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  • Val T.

All-RTC girls track: Jackson’s best shot makes her Athlete of the Year

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

When one hears the word “glide,” it might indicate someone who is smooth and moves

RTC Girls Track Athlete of the Year Kennedy Jackson

seamlessly.

But in track, if a shot putter has a good glide, it’s just as likely to indicate someone who is strong and powerful as they unfurl and release the metal ball.

Rochester’s Kennedy Jackson has honed her glide so well that she has become one of the elite throwers in the state. She now thinks about throwing in college. She thinks about throwing 42-3 and breaking the school record.

But that’s something to think about for the future for Jackson, a junior.

For now, she has glided her way to be named the RTC Girls Track Athlete of the Year.

Jackson broke the LaPorte Invitational meet record. She won the TRC title on a shivery, rainy day with her final throw.

She was second at the Bremen sectional, which qualified her for the regional. And at the Kokomo regional, she was second again, outdoing herself with a final and best throw of 39-0 ½.

That qualified her for the IHSAA state finals, where she finished 20th in Bloomington on June 3.

What follows is the remainder of the All-RTC girls track team. We would like to thank area coaches for updating us on the status of their athletes and for sharing their thoughts and insights.

Still, this list is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility. We place emphasis on an athlete’s performance at conference and postseason meets as these meets have the best competition and marginally better weather.

Sprinters

  • Kenzie Bradley (Rochester) – Bradley won the 200 meters at the TRC meet, but perhaps her most impressive run was running a 12.94 in the 100 at the Kokomo regional to qualify for the final. Breaking 13 seconds in the 100 is a rare and exceptional feat. She also ran the opening leg on Rochester’s school-record setting 4 x 100 relay.

  • Mackenzie Rogers (Pioneer) – Combining strength and speed, Rogers can run both the 400 and the 800. She was the Hoosier North and sectional champ in the 400, and she ran anchor on the Pioneer 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays that both qualified for regionals.

  • Savanah Eccles (Rochester) – Perhaps overshadowed by her teammate Bradley, Eccles was also outstanding. Eccles ran a 13.6 in the 100 meters, and she also ran a leg on the record-setting 4 x 100 relay. A close call over Isabel Dunwoody, Ava Smith and Alexis Sheets.

Distance runners

  • Zoe Seward (Rochester) – Seward is the definition of consistency, running 85-second laps over and over again and daring her competition to keep pace in the 3,200 meters. They usually couldn’t.

  • Madilyn Calloway (Rochester) – Calloway did not make state in the 3,200 like she did in 2021, but she ran an impressive 5:28 in the 1,600 and an 11:56 in the 3,200 meters.

  • Violet Montgomery (Pioneer) – Montgomery won the 1,600 and 3,200 at the Hoosier North meet and then qualified for regional in both events. She’s gotten her 1,600 time down under 5:40, and her 3,200 time is down to 12:04.

Hurdlers

  • Macie Nelson (Rochester) – Nelson’s win at the TRC meet in 17.62 seconds in the 100 hurdles in frigid, drizzly conditions was one of the most impressive feats we saw in person. Missed going to regionals by 0.12 seconds.

  • Kate Collins (Winamac) – Collins ran a sub-55 second 300 hurdles and was consistently the best in our area in this event.

  • Emily Basham (Rochester) – Basham’s specialty was the 300 hurdles, and she was the only area athlete to score points in this event in a sectional.

Jumpers/Vaulters

  • Chesnee Miller (Valley) – Qualifying for regionals in both the 800 meters and the long jump makes Miller, a sophomore, a uniquely versatile athlete. Is a 16-foot jump in her future? We wouldn’t bet against it.

  • Keirsten Nies (Pioneer) – Freshmen who can high jump 5-0 come around once a decade, if that. Keirsten Nies is that freshman.

  • Carlee Snyder (Valley) – Snyder qualified for regional in the high jump. She doesn’t have Nies’ hops, but this is another very talented newcomer.

Throwers

  • Kennedy Jackson (Rochester) – Plymouth’s Sydney Rice and Culver Academy’s Madison Miller are both a year older than Jackson, and both beat her in the shot put at the 2021 sectional. She beat both of them at this year’s sectional.

  • Chloe Shepherd (Valley) – Shepherd won the TRC with a throw of 111-10 and then qualified for regionals with a throw of 108-2 at the Bremen sectional.

  • Kennedy Corn (Pioneer) – Corn won the Northwestern sectional with a throw of 104-11, bettering her conference throw by more than seven feet. It was a great final act for a senior.

Honorable mention

  • Ava Smith (Valley)

  • Isabel Dunwoody (Rochester)

  • Alexis Sheets (Winamac)

  • Ali Paul (Caston)

  • MaKenna Jackson (Rochester)

  • Giselle Villegas (Culver)

  • Blair Grigsby (Pioneer)

  • Anna Shewalter (Pioneer)

  • Amiyah Williams (Culver)

  • Makenna Strycker (Pioneer)

  • Kami Burkett (Rochester)

  • Emma Stinson (Caston)

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