By Al Stilley
Southsider Voice correspondent
Perry Meridian distance runner Kieran Casey, Southport’s Molly Bridges, Center Grove’s Taylor Pennington and Melissa Nelson and four area girls relay teams and captured sectional championships last week.
Casey, who is making a big comeback this season, dominated the 1,600-meter run May 20 at Ben Davis with a time of 5 minutes, 17.68 seconds, bettering Pike’s Hillary Merrill by 13.14 seconds.
At the Franklin Sectional, Pennington took the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, and Nelson won the pole vault with an effort of 11-3, which bettered the state standard.
Bridges won the shot put with a toss of 37-4 1/2 inches and defeated Perry Meridian’s Davia Wilson’s throw of 35-4.
Two relay teams from Greenwood lit up the track at Franklin. In the opening race, Greenwood dominated the 4-by-800 relay with Allie Dalton, Taylor Neely, Krista Robinson and sophomore Maddie Renfro covering the distance in 9:51.91, nearly eight seconds faster than Columbus North.
Greenwood’s all-senior 4-by-100 relay captured a thriller by only thirteen-hundreths of a second ahead of Columbus North as Taylor Allen, Sydney Hite, Rachel Krutulis and Jessica Thompson posted a time of 51.41.
At Franklin, Center Grove took the 4-by-400 relay with a time of 4:07.08 behind Aliyah Clinker, Victoria Long, Laruen Rau, Olivia Rassel.
At Ben Davis, Southport captured the 4-by-800 relay in 10:22 with Delaney Bucker, Desiree Kinney, Heather Blankenbacker and Erin Sullivan.
The Trojans’ 4-by-800 relay team of Rachel Dever, Lindsey Kovacs, Alexa Kovacs and Taylor Hickey was third at Franklin with a time of 10:05.78. Greenwood’s 4-by-400 relay (4:20.94) was fourth behind Hite, Renfro, Neely and Victoria Harper.
Overall, 58 girls from Southside teams qualified (the top four finishers from each sectional event) for Tuesday’s regionals, but the results were unavailable at press time.
The following girls qualified:
At Ben Davis: 1) Pike 179, 3) Perry Meridian 100, 4) Southport 96.
At Franklin: 1) Columbus North 166, 2) Center Grove 129, 4) Greenwood 62, 12) Greenwood Christian Academy 2.
At Shelbyville: 1) Warren Central 173.5, 3) Franklin Central 94.5, 4) Roncalli 73.5, 9) Lutheran 11.5, 11) Beech Grove 8.