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  • Val T.

Shepherd sets Valley record in 300 hurdles, will join Rochester’s Wagner at regional

Valley’s Wise, 4 x 100, 4 x 400 relays; Rochester’s Doran, Weyant, Calloway; Caston’s Amezquita also advance


Sports Editor, RTC

The Tippecanoe Valley 4 x 400 relay finished second and broke the school record in 4:11.23 at the Bremen sectional Tuesday. They earned a berth at the Kokomo regional next Tuesday. From left – Hadley Wise, Chesnee Miller, Ava Smith, Betty Shepherd. Photo provided by Blake Miller

BREMEN — Betty Shepherd broke the Tippecanoe Valley school record in the 300 hurdles on her way to a sectional title at Bremen High School Tuesday, and Rochester junior Audrey Wagner finished second to also advance to the regional in a race with a distinct area flavor.

Shepherd’s time of 47.42 seconds might make her one of the top contenders at next week’s Kokomo regional. She finished second at last year’s sectional and is heading to the regional for the second straight year.

Valley coach Jenny Moriarty said she had many of her faster runners do distance workouts in preparation for the sectional to build up their endurance. Shepherd is one of those who seems to get stronger as the race progresses.

“Very awesome for her,” Moriarty said. “She’s worked really hard for that, so I’m really proud of her to grab that. … She definitely can maintain her speed. Where I think some of them begin to die off, she keeps that speed, so that’s the difference.”

Rochester’s Audrey Wagner finished second in the 300 hurdles in 49.61 seconds at the Bremen sectional Tuesday to advance to the Kokomo regional next Tuesday. Wagner, a junior, just started running the 300 hurdles this year. She also placed seventh in the 100 meters.

Meanwhile, Wagner broke her own personal record with a 49.61. Wagner came into the meet as the No. 6 seed, and only the top three advanced.

“It feels great,” Wagner said. “I was really not expecting it, and I’m super proud of myself. … I really thought I was going to run a high 50, and I was pleasantly surprised by that 49.”

The other area sectional champion occurred in the 4 x 100 relay, where Valley’s Hadley Wise passed a hobbled Culver Academy runner battling a hamstring injury over the final 20 meters to win in 51.71 seconds.

Ava Smith, Izzy Woodruff and Gaby Gonzalez joined Wise on the relay.

“I was really happy,” Wise said. “I did a little dance at the end. I was really excited, a lot of adrenaline.”

Culver Academy won their fifth straight sectional team title with 123 points, which was 6.5 more than runner-up Plymouth. Tippecanoe Valley was fifth in the 11-team field with 58, Rochester was eighth with 38, Caston was 10th with 12, and Culver was 11th with two.

Valley also advanced to the regional in the 4 x 400 relay by finishing second in a school record 4:11.23. Chesnee Miller ran the anchor in a race that included legs from Wise, Smith and Shepherd.

Culver Academy won in 4:07.69.

Illness had beset Miller prior to the meet, according to Moriarty. She finished fifth in the 400 and ninth in the long jump earlier in the meet.

“She’s been fighting a cold,” Moriarty said. “I feel bad. I started with it about two weeks ago, and I feel like it’s going through the track team pretty bad. So she was upset with her 400, and she could feel the effects of her sickness in long jump. I wasn’t worried when she took over where we were sitting in the race when she took it because I knew there was no way that girl was going to let anyone pass her. So she just has that determination, and she had that extra drive of, ‘This is it. I’m going to make it.’”

In addition to Miller’s illness, Smith suffered a hamstring injury at a meet at Rochester on April 30, but Moriarty said she knew she would be available late last week.

Wise also advanced as an individual by finishing third in 27.17 seconds in the 200. She said she surprised herself by finishing in the top eight, much less the top three.

“I honestly did not think that I was going to make it in the finals even,” Wise said. “So I was excited when I got that, and when I found out I was going to regionals, that was even more exciting.”

In addition to Wagner, other Rochester regional qualifiers included freshman Kyra Doran, who took third by 0.05 seconds over Valley’s Shepherd in the 100 hurdles; sophomore Ashlynn Weyant, who took third in the shot put with a throw of 31-6 ¾ that bested her Three Rivers Conference meet throw by nearly two full feet; and sophomore Allyson Calloway, who took fifth in the 3,200 in 13:01.68 but received a callback after the meet.

Rochester coach Ryan Helt called Calloway “a heck of a leader” and “instrumental to our program.”

Doran admitted that making the regional was not a preseason goal. She said she recently learned the three-step method of hurdling from assistant coach Alysha Wachtmann.

