NEW HAVEN – There was plenty going on at the New Haven girls track sectional, but just as evident was who was missing from the action Tuesday.
With Homestead dominating the team race, and Bellmont’s Holly Hankenson and the Spartans’ Lindley Kistler winning four events each, there was also the absence of three seniors in Wayne’s Brionna Thomas, Columbia City’s Samantha Roush and Hankenson’s twin sister, Bailee – all out with injuries and thus unable to advance in the postseason.
Thomas, the two-time state champion in the 100 and 200 meters, suffered a pulled hamstring at the SAC meet May 9 and has not fully recovered. Wayne coach Tom Hogan called it bad luck and said Thomas will be listed as an alternate with the 400 relay team at next week’s regional. If healthy enough, Thomas could step into the relay and possibly make it back to state.
We missed her, Hogan said. It’s just not the same without her.
Kistler dominated the sprints in Thomas’ absence, winning the 100 meters in 12.49 seconds, 200 in 25.31, 400 in 58.86 and was part of the first-place 1,600 relay team (4:09.44).
I was real surprised when I heard (Thomas) was injured and wouldn’t be here, Kistler said. At first I wanted to run against her because I needed someone fast to push me to try to do better, but then I was happy because I knew it would be an easier meet for me.
Bailee Hankenson, who was at the meet after a doctor’s appointment with a walking boot on her right ankle, was listed as the top 800 runner in the sectional and is a big part of a couple of relays for the NHC champion Braves.
Holly Hankenson’s wins in the 100 (14.74) and 300 hurdles (45.01), long jump (17 feet, 3 1/4 inches) and 3,200 relay (9:56.46) were bittersweet without her twin sister. The times in the 300 hurdles and 3,200 relay set sectional records.
It’s obviously very disappointing, but that’s not really anything we can do about it now but move on, and (Bailee) needs to focus on recovering, Holly Hankenson said. She’s definitely disappointed because it’s her senior year, she only had a couple of meets left, and she was doing so well.
Roush, one of the better distance runners in the area, suffered stress fractures in her leg three weeks ago, according to Eagles coach Bob Fahl. Roush is an Indiana recruit.
Homestead ran up 148 points to outdistance runner-up Bellmont’s 119. At the NHC meet, the Braves finished in first place, while the Spartans were third.
We scored points in places we didn’t expect them to score points, Homestead coach Amy Barnes said. We had kids step up in places we asked them to step up in, and they rose to the challenge. They wanted a little redemption after the NHC.
The Spartans also got wins from Grace Walther (800, 2:21.61) and Susie Isbister (pole vault, 9-3).
Bellmont’s Bailey Beary was a double winner in the 1,600 (5:13.28) and 3,200 (11:33.59), as was South Adams’ Allison Amstutz in the discus (115-1) and shot put (39-7 1/2 ). Also winning events were Wayne’s JeBria Green (high jump, 5-4) and New Haven’s 400 relay team (49.94).