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  • Val T.

Culver’s Jackson finishes 2nd in discus, shot put, advances to regional

Rochester’s Seward, Nelson, Valley’s Shepherd also advance


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Kennedy Jackson

BREMEN — Kennedy Jackson’s attempt to return to the IHSAA girls track and field state finals continued when she finished second in both the discus and the shot put at the Bremen sectional Tuesday.

Jackson threw the discus 101-10 and the shot put 39-7. She finished second to Whitko’s Gwen Howard in both events. Jackson made state in the shot put in 2022 when she competed for Rochester. She transferred to Culver last summer.

Jackson joined Rochester’s Zoe Seward and Macie Nelson and Tippecanoe Valley’s Betty Shepherd among RTC area regional qualifiers.

Zoe Seward

Culver Academy stood atop an 11-team field with 151 points and won their fourth consecutive sectional. Rochester was sixth with 48 points, Valley was eighth with 34 points, Culver was 10th with 19 points, and Caston was 11th with 12 points.

The regional is at Goshen at 6 p.m. next Tuesday.


Rochester


Nelson was second in the pole vault, and Seward was third in the 3,200 meters.

Nelson’s clearance of 8-6 was a personal best and just behind the 10-0 of Susie Bourdier of Culver Academy. Technically, she said she finally

Macie Nelson

was able to turn, an important sign of progress. She said she wants to break Ashley Minix’s school record of 9-6.

Due to some weather-related damage to the pole vault stanchions at the high school track, Nelson had to get creative with some of her training this spring.

She estimated it was just her fifth competitive meet in the pole vault this season.

“Well, we kind of had to do our own engineering,” Nelson said. “You know we have bungies? … We took them and put them at certain heights on other poles and stuck them in the sides of the mats so that they would be in the right height and we could jump over that. But it’s been pretty hard for me to get practice in because I’ve focused so much on hurdles the last few years, so it was hard for me to get any practice in.”

Seward was fourth in the 1,600 meters earlier in the meet but recovered to run 12:17.28 in the 3,200. She cut 17 seconds off her time from the Three Rivers Conference meet 11 days earlier.

“She had a challenge to move on, and she accepted the challenge,” Rochester coach Ryan Helt said. “She came out and used up probably a decent amount of energy in the (1,600) and came up short there, and it was nice to see her come back and fight and put herself back where she belongs.”

Senior Araceli Ochoa was fifth in the 1,600 meters behind Seward.

Other scoring Rochester athletes included freshman Ashlynn Weyant, who was fifth in the shot put (30-1 ½); Audrey Wagner, who was sixth in both the 200 (28.07 seconds) and the 400 (1:04.12); Nelson, who was sixth in the 100 hurdles in 17.51 seconds; Allyson Calloway, who was sixth in the 3,200 in 13:33.28; Melody Hisey, who was eighth in the shot put with a throw of 28-11 ½; and Ella Hake, who was eighth in the 800.

Rochester was also ninth in the 4 x 100 relay, eighth in the 4 x 400 relay and fifth in the 4 x 800 relay. The 4 x 100 relay team consisted of Nelson, Savanah Eccles, Kendyll Bradley and Kasey Gray. The 4 x 400 team consisted of Bradley, Isabel Dunwoody, Ochoa and Audrey Wagner. Seward, Calloway and Hake joined Ochoa on the 4 x 800 relay.

“I felt Celi (Ochoa) had a really nice meet,” Helt said. “She PR’d in the 1,600, and she ran a nice leg in the four by four. Audrey Wagner had a really tough assignment today and ended up placing in the two and the four and the four by four. So a good meet for her. I probably pushed her a little too much as far as her break time went. … I thought Kasey Gray ran well. Just the field went out fast. Our young kids did well – (Brooklyn) Chandler, Calloway, Hake.

“I’m kind of disappointed as far as where we finished, but when you look at the individual performances, a lot of kids put up good numbers.”

Betty Shepherd

Tippecanoe Valley

Shepherd, a freshman, was second in the 300 hurdles in a personal best 49.68 seconds. Making the regional means she will get to compete against her cousin Annabel Parker, a sophomore from Warsaw. Parker was third in the same event at the Warsaw sectional Tuesday.

“We do often,” Shepherd said when asked if she and Parker talk during the season about hurdling. “We tell each other ‘congratulations’ for our PRs or our races, and it’s good to keep up with each other, have someone to push us.”

Shepherd has another family connection to track: Her older brother Braden is a 2022 Valley grad and a former regional qualifier himself.

“It’s like the drive,” Shepherd said when asked what she likes about the 300 hurdles. “I feel so powerful at the end because I can kick it off and I can get going, and it’s really exciting. … It’s honestly all about showing up to practice, being there, working hard in practice.”

Chesnee Miller was fourth in the 400 in 1:01.22, fifth in the long jump with a jump of 15-3 and sixth in the 800 in 2:50.02. Miller had won the 800 at the TRC meet in 2:28.97.