She said she was “very shocked” after beating Shepherd by 0.05 seconds for third.

“I kept practicing three-stepping, getting faster striding,” Doran said. “I started three-stepping at conference actually (May 3), and it cut off like two seconds. You’re not taking that extra fourth step, so you’re getting faster between each hurdle. … It was hard, but it’s getting easier now that I keep doing it.”

She said she started in track as a seventh-grader, and she said she’s always loved it.

“I just love that I get to win,” a laughing Doran said.

Doran called fellow hurdler Wagner a “big role model.”

Wagner’s coaches said they thought she had a better chance of advancing than being a No. 6 seed might suggest. She had also been recently battled a sore hip in practice.

“We knew she was right up in there,” Rochester assistant coach Dr. John Nile said. “In the TRC meet, she was running that one by herself. So if we had somebody close to her, she might have been closer. Not to take anything from today. Today was fantastic. We were hoping this would happen.”

Senior pole vaulter MaKenna Jackson missed the meet due to an injury. Jackson won the pole vault at the conference meet with a clearance of 9-0, and she had vaulted as high as 9-7 and set the school record at the LaPorte Invitational on April 20. The winning vault Tuesday was 8-6.

Helt said the injury occurred in practice Friday but declined to expound.

“We thought she might get cleared for tonight, but overall, the doctors ruled it out. It was a really unfortunate way for her to end her season, but grateful that she got a chance to succeed in breaking the school record. I think she would have had a really good chance of moving on tonight. But that’s the way high school sports go. Your window’s only open for so many chances. Just really bad timing.”

Weyant was fifth at last year’s sectional in the shot put. Two of the four that finished ahead of her graduated.

Caston’s Breana Amezquita finished third in the discus with a throw of 94-11 at the Bremen sectional Tuesday. She is the first Caston athlete to qualify for the girls track regional since Adrianna Dague in 2017.

“Shot’s really been kind of her strength,” Helt said. “She’s had a goal of making it to regional since her freshman year, and I’m glad to see her make it.”

The other area regional qualifier was Caston senior Breana Amezquita, who threw the discus 94-11 to finish third behind Whitko’s Gwen Howard and Triton’s Addyson Viers but just ahead of Weyant.

Amezquita is the first Caston athlete to qualify for girls track regionals since Adrianna Dague advanced in the 1,600 meters in 2017.

Bremen girls track sectional results: Culver Academy 123, Plymouth 116.5, Bremen 77, Whitko 69, Tippecanoe Valley 58, Manchester 57, Triton 54.5, Rochester 38, North Miami 15, Caston 12, Culver 2

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

Regional qualifiers (top three) plus all Rochester, Valley, Caston and Culver results

100 m

1. Kincaid (BRE) – 13.20 seconds, 2. Harper (WHI) – 13.40, 3. Zimpleman (CGA) – 13.49, 5. Kaitie Hutsell (CAS) – 13.93, 7. Audrey Wagner (RHS) – 14.09, 9. Izzy Woodruff (TV) – 14.24 (prelims), 11. Giselle Villegas (CUL) – 14.25 (prelims), 13. Gaby Gonzalez (TV) – 14.28 (prelims), 14. Grace Sieber (CUL) – 14.45 (prelims), 15. Olivia Rude (RHS) – 15.09 (prelims)

200 m

1. Bird (CGA) – 26.32 seconds, 2. Foster (BRE) – 26.95, 3. Hadley Wise (TV) – 27.17, 9. Giselle Villegas (CUL) – 29.02 (prelims), 10. Kaitie Hutsell (CAS) – 29.98 (prelims), 11. Izzy Woodruff (TV) – 30.41 (prelims), 12. Eliana Andzrejewski (CUL) – 30.87 (prelims), 13. Olivia Rude (RHS) – 31.89 (prelims)

400 m

1. Bird (CGA) – 58.55 seconds, 2. Baxter (CGA) – 58.99, 3. Kincaid (BRE) – 59.17, 5. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 1:01.38, 10. Camila Hernandez-Rios (CAS) – 1:09.66, 12. Kadence Bradley (RHS) – 1:12.52

800 m

1. Wray (PLY) – 2:23.39, 2. Egolf (MAN) – 2:25.51, 3. Gibbs (CGA) – 2:25.77, 6. Ava Egolf (TV) – 2:39.56, 9. Taylor Navara (RHS) – 2:48.66, 11. Ella Hake (RHS) – 2:50.43, 13. Caja Rabitsch (TV) – 2:52.09, 14. Ivon Torres-Escobar (CUL) – 3:08.69, 15. Tessa Baldwin (CAS) – 3:36.16, 16. Maddie Sprow (CAS) – 3:37.70

