By Justin Whitaker
— For the first time since 2009, the Ben Davis girls’ track and field team are sectional champions.
The Giants won six events en route to scoring 154 points, 20 more than Pike, the defending state champion.
Ben Davis coach Alicia Wallace said she was happy with the victory after the team struggled earlier in the season.
“It’s kind of nice to be able to put it together at a sectional event versus a smaller event,” she said. “It was well-rounded. We brought the whole team together. We’re happy to double up or score in almost every event. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.”
Covenant Christian placed seventh and ended a fruitful track and field season.
“The whole year we’ve had a lot of newcomers, a lot of young athletes and I’ve seen a lot of growth as far as physically and mentally with confidence,” Covenant Christian coach Ben Creighton said.
Ben Davis dominated the two hurdles events with a 1-2 finish in the 300 with junior Devyn Vandever winning and senior Meka Harris coming in second. Harris finished third in the 100 hurdles as senior Amber Jones won with a time of 16.36.
“It was a total team effort and double or nothing in these events like the hurdles is huge,” Wallace said.
The three Giants relay teams were instrumental in the sectional championship with their top finishes.
The 4x400 relay team of Vandever, Briana Jones, Alethia Marrero and Constance Brahm beat second-place Pike by just 1.14 seconds.
The 4x100 relay team of Maya Caudle, Briana Jones, Ra’von Woodson and Marrero placed second and the 4x800 relay team of Tiaunna Moore, Harris, Regina Wright and Katelyn Speitel finished fourth.
“Our 4x400 relays won and I normally expect my 4x100 team to win, but they got second,” Wallace said. “They had a really bad handoff on the third exchange and we still managed to run a state qualifying time. Obviously, we’re really excited, even when we had a couple mishaps there.”
The Giants also enjoyed success in the five field events as they won two and had finishers score in the top five of each event.
Senior Alethia Marrero won the high jump with a jump of 5-00.00 and senior Breena Miller won shot put with a throw of 36-09.75.
Other top finishers for Ben Davis were Carissa Whitten and Cierra Jones placing second and third in the discus throw; Cierra Jones finishing fourth in the shot put; Harris finishing fifth in the pole vault; and Moriah Fisher and Amber Jones registering fourth and fifth in the long jump.
“Field events just really, really shined,” Wallace said.
Marrero earned her second individual and third total victory on the evening with a win in the 800 with a time of 2:19.11.
“She had a great day,” Wallace said. “Her legs were a little heavy from workouts through the week so she didn’t high jump that high but she high jumped enough to win. Her 800 she pretty much controlled the whole race. She’s running really well.”
The 4x100 relay team of Gloria Sipola, Courtney King, Lauren Bloom and Brown finished fourth with a time of 52.55, just 0.33 seconds away from third-place Perry Meridian.
Sipola is the team’s only senior and Creighton appreciated how his team came to him about throwing something together for the team’s lone graduating athlete.
“This year something was just special about this group, just the personalities and the friendships that are being made here,” he said.
Top finishers for Covenant Christian were freshman Autumn Brown finishing sixth in the 100, junior Courtney King placing sixth in the 200 and in the long jump, junior Ashley King finishing fifth in the 1600 with a time of 6:03.14, and sophomore Lydia Zumbrun finishing sixth in the 3200.