“Emotional for her,” Valley coach Jenny Moriarty said when asked to describe Miller’s night. “I had every confidence she could do it. I think she’s got to gain that confidence for herself too. She second-guesses herself, and she puts a lot of extra stress on herself she probably doesn’t need. Because she’s got the training. She’s got the endurance to do it. She’s been doing it all year. Yes, they did take out an extra 800 heat, so we lost a little bit of time that way. So that made a difference. It just wasn’t her night tonight.”

Shepherd was also fifth in the 100 hurdles. The other Valley scorer was junior Kelsey Cox, who was sixth in the shot put with a heave of 30-0.

Valley was also fourth in the 4 x 100 relay and seventh in the 4 x 400 relay. The 4 x 100 relay consisted of Emma Patrick, Ava Smith, Caitlyn Ransbottom and Kendyll Ransbottom. Gaby Gonzalez and Shepherd joined Patrick and Smith on the 4 x 400 team.

Valley does not have a 4 x 800 relay team.

Culver

Jackson, who will continue her track career next year at Grand Valley State, has new coaches in Mickella Hardy Stevens and Kyle Klinge.

Hardy Stevens holds the Culver school record of 39-11 ½. Jackson scratched on a throw that meet organizers measured at 41-10.

“To be honest, I think it’s my coaches,” Jackson said when asked how she is different technically as a thrower. “Well, one of my coaches is the record holder at Culver – Mickella. And coach Klinge knows a lot about throwing. And he takes parts of my glide and breaks it down into steps, so I can work on what I’m doing. … Last year, I scratched a lot. This year, I’m doing better at not scratching. Even just the technique and getting my chest up and pushing back on my leg, they help tremendously. And strength-wise, I’ve definitely gotten stronger, so that helps.”

Fellow thrower Willow Harrington, who was eighth in the discus with a throw of 82-9, was the only other Culver athlete to place.

Culver’s 4 x 100 relay team took seventh. That team was made up of Taylor Darnell, Grace Sieber, Amiyah Williams and Villegas.

Culver does not have 4 x 400 or 4 x 800 relay teams.

Caston

No Lady Comet earned an automatic spot for the regional, but junior Ali Paul, who was fourth in the high jump at 4-10, could get a callback. She accounted for five of Caston’s 12 points.

The other scorer in an individual event was Kaitie Hutsell, who was sixth in the 100 in 13.67 seconds.

Hutsell also ran a leg on the 4 x 100 relay, which took fifth in 54.88 seconds. Vega Piorno Martin and Camila Hernandez-Rios joined Paul and Hutsell on that relay.

The 4 x 400 relay team took ninth. Caston does not have a 4 x 800 relay.

Bremen girls track sectional results: Culver Academy 151, Plymouth 98, Manchester 81, Whitko 64, Bremen 54, Rochester 48, Triton 35, Tippecanoe Valley 34, North Miami 25, Culver 19, Caston 12

Scoring on 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for all events

Automatic regional qualifiers (top three) plus all Rochester, Valley, Caston and Culver athletes

100 m

1. Allen (PLY) – 12.82 seconds, 2. Harper (WHI) – 12.89, 3. LaBella (CGA) – 13.04, 6. Kaitie Hutsell (CAS) – 13.67, 9. Giselle Villegas (CUL) – 13.95, 10. Kasey Gray (RHS) – 13.95, 11. Emma Patrick (TV) – 13.96, 13. Taylor Darnell (CUL) – 14.00, 14. Kendyll Ransbottom (TV) – 14.11, 17. Savanah Eccles (RHS) – 14.34

200 m

1. Allen (PLY) – 26.28 seconds, 2. Guiliani (MAN) – 26.38, 3. LaBella (CGA) – 26.39, 6. Audrey Wagner (RHS) – 28.07, 10. Ava Smith (TV) – 28.34, 11. Kasey Gray (RHS) – 28.48, 14. Amiyah Williams (CUL) – 28.51, 15. Caitlyn Ransbottom (TV) – 28.84, 16. Camila Hernandez-Rios (CAS) – 29.21

400 m

1. Bird (CGA) – 59.28 seconds, 2. Kincaid (BRE) – 1:00.18, 3. Howard (WHI) – 1:00.87, 4. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 1:01.22, 6. Audrey Wagner (RHS) – 1:04.12, 9. Taylor Darnell (CUL) – 1:05.75, 14. Kendyll Bradley (RHS) – 1:10.78

800 m

1. VerMeulen (CGA) – 2:24.92, 2. Wray (PLY) – 2:27.53, 3. Klockow (BRE) – 2:29.03, 6. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 2:50.02, 8. Ella Hake (RHS) – 2:57.00, 12. Alexa Lowe (CAS) – 3:01.67, 13. Brooklyn Chandler (RHS) – 3:02.20

1,600 m

1. Gram (CGA) – 5:16.24, 2. Wray (PLY) – 5:32.24, 3. Cashdollar (MAN) – 5:32.76, 4. Zoe Seward (RHS) – 5:46.86, 5. Araceli Ochoa (RHS) – 5:53.90, 12. Bailey Bussard (TV) – 6:26.89, 14. Alexa Lowe (CAS) – 6:29.55, 15. McKenna Lowe (TV) – 6:37.27, 17. Maddy Hamilton (CUL) – 6:53.97, 19. Jaded Aguilar (CAS) – 6:57.63

