BLOOMINGTON – Before Carroll seniors Meagan Hathaway and Abby Green ran their final race as Chargers at the Girls Track & Field State Finals at Indiana University, their coaches reminded them not to lead a single step of the race they didn't have to.
It was a strategy that Hathaway and Huntington North freshman Addison Wiley ran to perfection on Saturday evening as both passed the leader on the final straightaway, Hathaway to win the 3,200-meter run in 10:30.84 and Wiley to win the 1,600 in 4:46.93.
Hathaway and Green, as well as Bishop Dwenger's Erin Strzelecki, ran most of the race in the lead pack of six runners. In the final lap, Hathaway and Zionsville's Katelyn Wasson separated themselves from the pack. With less than 100 meters to go, Hathaway finally made her move.
“Just coming onto the straight, I wanted to give it all I had,” Hathaway said. “I was really surprised.”
“She's state-champion material,” Green chimed in. Green finished fourth at 10:38.18, and Strzelecki was third in 10:35.63.
Hathaway appeared loose and carefree before the race, laughing with the girl lined up next to her on the starting line. She said it was significantly easier to calm herself down knowing that her teammate would be there with her for the entire race.
“Two hours before, we were kind of a wreck, really nervous,” Green said. “I looked at Meagan, and I was like, this is the last time we get to do this together. We want to make it fun.”
Wiley's coaches had also suggested that she stick just behind the top runner and then rely on her superior kick at the end of the race. Abigail Lynch of Brownsburg rocketed out to the lead in the 1,600, and Wiley went with her, until the two held a huge lead over the rest of the field with a lap to go. Wiley blew past a gassed Lynch with about 30 meters left.
“The last 100, it's the end of the race; if you want it, you have to go for it,” Wiley said. “Every race this season, I knew my kick was stronger than most of my competitors that I've raced against, so I knew going into that last lap, if you can stay with her, you can hopefully get her.”
Wiley had been slicing seconds off her mile time all season, beating her personal best by 12 seconds in Marion to win a regional title. But she shaved off another nine at the state meet, finishing just over three seconds off the championship record.
She said anything she did in the 800 afterward would be “icing on the cake,” and she added to the Vikings' point total by taking seventh. Homestead's Julia Dvorak almost replicated the come-from-behind win but couldn't pull off the move against Indianapolis Pike's Elizabeth Stanhope, who ran a meet-record 2:06.62. Dvorak took third in 2:08.50, as Maddie Russin ran a 2:08.23 in the first of two 800 sections, which includes the runners with slower seed times.
Homestead also had a top performer in the pole vault as Josephine Gery took fourth with a clearance of 11 feet, 9 inches. Maggie Burita of Churubusco was ninth.
“I knew I had to PR to get on the podium,” said Gery, who improved on her previous personal best by 5 inches. “I was really consistent on my jumps, and I did everything I wanted to do today.”
Homestead and Huntington North each scored 13 points in the team standings, while Carroll picked up 16 from Hathaway and Green. Northrop lead all local teams with 26, and Indianapolis North Central won the meet with 75.
Markalah Barnes scored six of those points for Northrop, coming in fifth in the discus with a throw of 132 feet 3 inches and ninth in the shot put. The senior admitted she was “overwhelmed” by the event, even though she had qualified in past years.
“My uncle had texted me today and was like, this is your last meet, go all out, you have nothing to lose,” Barnes said, explaining that this perspective helped her relax and reach the finals in both events.
Her Bruins teammates placed in several more events: Tionna Brown finished second in the 100 with a time of 11.90 and seventh in the 200; Dylan Kirkwood was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles and eighth in the 300 hurdles; and the Bruins 400-meter relay team also took eighth.
Payton Gorman of Snider took seventh in the 400 in 56.44. Wayne's Erica Xayarath was ninth in the long jump and Central Noble's Meleah Leatherman was ninth in the high jump. Bishop Dwenger's 3,200-meter relay team easily won the first section of the race in 9:23.97, which allowed the Saints to slip into eighth place overall.