There is only one Alexis Harvey, and Bellmont learned Friday night that it takes more than one athlete (or even two) to win a Northeast Hoosier Conference track and field championship.
Harvey won the 100, 200, 400 and anchored the winning 1,600 relay but the Braves finished runner-up to six-time winner Carroll, 147-131.5. Columbia City was third with 76 points.
“Alexis Harvey is phenomenal, a once in a lifetime kid for a school,” said Carroll coach Nathan Fitzgerald. “But we have a great team, the most competitive bunch of girls I've ever been around. It's not about the events we won, but the points we scored in those events.”
Carroll did win five events, but scored in 15 of the 16 events. More importantly, the Chargers scored 10 or more points in nine events.
Harvey won her events in dominating fashion, posting state-leading times in the 100 (11.91) and 200 (24.56). Her time in the 400 (59.18) keeps her among the state's top 10. Bellmont's 3:58 in the 1,600 relay puts them fourth in the state rankings.
Harvey said the key to her great meet was the drama of facing her rival (Homestead's Ari Nelson) and the Carroll program.
“I was excited but I was nervous, too,” Harvey said. “Ari is a great runner and I knew I had to run my best if I wanted to win. We also knew we had to have a great meet if we wanted to challenge Carroll. We did great, but it just wasn't enough.”
Nelson, also ranked among the state's best in the 100 and 200, placed second in both events. She did win the long jump.
Also starring for Bellmont was Holly Hankenson, winner of both hurdle events, and Bailey Beery in the 3,200.
For Carroll, it was also about accepting the challenge. That's nothing new, said senior distance runner Olivia Hippensteel.
“I think we are a force as a team because we use positive pressure,” Hippensteel said. “Our coaches do a great job of unifying us and telling us many points each event needs to score.”
Hippensteel certainly followed through on her orders, winning both the 1,600 and 800 meter runs in tactical fashion winning in relatively slow times (for her) in 5:16 and 2:21 respectively.
“In the postseason it's about gauging what the competition can do and scoring the points the team needs,” Hippensteel said.
Carroll won the 3,200 relay, 400 relay and the pole vault (Sara McKeeman).
Another double winner in the meet was DeKalb's Kara Eck (shot put and discus).
No. 3 Northrop wins SAC
Dejah Arnold (400 and high jump) and Victoria McQuiston (1,600 and 800) were double winners for the Lady Bruins as they won the Summit Athletic Conference championships at Spuller Stadium. Northrop won with 183 points; Snider was second with 121.5 points.
Northrop also won all three relays and the pole vault (Lauryn Darnell).
Wayne's Brionna Thomas won the 100 in meet record time (11.92) and the 200. Concordia's Symone Black won both hurdle events and Snider's Arianna Fitts won both the shot put and discus.
Snider's Karinna Smith won the long jump.