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The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders celebrate their 10th straight sectional championship last Tuesday night with a 23.5-point win over New Albany. Photos By Wade Bell

Floyd Central wins 10th straight title

May 22, 2019
There were plenty of battles in the girls' track sectional at Floyd Central last Tuesday night, with the hosts getting their 10th straight championship by a 23.5-point margin over county rival New Albany. The Lady Highlanders qualified at least one individual in every event for this week's Evansville Central Regional and scored at least two people in each event.

"We only have one senior and then everybody else are just freshmen, sophomores and juniors," Floyd Central girls' coach Courtney Bardach said. "We scored two kids in every event at this meet and we had one kid advance in every event, so, shoot, you can't ask for more than that. Just the fact that we have that many numbers going on to regional just gives us a great probability of scoring points and winning the title."

Crawford County's Haylea Crandall flies over the bar on her first attempt at 5 feet, 5-1/2 inches to win the high jump at the girls' track sectional at Floyd Central last Tuesday night.
The first big battle of the night came in the high jump between Crawford County's Haylea Crandall, Floyd Central's Spencer Freiberger and North Harrison's Diana Burgher. All three jumpers made their way past 5-2, with Burgher clearing the height on her final attempt.

Freiberger and Crandall thought the bar was going to 5-4 but it instead was set on 5-3. Freiberger flew over it first by a wide margin and started to celebrate but then found out the bar was an inch lower. Crandall also handled the height easily. For Burgher, the sophomore missed on all three attempts, leaving Crandall and Freiberger to go for the blue.

"I've never gotten 5-2 before," Burgher said of her new personal record. "That was my first time. I just thought this would be my last meet jumping, so I wanted to get over that and see if I could make it to regional. I wanted to get it before my season was over."

Freiberger and Crandall then went to 5-4-1/2 but a measuring error had the bar at 5-4. Freiberger cleared the height, but Crandall missed on her first attempt. On her second try, the Crawford County junior made the jump clean and green.

From there, it went to 5-5-1/2. Freiberger missed on her first attempt, but Crandall went into attack mode and cleared the height on her first try. Freiberger missed on her second and third attempts, leaving Crandall with the win.

"I am so excited," a beaming Crandall said. "It felt like a redemption moment for me because it's been a rough season for me so far. It's been a struggle to clear 5-2 and 5-4. Today, I was really nervous, but I have been practicing all week for this. I was nervous there at the height, but, when I cleared, I knew it. It was just a moment where you plant your foot and you want 'Kick!' I kicked."

Freiberger said the frustration of learning the bar was set only at 5-3 may have given her the shot of adrenaline she needed for 5-4.

"I was definitely angry about it, but at the same time I was like, 'I've still got to keep going,' " she said. "I was honestly surprised because I didn't really know I was capable of that. So many people were, 'Are you going to get 5-4 today?' and I said, 'I'm going to try,' and it just came out of nowhere. It was amazing."

"At regional, there's going to be a lot more competition, especially me and Spencer," Crandall said. "We've always been level. Me and her were so close today. It was anyone's today. Me and her have always kind of stuck together through regional, as well. Last year, there was a girl who was jumping 5-6, so, now, I've got to look forward to that and train all week."

"I'm ready," Freiberger said. "I'm so excited. I think sectional was the main thing I was worried about because jumping against Haylea is just great competition. It keeps me going. I always jump better when I'm against her. So, going to regional with her, my mindset is on it."

The Lady Highlanders got some major points in the throwing events from Bella Barney. In the discus, she threw 10 feet farther than her personal record with a distance of 109 feet, 2 inches for second place. She then came back to win the shot put with another personal record, this one a distance of 34 feet, 5 inches.

"It felt really good," Barney said of the discus. "When it came off my hands, I felt really aggressive, and it just came off my hands really well."

The sophomore is hoping to go longer in the regional, especially the shot put.

"I want (35 feet) so bad," Barney said. "I hope to incorporate more of the spin. I haven't quite got it down, but I want to incorporate it at regionals. Hopefully, that will get me farther."

Floyd Central also scored big in the pole vault as freshmen Annalise Zeinemann and Reece Davis went 1-2 in the event. Zeinemann set a new personal best and school record with a height of 11 feet, 1 inch, while Davis came in second at 10 feet. Corydon Central's Emily Gunter also qualified for the regional, finishing third at 8 feet, 6 inches.

In the first running event, the Lady Highlanders ran away with the 3,200 meters, finishing in a time of 9:45.91, with New Albany second in 10:11.28. The Lady Panthers of Corydon Central also made the cut, finishing third in a time of 10:20.17.

"The 4-by-800 went really well," Corydon Central junior Marcie Stewart said. "I started and my first lap was 1:10, which I knew was pretty fast. The best I've ever got this year was 2:32, and I ended up going 2:25, so I got a seven-second season record. When I handed off, we were second, and in the end we finished third, so we got to advance in that."

New Albany's Mariah Grant dominated the sprints in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, but Floyd Central's Makenna Kruer also advanced in both events with a third-place finish in the 100 meters and a second place in the 200.

In the first distance event, the 1,600-meter run, Floyd Central's Sydney Liddle was untouchable, winning by a wide margin (5:18.63), with teammate Jaydon Cirincione finishing second in 5:27.33. Providence's Kaylee Kaiser was third (5:36.83).

"I was sick last week for conference, so that's why I didn't run conference," Liddle said. "I had a fever, but I felt fine today … I was trying to hit my splits my coaches gave me. I'm happy. I won, so you can't ask for much better than that. I would have liked to go a little bit faster. I was trying to get a PR, but I wasn't too far off."

