BLOOMINGTON - For the second time in school history, Eastern High School has a state champion in track and field. On a cold June 1 evening, Bethany Neeley captured the 1,600 meter run with a time of 4:53.95 - easily outdistancing the rest of the field. Twin sister Brittany posted a third place in the 800 meter run as the Lady Comets finished the meet in a school record 10th place.
Neeley joins Jeremy Ashcraft as IHSAA state track and field champions from Eastern. In 1994, Ashcraft won the state pole vault title with a vault of 15-0.
For the second time in school history (1997, 2012) the Pike Red Devils captured the IHSAA Girls Track and Field team championship Friday night at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex.
Head coach De Dee Nathan’s squad took home the team title with a score of 55 points. Fort Wayne Northrop placed second with 49 points, edging Lawrence Central who finished third with 45.5. Pike was led by the state champion 400 meter relay team of Morgan Haney (10), Jasmine McFadden (12), Chelsea Yeadon (11) and Morgan Yeadon (12). The Red Devils had a strong showing in the sprints, finishing 2-3-4 in the 100 (M. Yeadon, C. Yeadon, Haney) and 2-4-6 in the 200 (M. Yeadon, C. Yeadon, Haney).
Westview senior Skyler Carpenter captured titles in both hurdle events and the long jump and concluded her high school career with seven individual state championships. Her victory in the 300 hurdles was her third straight in the event.
Junior Ashley Erba of Warsaw raced to first in the 3200 meter run, crossing the line in time of 10:24.94 and adding to the individual cross country state championship she won last fall.
Sophomore Brionna Thomas of Fort Wayne Wayne was a double winner on the night taking the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
In the 3200 meter relay, Carmel repeated as state champs (Sarah Bennett 12, Taylor Cotherman 12, Ariel Hune 11, and Lauren Kahre 12), coming in at 9:14.39.
Senior MonTayla Holder of Lawrence Central defended her state championship crown in the 400 meter dash, winning with a time of 56.26.
Senior Cassie Wertman of Southridge, 2011’s discus state champion, was victorious in the shot put, winning with a toss of 50-1.25. This year’s discus winner was senior Rachel Dincoff of DeKalb with a throw of 143-7.
Also of note, Coach Nathan became the first woman to be a student on a state championship track team (Fort Wayne South Side, 1985, 1986) and then coach a team to the title. She won seven crowns (five individual, two relays) during her high school career before going on to become an Olympic heptathlete and a world indoor pentathlon champ. She's also the third to win an individual state championship and later coach a state championship team joining Rhonda Brady-Gillis and Hope (Sanders) Robinson.
For a complete story, see the June 5 edition of the Sports Journal.
(Dean Hockney and the IHSAA contributed to this story)