hathaway and Abby Green of Carroll (Fort Wayne) to close at a blistering pace and cover the field. Hathaway finished in 10:50.70 while Green was next at 10:52.77. Senior Tyler Schwartz, the 2016 state cross country champion from DeKalb ended third in 10:55. Hornocker (11:12.54) and sophomore teammate Mollie Gamble (11:13.54) were fifth and sixth, respectively.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the two mile but that’s good to be able to focus on the mile,” Hornocker said. “Even the mile today wasn’t how I wanted it to go, but its always good to get out be able to run a strong race.

“It was weird because knowing who else was in the race, the times they had coming into, I was expecting it to go out fast and for me to just kind of hang on and see what I could do,” she said of the two mile. “The first mile was really slow, it was almost like we were jogging instead of what I’m used to. At the beginning it was good for me because it gave me a better chance later and I just really didn’t take good enough advantage of it.”

Brunner added, “It it bittersweet because I know she is a competitor and I know she wanted to qualify out in two events. She took the mile, took control of it and did what she needed to do. She won her first regional in track.”

Brunner said Hornocker is just the second girl in Oak Hill history to win a regional event in track. Two-time high jump state champion Janae Moffitt won three regional championships at Oak Hill.

Oak Hill also got a sixth place finish out of its 4×400 relay team and a seventh place from the 4×800 relay team.

Eastbrook was the lone other Grant County school to score points in the meet. Audrey Altum capped an outstanding junior season with a school record run to finish eighth in the 100 hurdles (15.84). Altum also finished seventh in the 300 hurdles (48.57). Eastbrook also had an eighth place finish from junior Jenna King in the discus. King was seeded 15th coming into the meet but set a new PR with a throw of 102-8 and earn the Panthers a point.

Mississinewa’s Carli Fones failed to quailfy for the finals in the 100 as did Marion’s Katie Gadd in the 200. Gadd scratched out of the 400 having to deal with an injury.

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