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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Carroll’s Sara McKeeman won the pole vault at 12 feet.
Northrop regional

Bruins make it 5 in a row

Bellmont second; records fall in 100 hurdles, 200

Wayne’s Brionna Thomas wins 100 in 11.99. She set a regional record in the 200, finishing in 24.23.
Photos by Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Northrop’s Dejah Arnold won the 400-meter to help her team win its fifth consective regional title.

– The Northrop girls track regional Tuesday wasn’t just about times, distances and heights, it was also about records and redemption.

While the host Bruins were winning their fifth straight team title several records were falling.

Wayne junior sprinter Brionna Thomas set a regional record in the 200-meter dash with a run of 24.23 seconds, a week after suffering a rare loss in the sectional. Thomas also won the 100 in 11.99.

“Last week when I lost in the 200, everybody was giving me the third degree,” said Thomas, the defending state champ in the 100 and 200. “I just figured at regionals I had to do my best, try hard and try to win. I ended up breaking the record. It felt good to win.”

Concordia junior hurdler Symone Black continued her record-breaking streak by setting her third postseason mark with a regional record in the 100 hurdles (14.20). She also set sectional records last week in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Although Black didn’t set a new record in the 300s, she did win in 42.58.

“I just had to push myself to where I didn’t even think I could go, and I did it,” Black said. “I just have to keep my mindset right each race until the end, which is the state meet.”

The second-ranked Bruins scored 78 points to win the regional, which is the program’s state-best 21st regional championship. Bellmont was second with 68, and Carroll was third with 66.

“We knew what we needed to do, and we went out there and for the most part we accomplished what we needed to do,” Northrop coach Harmony Ake said.

The Bruins finished the meet in style with a season-best time of 3:51.98 in the 1,600 relay, just off the Bruins’ state-winning time of 3:51.45 last year.

Northrop sophomore Amber McGee had her redemption during the meet when she bounced back to run on the 1,600 relay winning team after feeling the effects of the warm weather, finishing a personal-best time of 24.84 and a third-place finish in the 200, which was good enough to qualify her for state in the event.

“I felt absolutely terrible after my 200 prelims,” said McGee, who appeared to be suffering from leg cramps and was a little disoriented after the 200 finals. “I didn’t have a good start (in the prelims), so you work harder. I am not used to running that hard that early in a meet so I was throwing up and drinking Powerade and should have been drinking water. But I knew my team needed me, so I sucked it up and I ran.”

McGee was also part of the winning 400 relay team (47.81), along with Jailyn Krantz, Jaquell Taylor and Makelle Skelton. Northrop also got a first place from Dejah Arnold (400, 55.83).

“There’s always more room to improve, so we want to be better by state,” McGee said.

Also setting regional records were: Eastern’s Brittany Neeley (800, 2:11.40) and Eastern’s 3,200 relay team in 9:01.27.

Other first-place finishers were: Carroll’s Melanie Ruich (3,200, 11:14.66) and Sara McKeeman (pole vault, 12 feet), Bellmont’s Holly Hankenson (18-11 3/4 ), Leo’s Keanna Gary (discus, 133-8), Eastern’s Bethany Neeley (1,600, 4:58.47), Oak Hill’s Janae Moffitt (high jump, 5-9) and Kokomo’s Summer Blackamore (shot put, 43-4).