1,600 m

1. Wray (PLY) – 5:11.61, 2. Gram (CGA) – 5:19.13, 3. Cashdollar (MAN) – 5:20.94, 7. Bailey Bussard (TV) – 6:18.08, 8. McKenna Lowe (TV) – 6:18.65, 9. Jaded Aguilar (CAS) – 6:59.52

3,200 m

1. Wray (PLY) – 11:34.18, 2. Cashdollar (MAN) – 11:43.93, 3. Gram (CGA) – 11:48.79, 5. Allyson Calloway (RHS) – 13:01.68, 8. Brooklyn Chandler (RHS) – 13:56.80

100 m hurdles

1. Hunter (PLY) – 16.35 seconds, 2. Pezzuto (BRE) – 16.73, 3. Kyra Doran (RHS) – 16.88, 4. Betty Shepherd (TV) – 16.93, 9. Rilyn Strasser (RHS) – 19.96, 10. Malia Kreft (TV) – 19.98, 13. Maleah Johnson (CUL) – 21.14

300 m hurdles

1. Betty Shepherd (TV) – 47.42 seconds, 2. Audrey Wagner (RHS) – 49.61, 3. Macey (PLY) – 49.70, 13. Rilyn Strasser (RHS) – 56.01, 14. Alexis Elliott (TV) – 57.34

4 x 100 m relay

1. Valley (Ava Smith, Izzy Woodruff, Gaby Gonzalez, Hadley Wise) – 51.71 seconds, 2. Culver Academy – 51.92, 3. Plymouth – 52.24, 7. Culver (Eliana Andzrejewski, Grace Sieber, Maleah Johnson, Giselle Villegas) – 55.62, 9. Rochester (Audrey Wagner, Olivia Rude, Emma Bays, Avarie Montel) – 58.81

4 x 400 m relay

1. Culver Academy – 4:07.69, 2. Tippecanoe Valley (Ava Smith, Betty Shepherd, Hadley Wise, Chesnee Miller) – 4:11.23, 3. Bremen – 4:14.25

4 x 800 m relay

1. Culver Academy – 9:55.19, 2. Manchester – 10:22.21, 3. Plymouth – 10:56.60, 4. Rochester (Allyson Calloway, Brooklyn Chandler, Taylor Navara, Ella Hake) – 11:05.31, 7. Caston (Jaded Aguilar, Camila Hernandez-Rios, Maddie Sprow, Tessa Baldwin) – 12:54.17

Long jump

1. Harper (WHI) – 16-3 ¼, 2. Sordelet (WHI) – 15-6 ¾, 3. Miller (CGA) – 15-5 ½, 7. Ava Egolf (TV) – 14-11 ½, 8. Kyra Doran (RHS) – 14-10, 9. Chesnee Miller (TV) – 14-6 1/415. Eliana Andzrejewski (CUL) – 12-9 ½, 18. Emma Bays (RHS) – 10-5, 19. Emmeline Zabel (CAS) – 8-9 ¼

High jump

1. Sailors (NM) – 5-0, 2. Miller (CGA) – 4-10, 3. Everett (PLY) – 4-10, 6. Carlie Snyder (TV) – 4-10


1. Howard (WHI) – 133-7, 2. Addyson Viers (TRI) – 110-7, 3. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 94-11, 4. Ashlynn Weyant (RHS) – 88-11, 11. Savanna Harrington (CUL) – 71-6, 12. Jada Martz (CAS) – 71-4, 13. Betty Shepherd (TV) – 71-016. Anahi Ramirez-Brito (TV) – 64-8, 19. Ava Taylor (CUL) – 62-9, 22. Nevaeh Goodman (RHS) – 50-8

Shot put

1. Howard (WHI) – 45-2 ¼, 2. Addyson Viers (TRI) – 39-10 ¼, 3. Ashlynn Weyant (RHS) – 31-6 ¾, 5. Kelsey Cox (TV) – 30-1 ¾, 9. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 27-10 ¾, 10. Haley Derf (TV) – 26-1 ¼, t-13. Savanna Harrington (CUL) – 24-5, 16. Ava Taylor (CUL) – 23-10 ¾, 18. Jada Martz (CAS) – 23-3 ¼, 19. Nevaeh Goodman (RHS) – 21-8 ½

Pole vault

1. Clemons (CGA) – 8-6, t-2. Bemish (TRI) – 8-6, t-2. Ferman (PLY) – 8-6

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