CHESTERTON — Host Chesterton might have captured Tuesday night’s Girls Track Sectional on the strength of four first-place finishes and numerous high scores, but La Porte matched the Trojans in firsts and qualified for regionals in 11 events.
The Slicers, on the strength of five first-place finishes, ended the night in third place with 125 points – not far off the pace set by the Trojans (152) and Valparaiso (138).
Michigan City, which finished fourth with 61.5 points, was led by the dual effort of Joani and Naomi Ashley in the long jump; and Asia McLemore in the 100-meter dash. Joani Ashley captured first with a jump of 16-9, and Naomi took third with a leap of 16-0.5. McLemore finished third in the 100 (12.85).
All three Wolves advanced to regionals by finishing third or better.
Other highlights for City included a sixth-place finish from Joani Ashley in the 100 (13.5), a fourth from Jael Martin in the 100 hurdles (16.83), a sixth by Noami Ashley in the 200 (28.15), and fifth-place efforts from Meghan Miller in the pole vault (9-0), Alex Pomeroy in the 400 (1:03.23), and McLemore in the 300 hurdles (50.76).
The Ashley sisters and Martin joined Lydia Fuller to finish fourth in the 400 relay (52.37) for City.
Senior Riley Tuerff racked up firsts in the 100-meter hurdles (15.35) and 300-meter hurdles (47.08); and helped 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams to second-place finishes. Other firsts for La Porte included Caleah Smith in the high jump (5-2); and the 3,200-meter relay team of Jenny Noll, Shelby Riehle, Katerina Shuble and Ariana Steele (9:44.71).
“Overall, it was pretty good day,” Slicer coach Corbin Slater said. “We lost a few points that we thought we could have had, but the girls we knew needed to bring it definitely brought it. Hats off to Chesterton. We knew it would be a blood bath with Chesterton and Valparaiso.
“The girls gave 100 percent; we have a lot of individuals going into the next round. The goal now is getting as many to state as possible. Riley dominated in the hurdles, and Kat Shuble got second in the 800 (2:18.28) facing one of the best in the state (Valparaiso’s Ava Gilliana).”
Tuerff said she was feeling physically and emotionally sharp.
“My health is a lot better,” she said. “I’m feeling very confident for the hurdles, and I’m happy with the way I performed today.”
Other individual qualifiers included a second from Janelle O’Neal in the shot put (35-2), and thirds from Riley Ott in the 400 (1:01.95) and Isabella Appelgarth in the 1,600 (5:27.46).
The 400 Relay (50.63) featured Lauren Anglin, Nichole Flowers, Tuerff, and O’Neal. The 1,600 relay (4:12.94) featured Kayla Jones, Shuble, Tuerff, and Ryin Ott.
New Prairie, which finished seventh with 28 points, was led by a regional-qualifying performance from Emily Hundt in the discus (113-3), as well as a fifth-place finish from Skylar Denton in the shot put (33-2), and a sixth-place tally from Hannah Chelbowski in the pole vault (9-0).
“I came in seeded second, but it definitely wasn’t my best performance,” Hundt said. “But it got me to regionals, and I’m looking forward to a good performance there."
Hundt, whose personal best is 122, admitted that a warmer night could have produced a better performance.
“It wasn’t terrible, but the cold definitely didn’t help my muscles warm as well as it could have,” she said. “But you have to work with what you’re given.”
Cougars coach Thom Smith said he Hundt will look to take her effort to the next level at regionals.
“We’re hoping she can get a school record next week and maybe get a shot at getting out and qualifying for state,” he said. “That would be awesome. We’re hoping a few other who are fourth or fifth will get a call back. We have to wait and see. It was a good night for us.”
Westville, which tallied nine points, received a regional-qualifying performance from Cassie Janas, who finished third in the discus (94-8). South Central, which also scored nine points, received seventh-place finishes from Alyssia Parker in the discus (85-9) and Adelaide Young Brust in the 3,200 (12:22.12).