3,200 m

1. Fox (MAN) – 11:25.75, 2. Gram (CGA) – 11:57.36, 3. Zoe Seward (RHS) – 12:17.28, 6. Allyson Calloway (RHS) – 13:33.28, 9. Mackenzi Roudebush (CAS) – 14:22.46, 11. Stevanna Young (CAS) – 15:27.11

100 m hurdles

1. Hunter (PLY) – 15.63 seconds, 2. Ream (MAN) – 16.10, 3. Atienza (MAN) – 16.95, 5. Betty Shepherd (TV) – 17.34, 6. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 17.51, 10. Grace Sieber (CUL) – 19.75, 11. Alexis Elliott (TV) – 20.01

300 m hurdles

1. Spiller (CGA) – 48.61 seconds, 2. Betty Shepherd (TV) – 49.68, 3. Miller (CGA) – 50.68, 12. Alexis Elliott (TV) – 1:03.47

4 x 100 m relay

1. Culver Academy (B. Bird, Bourdier, Zimpleman, LaBella) – 51.13 seconds, 2. Manchester (Atienza, Davis, Finch, Ream) – 52.10, 3. Bremen (Nunemaker, Sahlhoff, Libey, Foster) – 52.50, 4. Valley (Emma Patrick, Ava Smith, Caitlyn Ransbottom, Kendyll Ransbottom) – 53.41, 5. Caston (Vega Piorno Martin, Camila Hernandez-Rios, Ali Paul, Kaitie Hutsell) – 54.88, 7. Culver (Taylor Darnell, Grace Sieber, Amiyah Williams, Giselle Villegas) – 55.08, 9. Rochester (Macie Nelson, Savanah Eccles, Kendyll Bradley, Kasey Gray) – 59.57

4 x 400 m relay

1. Culver Academy (B. Bird, Gibbs, Springer, Q. Bird) – 4:13.06, 2. Bremen (Nunemaker, Sahlhoff, Klockow, Kincaid) – 4:15.73, 3. Plymouth (Gurtner, Everett, Erhart, Ameling) – 4:20.31, 7. Valley (Ava Smith, Emma Patrick, Betty Shepherd, Gaby Gonzalez) – 4:38.42, 8. Rochester (Kendyll Bradley, Isabel Dunwoody, Araceli Ochoa, Audrey Wagner) – 4:41.49, 9. Caston (Jaded Aguilar, Camila Hernandez-Rios, Ali Paul, Mackenzi Roudebush) – 4:52.19

4 x 800 m relay

1. Culver Academy (Springer, L. VerMeulen, Gibbs, M. VerMeulen) – 10:01.93, 2. Manchester (Cashdollar, Fox, Egolf, Eberly) – 10:05.92, 3. Triton (Heckaman, Reichard, Carson, Faulkner) – 11:04.99, 5. Rochester (Zoe Seward, Allyson Calloway, Ella Hake, Araceli Ochoa) – 11:21.07

Long jump

1. Spiller (CGA) – 17-0 ¼, 2. Harper (WHI) – 16-9 ¾, 3. Ferman (PLY) – 15-11 ½, 5. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 15-3, 13. Ali Paul (CAS) – 13-6 ½, 17. Savanah Eccles (RHS) – 13-2 ¾, 18. Camila Hernandez-Rios (CAS) – 13-2 ¼, 19. Amiyah Williams (CUL) – 13-0 ¾, 20. Grace Sieber (CUL) – 12-1

High jump

1. Spiller (CGA) – 5-4, 2. Sailors (NM) – 5-2, 3. Rhoades (WHI) – 5-1, 4. Ali Paul (CAS) – 4-10, t-9. Carlee Snyder (TV) – 4-6, 13. Isabel Dunwoody (RHS) – 4-4

Discus

1. Howard (WHI) – 117-0, 2. Kennedy Jackson (CUL) – 101-10, 3. Borgmann (MAN) – 97-8, 8. Willow Harrington (CUL) – 82-9, 12. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 73-8, 13. Ashlynn Weyant (RHS) – 72-10, 14. Melody Hisey (RHS) – 72-7, 16. Tayler Shafer (CAS) – 68-3, 20. Anahi Ramirez-Brito (TV) – 55-11, 21. Kelsey Cox (TV) – 54-9

Shot put

1. Howard (WHI) – 43-3 ¾, 2. Kennedy Jackson (CUL) – 39-7, 3. Viers (TRI) – 37-10 ¼, 5. Ashlynn Weyant (RHS) – 30-1 ½, 6. Kelsey Cox (TV) – 30-0, 8. Melody Hisey (RHS) – 28-11 ½, 11. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 27-10 ¼, 12. Tayler Shafer (CAS) – 27-8 ½, 15. Willow Harrington (CUL) – 26-3 ½, 20. Anahi Ramirez-Brito (TV) – 24-2 ½

Pole vault

1. Bourdier (CGA) – 10-0, 2. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 8-6, 3. Ferman (PLY) – 8-6, t-6. Simona Faoro (RHS) – 7-0


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