Winning in the rain: Northview wins second straight sectional crown

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
After having to return Wednesday evening to complete the final events at the Terre Haute North Sectional, Northview's girls track and field team secured more than enough points to clinch its second straight sectional championship.
Northview girls track and field photo

As the rain fell from the Terre Haute sky at the conclusion of Tuesday night’s 4x400 relay race, bringing an end to Day 1 of the Terre Haute North Sectional, Northview’s girls track and field team held a 20-point advantage over Terre Haute South with two events (pole vault and long jump) still to be scored.

It was a spot Northview head coach James Grounds was glad to be in, especially with the projections signaling a slim win for the Braves after the two teams split the pair of regular season meets, although he didn’t want to put too much stock into the lead they held with plenty of points still to be scored.

“We crunched the numbers and it showed that it was going to be close. We’ve been keeping track [throughout Tuesday night] to see where we stood, and it seemed like we would move up here but then we’d fall back there and South was doing the same thing,” explained Grounds.

But things continued to go the way of the Knights on Wednesday as Brenna Stallcop finished second in long jump and Sophie Stallcop contributed with a sixth-place finish in pole vault to widen the gap enough to secure Northview’s second straight sectional championship.

“This is awesome,” said Northview’s Gnister Grant. “James put together the mock scores and it showed that we were expected to lose by seven points or something like that, and so to beat that and [win another sectional], that’s pretty good.”

“This is really cool, especially because we’ve been thinking about and working towards this since January. We really wanted to win,” said Northview’s Ellia Hayes. “This is very exciting. It’s a huge accomplishment, for sure.”

Among the stars to shine on Tuesday included the senior distance tandem of Hayes and Grant.

Hayes completed the four-year sweep in the 1600 with a first-place finish in a time of 5:31.69. She also added a 1600 sectional title to her list of accomplishments with a time of 2:17.75 while serving as the anchor leg in the 4x800 relay team – that also included Grant, Aubrey Miller and Reagin White – that won with a time of 10:19.66 to put an exclamation mark on a historic career at Northview.

“I definitely wanted to win the 1600 all four years, and I did that, so that was a pretty big accomplishment for me,” said Hayes. “Being a sectional champion my freshman, sophomore, junior, and now senior season, that was pretty cool.”

Grant, meanwhile, won the 3200 with a time of 12:19.19 to go along with a second-place finish in the 1600 with a time of 5:32.46. However, it was the way she went about her business in the two-mile race that played a pivotal role in the point differential for the Lady Knights as Grant made sure to stay close with sophomore Hannah Harrison, knowing what the importance would be for them to finish first and second on the final outcome of the meet.

“Coach [Grounds] told me to just go out and stay with the other girls and then move if I felt like it,” said Grant. “I was contemplating really pushing it to see how I felt before going into regionals or conserving it for the 4x400 to make sure we got the points we needed. I ended up deciding to go in the middle of those two options. I pushed, but it wasn’t an all-out effort because I wanted to help Hannah. She ended up getting second and that was definitely big. I just wanted to stay close to her to encourage her to keep pushing. It was a good team effort.”

Grounds pointed to Grant’s willingness to help her teammate in the middle of a sectional race as an example of the unselfishness this year’s team possesses while also noting the toughness it took for Harrison to finish second despite battling different ailments.

“Hannah was a dog. She went out there and competed. She knew what was supposed to happen and she put together a 30-second PR, which was really good. That was a big-time race for us,” said Grounds of Harrison. “I think it really helped that Gnister was seeing that her teammate needed help. She was looking over her shoulder to make sure Hannah could see her and chase her, and that’s because these girls are so unselfish. They want to go and compete and have good times, but if you ask them to do something for the team, they don’t even bat an eye.”

Northview’s third sectional champion came in the field events part of the night as Karsyn Buck, inspired to be able to say she could literally jump over assistant coach Jeff Walker, who stands at 5-foot-6, set a personal best with a leap of 5-05. And while she was still an inch away from saying she could clear Walker, it was more than enough to secure her first sectional championship, which she credited to the energy drink she slugged down before putting on her spikes.

“I’m so excited. I didn’t expect to do that at all. Coach [Walker] helped me a lot. He was telling me what to do and so I was going through that thought process every time I was jumping,” said Buck. “I have to have my cherry Alani. I’m convinced I won’t do well. I’m convinced it made the difference.”

Other contributors to Northview’s sectional championship-winning team included Vitz who finished third in the 100 with a time of 13.04, Buck who finished third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.41, the 4x100 relay team of Stallcop, Vitz, Rekelle Terrell and Mackenzie Heaton which finished second with a time of 51.58 and the 4x400 relay team of Grant, Hayes, White and Miller which finished third with a time of 4:23.24, all of whom advanced onto next week’s Bloomington North Regional.

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