Corydon Central's Stewart was just out of the top three, in fourth place, but her time of 5:47.90 was good enough to make the regional cut.

New Albany earned wins in the 400-meter relay and the 400-meter dash, but Floyd Central's relay team made the cut with a third-place finish. Floyd Central sophomore Grace Suer put a qualifier in the regional, as well, finishing third (1:02.45) in the 400-meter dash.

"It was fast," Suer said. "Before I knew it, we were at the hundred. It felt good being on our own track. I've been hurt, so I haven't been racing really fast. I think it felt good."

In the hurdles events, New Albany's Jassmine Frederick made it a sweep in both the 100 and 300 meters. Frederick covered the 100 meters in 16.37 seconds and the 300 meters in 47.12. Floyd Central's Keegan Kaiser (17.01) and Haven Enlow (17:12) finished second and third, respectively, in the 100 meters, while teammate Racquel Semer was second in the 300 meters in a time of 47.60, with Kaiser fourth in 48.42.

"I saw the Providence girl coming up and everyone else," Semer said. "It's hard to push on the last stretch over the last hurdles."

Semer said her thoughts down the stretch were just making the regional cut.

"That I was able to place in the top two or three," she said. "That I had to keep pushing if I wanted my spot and to PR. It's nice to have a teammate out there with support but also to push you and have someone out there. I'm definitely excited to improve as track goes on."

In the 800 meters, New Albany's Olivia Hawkins edged Floyd Central's Sydney Baxter to win in a time of 2:22.08, with Baxter second in 2:23.66. Floyd Central's Natalie Clare made the cut, as well, finishing third in 2:25.00.

The art of drafting came into play in the 3,200-meter run. Floyd Central's Liddle had hoped to be able to draft off Christian Academy of Indiana's McKenna Cavannaugh through the race, but it turned into just the opposite. With 200 meters to go, Cavannaugh made the pass around Liddle to go on and get the win in a time of 11:25.99, with Liddle second in 11:30.82. Floyd Central junior Chloe Loftus also made the cut, finishing third in 11:48.65.

"I was trying to go out behind her, behind McKenna, the first mile," Liddle said. "I was going to try to push it that last mile. We went out pretty slow because I think she was wanting me to lead it. My coaches told me to just go ahead and take the lead. I pretty much knew what she was doing. I knew she was going to pretty much stay with me the whole time and pass me at the end. But it's OK. I won the mile."

"That was the plan going into it," Cavannaugh said of the drafting, "just sticking behind her. I usually have a strong kick, so just whatever she did just go in right behind her and kick the last 200. I felt good."

The 1,600-meter relay also went to New Albany in a time of 4:07.01, with the Lady Highlanders second in 4:10.02. Corydon Central finished fourth, but the Lady Panthers' time of 4:31.04 was good enough to make the regional cut.

The Evansville Central Regional was yesterday (Tuesday) after press time.

Team scores: Floyd Central 191.5, New Albany 168, Providence 74.5, Corydon Central 58, Christian Academy of Indiana 33, Borden 33, North Harrison 32, Crawford County 20, Lanesville 10, South Central 3

Individual results (Top 3 to Regional): 3200 relay - 1. Floyd Central 9:42.91*, 2. New Albany 10:11.28, 3. Corydon Central 10:20.17; 100 hurdles - 1. J. Frederick (NA) 16.37, 2. K. Kaiser (FC) 17.01, 3. H. Enlow (FC) 17.12; 100 dash - 1. M. Grant (NA) 12.90, 2. K. Sogge (NA) 13.04, 3. M. Kruer (FC) 13.13; 1600 - 1. S. Liddle (FC) 5:18.63, 2. J. Cirincione (FC), 3. K. Kaiser (Prov) 5:36.83; 400 relay - 1. New Albany 50.45, 2. Providence 51.57, 3. Floyd Central 51.61; 400 - 1. R. Winslow (NA) 59.69, 2. A. Stumler (Prov) 1:02.9, 3. G. Suer (FC) 1:02.45; 300 hurdles - 1. J. Frederick (NA) 47.12, 2. R. Semer (FC) 47.60, 3. S. Barron (Prov) 47.86; 800 - 1. O. Hawkins (NA) 2:22.08, 2. S. Baxter (NH) 2:23.66, 3. N. Claire (FC); 200 - 1. M. Grant (NA) 26.31, 2. M. Kruer (FC) 27.16, 3. R. Winslow (NA) 27.33; 3,200 - 1. M. Cavanaugh (CAI) 11:25.99, 2. S. Liddle (FC) 11:30.82, 3. C. Loftus (FC) 11:48.65; 1600 relay - 1. New Albany 4:07.01, 2. Floyd Central 4:10.02, 3. Providence 4:19.92; High jump - 1. H. Crandall (CC) 5-5-1/2, 2. S. Freiberger (FC) 5-4, 3. D. Burgher (NH) 5-2; Pole vault - 1. A. Zeinemann (FC) 11-1*, 2. R. Davis (FC) 10-0, 3. E. Gunther (Cory) 8-6; Long jump - 1. M. Grant (NA) 18-3-1/2, 2. S. White (NA) 17-4, 3. C. Conway (FC) 16-1; Discus - 1. K. Cooper-Pitts (NA), 2. B. Barney (FC) 109-2, 3. J. Cheatham (Bor) 102-0; Shot put - 1. B. Barney (FC) 34-4, 2. K. Cooper-Pitts (NA) 33-7, 3. H. Hall (Prov) 32-4-1/2

*Sectional Record

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