The IHSAA Girl’s Track State Finals aren’t until June 1 in Bloomington. However, if you want to watch the state’s best sprinters and hurdlers, there is no reason to wait that long or travel that far.
Many of Indiana’s elite athletes will be on display Tuesday at the area sectionals at Northrop, New Haven and Angola.
At New Haven, you can see the state’s defending champion in the 100 and 200 in Wayne’s Brionna Thomas. She has the state’s second-best times in both events this year behind Bellmont’s Alexis Harvey, who will also be racing in the meet.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Homestead’s Ari Nelson, owner of the state’s fourth-fastest 100 and 10th fastest 200 race, will also be competing.
At Northrop, the host Bruins are the state’s third-ranked team, but Carroll (seventh) isn’t far behind.
The Bruins return much of last year’s runner-up team, and have the headliners and depth to challenge for a title this year.
The Chargers, as always, are strong in the distance events, but add outstanding field events scoring abilities as well.
Harvey has run 11.91 in the 100 and 24.56 in the 200, while Thomas has run 11.92 and 24.66, respectively. Thomas has also anchored the state’s top 400-meter relay team.
Nelson is not ranked as high in the sprints, but does hold the state’s best long jump mark (19-feet, 3.5 inches). Her top competition at sectionals should be Bellmont’s Holly Hankenson, who has the state’s sixth-best leap (18-3.75). However, the long jump is not what Hankenson is mostly known for. She has the state’s sixth-best 300 hurdle time (45.05) and seventh-best 100 hurdle time (15.20). The Harvey-Hankenson duo could very well vault the Braves to a team title if they can overcome Thomas and her sprinting mates.
The team title shouldn’t be quite so close at Northrop, where the Bruins should score well in all sprints, hurdles, relays and even a distance event or two.
Northrop is led by senior Makelle Skelton, junior Dejah Arnold and sophomore Amber McGee. That trio combines to score well in eight events.
Arnold has the state’s best time in the 400 (56.54) and third-best time in the 200 (24.95). She also runs on the state’s best 1,600 relay team (3:56.95).
Northrop will also receive scoring from Victoria McQuiston in 800, 1600 and 3,200 relays.
McQuiston will have plenty of company from Carroll’s distance stars: Olivia Hippensteel and Maddie Stenger, who both will be running the 800, 1600 and 3200 relays.
The Chargers also have the state’s No. 2 pole vaulter in Sara McKeeman (12-feet-3) and Amy Poynter in the long jump.
Other outstanding individuals expected to compete at Northrop are Concordia Lutheran hurdler Symone Black and North Side sprinter Dyamond Morris. Black owns the state’s top times in the 100 hurdles (14.48) and 300 hurdles (44.25).