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New Albany's Hali Alexander, left, gets the lean over Corydon Central's Meghan Bussabarger in the 100-meter hurdles during the finals of the Bedford Regional last Tuesday night. Bussabarger also earned a state finals berth in the high jump with a second-place finish. (Photos by Wade Bell)

Bussabarger, Kennedy reach state

May 28, 2008
Corydon Central's Meghan Bussabarger jumped and Floyd Central's Becky Kennedy sprinted into this week's state track finals last Tuesday night in the Bedford regional. The pair will compete at the Indiana University track in Bloomington on Friday afternoon.

Bussabarger battled with Orleans standout Jessica Smith in the late going of the high jump. The Corydon junior cleared 5 feet, 4 inches, then just missed at 5-6, clipping the bar with her heel on her third attempt.

"I thought I had the speed," Bussabarger said. "Jessica, she's a great jumper. She has great form. I guess 5-6 just wasn't in my forecast for today. I was a little tired."

A light rain shower had come through before the end of the event with some colder air that made things more difficult.

"I hate rain so much," a laughing Bussabarger said. "I'm freezing and my back is sore now. I just want to go home and take a hot bath."

Floyd Central's Becky Kennedy, center, earned a state berth in both the 100-meter, above, and 400-meter dashes.
"With my performance tonight, I'm very happy," she said. "Going to state, that's my goal, to go four years in a row. I'm living it right now, so I'm happy. I'm very pleased."

Bussabarger said she puts the state meet in her mind at the beginning of the season. She will be seeded 11th in this year's state finals, but cleared 5-6 during the regular season, which would have given her a fourth seed.

"At the beginning of the season you have to do good each meet," Bussabarger said. "You have to be the best person out there or not the best. You have to be your best, cause that's just the competition. You practice for state."

Smith, who will represent Orleans and the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference, not only won the event, but set a new Orleans record of 5 feet, 7 inches. The height puts the Lady Bulldog senior as the second seed, behind Northwestern's Megan Schubert by just a half-inch.

"I was so happy," Smith said. "I think God has blessed me with some achievements that's been really awesome. My coach always told me to visualize myself going over the bar. I've started to see myself getting over it and seeing the bar staying on the standard. I was just praying for the strength to do my best and trying to get focused."

In another field event, Paoli's Kiaya Kameda punched herself a ticket to the state finals with a leap of 17 feet, 3 inches to better the state standard of 17 feet, 2-3/4 inches on her last jump in the preliminaries. The jump was good enough for second place in the meet and puts Kameda as the 13th seed at the state meet, behind Erynn Young, of Muncie Central, who leads at 19 feet, 1/2 inch.

Floyd Central's Becky Kennedy earned a ride to Bloomington with a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash and came back later to finish second in the 400 meters. Kennedy said she has been thinking about the state meet since sectional.

"I'm proud of myself," Kennedy said after her 400-meter run. "I've been thinking about it since sectional. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I'm just going to go out and practice my hardest."

Kennedy said she will have to battle herself as much as her competition at state.

"I'm way more nervous, and the more nervous, I don't do so good," she said. "Last time I didn't do too good at state."

Like in the sectional, Bussabarger had to once again battle with New Albany's Hali Alexander for the first position in the 100-meter hurdles. This race came down to who could lean the farthest at the end, with Alexander getting the win by just 0.03 of a second.

Crawford County's 3,200-meter relay team didn't fare so well in its event, finishing 11th with a time of 10 minutes, 54 seconds. Bloomington South won that race more than a minute faster at 9:44.

"It was a bit disappointing, but we tried," anchor Lauren Schaftlein said. "Renee has that hip problem that really affected it."

Schaftlein missed the state finals by one position in the 1,600-meter run, finishing fourth behind New Albany's Carissa Martin, who was third and got the last state spot. The Crawford senior was still able to smile, however, as she broke Crawford's school record with a time of 5 minutes, 22 seconds.

"It wasn't all in vain," Schaftlein said. "Fourth place is a good job. I would have loved to have got third. That would have been amazing and wonderful, but I'll settle with the record."

