May 28th – Ben Davis Girls Regional Recap

By: Parker West


It’s the most wonderful time of the year; the Indiana State Track and Field Tournament. For those who were unable to attend the Ben Davis Girls’ Regional last night, you missed a great meet! There were a lot of races that went exactly as expected and some that completely blindsided everyone.

The drama began with the 4×800 meter relay. Pendleton Heights and North Central were obvious favorites to take home the win, seeded just one second away from each other. With 100 meters left in the first leg, there was a little jostling and the baton was dropped by Pendleton’s Monica Dudley. She quickly picked the baton right up and finished her leg in 5th place. Yorktown’s Shelene Baiyee took a commanding lead on the first leg, but it was very close on the first exchange. After all hope seemed to be lost for Pendleton, the baton was handed off to Alex Buck, a standout distance runner and FootLocker Cross Country Nationals Qualifier. Buck gunned down Southport and Yorktown to hand it off to their anchor, Micalah Booher, who brought them back to a 2nd place finish, 6 seconds behind North Central. I spoke with Pendleton’s coach during the 3200 meter run and he said that Alex Buck would not be running the 4×800 relay in Bloomington next week so she could focus on the 3200 meter run.

In the 100 meter hurdles, it came as no surprise that Lapel’s Plenseh-Tay Sakeuh would be taking home the “W”. The junior punched her first ticket to Bloomington after finishing 6th at last year’s Regional in the 300 meter hurdles. Sakeuh ran a winning time of 14.76, finishing nearly a half second in front of second place, Lawrence North’s Jalacia George. When asked about what motivated her to improve so much this year, Sakeuh said, “This year we started training earlier than we did last year. I was also injured (last year) when I ran the 300 hurdles. Not being able to run most of the meets last year definitely motivated me to improve this year.”

Once again, nobody was surprised to see Lynna Irby leave everyone behind in the sprints. The freshman won the 100 meter dash in a time of 11.86, easily the fastest time any girl in the state has run in at least half a decade. She also won the 200 meter dash (24.63), the 400 meter dash (55.09). Her 400m time established a new Regional Record and the fastest time in the state so far this year.

In the 1600 meter run, Sophomore Katherine Free (Cathedral) lead a pack of 4 runners going into the bell lap at 3 minutes, 55 seconds. The race was anybody’s to win with Kieran Casey (Perry Meridian), Erin Crone (Bishop Chatard), and Erika Chaleles (North Central) right on Free’s hip. The pack went from four runners to three, as Chaleles was left behind with 300 meters left. By the 1400 meter mark, the race was clearly between Kieran Casey and Katherine Free. Down the homestretch, Katherine Free was not going to let Kieran Casey get in front of her, and powered home to a 5:05.80 finish, with Casey just .17 seconds behind her. “I just had to keep reminding myself that the tournament is what I have been working towards all season. When Kieran was on me on the last hundred meters, she really helped me push through it even though I felt like I was reaching my max,” Free said after the race. Katherine will be making a trip to Bloomington for the 2nd straight year, after finishing 15th in the 1600 last year as a frosh.

Probably the most dramatic event of the night was the 4×100 meter relay. Ben Davis, the #1 team in the State, would have to work hard to hold off the Pike Red Devils, ranked as the #8 team in the State. Sure enough, going into the final exchange, the race was between those two teams, however, handoff’s proved to be key. During the final handoff, both Ben Davis and Pike’s anchor legs missed the handoff and fell to the ground, the field running away. The entire crowd was stunned, tears being shed by both teams. Lawrence Central came running home to a 1st place finish in 49.20 seconds.

The 400 meter run was easily the most stacked field of the night. Lynna Irby, as mentioned earlier, ran a meet record of 55.09, running away with the title. However, the entire top 5 finishers advanced to the State Finals by hitting the State Standard! Lynna Irby, Jocelyn Miller, and Courtney Jones automatically advanced by finishing top 3, while Kiawna Cotrell and Isabel Bradley both punched their tickets to Bloomington, dipping under the standard as well.

In the 800m run, Pike’s Danielle Campbell ran from the front the entire way. The junior took the lead at the very beginning and held it until she finished in a time of 2:16.42. Erin Crone of Chatard was runner up in 2:19.90, and Katherine Free of Chatard put on a killer kick the final 100, just as she did in the 1600. Free went from 6th place to 3rd place in just the final 50 meters, finishing at 2:20.20, taking away Sydney Schwab’s qualifying spot by .06 seconds.

During the 3200m run, Pendleton Heights sophomore Alex Buck would go on to defend her Regional title, but not without a fight from Amy Carpenter of Decatur Central. Carpenter and Buck took turns taking the lead during the final 800. Carpenter would go on to win (11:25.81), while Buck crossed the line second (11:29.75) in obvious pain.

Finally, there was some drama in the High Jump, as Money Central’s Megen Yates and Eastern Hancock’s Shelby Mourey both jumped 5’3” in essence, tying for the 3rd spot. Yates, however, had less scratches than Mourey, earning the final automatic qualifying spot. All was good after the meet though, as Mourey learned she was one of 6 girls across the State who jumped 5’3” and did not qualify automatically, and will receive a call back and have the opportunity to compete in Bloomington next Friday!

Full results for the meet can be found on the IHSAA website.

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