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High Schools

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Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Northrop’s Amber McGee won the 200 meter and anchored the winning 1,600 relay team Tuesday at the Northrop Regional.
Northrop Regional

Bruins capture 6th title in a row

Northrop girls cope with coaching change, injuries

North Side’s Ke’Ondra Hawthorne, right, is first across the finish line Tuesday in the 400-meter relay, with Northrop’s Dejah Arnold, center, finishing second and Concordia’s Cierra Weems third.

– Adversity hasn’t slowed down the Northrop girls track team.

Despite a lot going on this season, the Bruins pulled away late for their sixth consecutive regional championship, beating runner-up Homestead 69-52 1/2 Tuesday at Northrop.

The defending state champion Bruins had their coach, Harmony Ake, leave the program five weeks ago and veteran assistant Terry Milton elevated to head coach.

“Actually, the coaching philosophy is so much different; I am so demanding, but they know that,” Milton said. “They have handled it extremely well, but it was rough. You just have to reel them in and keep their focus.”

Eighth-ranked Northrop also had one of its best runners, defending 400 state champion Dejah Arnold, out since early April with an injury. Arnold ran in her first competition since the injury at the regional on the second-place 400 relay team, which lost to North Side 48.00 to 48.24 seconds. She qualified for state in a fourth event with a eighth-place finish in the long jump. Senior Alexis Scott is out with an injury.

“We have been inconsistent with who is healthy and who is not and who can run,” Milton said. “The good thing about it is whenever you are dealing with adversity, it allows other girls to step up and have other girls to get that valuable experience in meets because you never know when you are going to call on them.”

Amber McGee picked up two first-place finishes for the Bruins with a win in the 200 (24.80) and anchoring the winning 1,600 relay (3:59.40).

“I think we are bouncing back pretty well given the scenarios,” McGee said. “The coaches are realizing it, and they are trying to put us in the best possible way for state.”

Northrop also won the 3,200 relay (9:30.65). Latrice Bolton and Victoria McCuiston ran on the winning 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.

Concordia’s Symone Black picked up first places in the 100 hurdles (14.55) and 300 hurdles (42.51). She is the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles.

“Today was a mental challenge for me,” Black said. “I just had to get over that loop because I didn’t do well at the SAC, and I didn’t have the competition until this week. I just knew I had to step my game up to set me up for state.

“Once I do well in one (hurdle race) it just keeps motivating me to do well in the other one.”

Churubusco’s Katie Monk set a regional record in the discus, winning with a throw of 151 feet, 2 inches, beating the previous record (145-1) by six inches.

“It is nice to have those big throws and a great meet to do it,” Monk said. “I had a couple of those good throws, so that makes me feel a lot better that it wasn’t just one, but several good throws that are carrying me into next week. I always think that every meet; I have something in me waiting to come out, and it did tonight.”

Monk finished second in the shot put to Snider’s Arriana Fitts (41-3 to 41-2 1/4 ).

North Side’s Dyamond Morris finished first in the 100 (12.28) and was part of the winning 400 relay.

Also with first places were Carroll’s Sara McKeeman (pole vault, 12-0), Bellmont’s Holly Hankenson (long jump, 18-8) South Side’s Abigail Grider (800, 2:15.98), Homestead’s Madison Distelrath (5:07.37), Pioneer’s Madison Kiser (400, 57.66), Oak Hill’s Janae Moffitt (high jump, 5-9) and Northwestern’s Taryn Thor (3,200, 11:08.01).

gjones@jg.net

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