NOBLESVILLE – Since Carmel’s most recent state championship in girls track and field — 1999 — the Greyhounds have won seven in girls cross-country and umpteen elsewhere. But these Greyhounds aren’t confining themselves to distance running anymore.
The Guerin Catholic Sectional featured No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern, the defending champion, and No. 6 Fishers, which won its first-ever Hamilton County title. Yet it was No. 3 Carmel coming away with the sectional title Tuesday and a chance to end that state drought.
“We’ve got a puncher’s chance, I think,” Carmel coach Aaron McRill said. “We have as good a chance as anybody else.”
Carmel scored 1511/2 points, HSE 139 and Fishers 1161/2. Temperatures dipped into the 50s, and winds often exceeded 10 mph.
Top three in each event, plus others among the top 16 in the regional, advance to West Lafayette next week. State is June 6.
Predictably, the Greyhounds dominated the distances, including a 1-2 finish in the 3,200 meters by Anna Schmitz (11:01.99) and Stacy Morozov (11:02.68). That effectively secured the outcome.
Before that, Indiana University signees Kelsey and Haley Harris went 1-2 in the 800 meters in 2:16.66 and 2:17.03, respectively. Haley was second in the 1,600, and both twins ran on Carmel’s 1,600 relay team that won in 4:02.83.
“Our sprinters have improved so much this year,” Haley said. “It’s really fun to have some of those girls that we’ve never had a chance to go into the postseason with.”
Notable among them is sophomore Jessica Cowen, a sophomore soccer player who ran track in eighth grade but not last year. In only her fourth or fifth 300-meter hurdles race, she won impressively in 46.30. It’s not hard to see a newbie dropping that time and scoring at state.
“It love it just as much,” Cowen said of track. “I love being good at something individual as well as on a team.”
It’s that “soccer mentality” that McRill likes.
“She’s an athletic monster,” she said. “She just wants to win.”
Another Carmel sprinter who won was Rachel Dixon, clocking 1:00.05 in the 400.
Carmel was disqualified by a false start in the 400 relay but likely wasn’t scoring state points in that anyway.
Fishers won the sprint relay in 48.39, thanks to a majestic anchor by 5-9 sophomore India Johnson. She won the 200 in 25.47 after finishing second in the 100 to Westfield’s Karen Hubbard, whose time of 12.27 was the only sectional record.
HSE’s Rachel Nichwitz overtook Haley Harris on the back stretch of the final lap in a 1,600-meter duel between seniors, repeating as champion in 5:00.45. Nichwitz was second in the state last year. Harris was second here in 5:05.46.
Freshman Maddie Dalton, who contributed a 2:20.7 third leg to Carmel’s victory in the 3,200 relay, was third in the 1,600 in a personal best of 5:08.99.
Kelsey Harris said Carmel is “definitely in the mix” for state.
“We’re going to do everything we can from this point forward to make sure we stay in that mix,” she said.
• At Shelbyville: Top-ranked Warren Central won 10 of 15 events and scored 195 points, winning its 15th sectional in 16 years. Caitlyn Redmon set a sectional record of 18-93/4 in the long jump and won the 100 hurdles in 14.92.
• At Southport: Pike sophomore Lynna Irby won a 12.11/25.05/56.38 triple, keeping her on track for another sweep of state sprints. No. 4 Pike won a third sectional in four years, beating No. 10 Ben Davis 1841/2-1331/2. Southport soph Erin Sullivan won the 800 in 2:15.89. Ben Davis won the 400 relay in 47.74, just off its state-leading 47.20.
• At Franklin: No. 14 Center Grove won with 153. Greenwood soph Allie Dalton took a 5:10.88/10:56.78 distance double, setting a sectional record in the 3,200.
• At Lawrence Central: North Central edged Lawrence Central 125-114. Cathedral junior Katherine Free won the 800 in 2:19.17 and 1,600 in 5:10.64.
Call Star reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.