North Harrison's Amber Gresham had a disappointing day, finishing 14th in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. Teammates Amanda Hartley and Laurinda Cockerham also were well back in the shot put and discus, failing to make the finals. Lanesville's Brittney Gayhart scored in the discus, finishing sixth with a distance of 106 feet, 3 inches. Corydon's Kelly Eberly scored in the pole vault with a seventh-place finish with a height of nine feet.

Floyd Central's Meghan Jones scored in the 200-meter dash with a sixth-place finish. In the 800 meters, Kelsie Bristol was disappointed with her 2:50 time that got her 15th for the race. Teammate Hannah Keehn was 10th in the 1,600 meters, and Sadie Hut was 13th in the 3,200-meter run. The Lady Highlanders scored in the 1,600-meter relay, finishing sixth. Crawford was well back in the event, at 16th.

In the 800 meters, Schaftlein scored with an eighth-place finish, but she and teammate Morgan Kenner were both displeased with their respective times of 2:32 and 2:35.

"Both of our times weren't good," Kenner said. "That last hundred I felt like I was running the 100-yard dash. I was fine. At sectional I died at the 200, and I didn't want to do that again. This time I just saved too much. I sprinted the last 200 and felt the best I've felt forever."

"I had so much left," Schaftlein said. "Our times were like 2:30-something. That was my worst time in four races. That was not such a good last 800."

Schaftlein said the start was brutal.

"It was a sprint," she said. "It was a very fast beginning pace. I took off pretty quick because of the fast pace. I just never did speed up enough."

Paoli sophomore Audrey Thill earned a state berth for the second year in a row, with a third-place finish in the 3,200 meters.

"That was fine to me," Thill said of her run. "I knew it was going to be a close race. I looked at the sectional times and the third-place sectional girl had to run faster than me, so I knew I wouldn't be able to run away with it easy."

Thill will have to work hard to score, with her time of 11:42 well behind top seed Ashley Banfich, who will take a time of 10 minutes, 44 seconds into Friday's contest.

"Last year, it was just so cool because at the beginning of the season, I had no clue I'd get there. I was really excited. … This year has been my motivation to work harder."

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Girls' Scores - Bloomington South 96, Bloomington North 95, New Albany 56, Jeffersonville 42, Brownstown 40, Silver Creek 25, Floyd Central 24, Madison 22, Martinsville 19, Eastern Greene 19, Corydon 18, Paoli 17, Seymour 17, Orleans 14 Monrovia 13-1/2, Edgewood 12, Owen Valley 11, Cloverdale 11, Henryville 10, Scottsburg 8, Bedford-NL 8, Mooresville 8, Crothersville 6, Crawford County 6, Mitchell 6, Austin 5, Brown County 4-1/2, Salem 3, South Central 3, Lanesville 3, New Washington 1, Borden 1

Girls' Results (Top 3 to State) - 100-Meter Dash-1. Shanice Gholston (Jeff) 12.25, 2. Kaleb Barbour (NA) 12.82, 3. Becky Kennedy (FC) 12.85; 200-Meter Dash-1. Shanice Gholston (Jeff) 26.28, 2. Charlotte Zorn (BS) 26.81, 3. Kelsey Henselmeier (Mrtvl) 28.88; 400-Meter Dash-1. Heather Gonser (OV) 59.47, 2. Becky Kennedy (FC) 59.50, 3. Estee Outcalt (Mrsvl) 59.84; 800-Meter Run-1. Brooke Bierhaus (BS) 2:20.57, 2. Kassie Kovert (Brntn) 2:22.60, 3. Carissa Martin (NA) 2:22.74; 1,600-Meter Run-1. Molly Hirt (BN) 11:28.00, 2. Kassie Kovert (Brntn) 5:13.00, 3. Carissa Martin (NA) 5:17.00; 3,200-Meter Run-1. Molly Hirt (BN) 11:28.00, 2. Nicole Lucas (BS) 11:41.00, 3. Audrey Thill (Pa) 11:42.00; 100-Meter Hurdles-1. Hali Alexander (NA) 15.19, 2. Meghan Bussabarger (Co) 15.22, 3. Emma Miller (BS) 15:39; 300-Meter Hurdles-1. Lindsey Stevens (EstGrn) 47.08, 2. Hali Alexander (NA) 47.34, 3. Heather Stacey (SilCk) 48.01; 400-Meter Relay-1. Jeffersonville 50.25, 2. Bloomington South 50.52, 3. Madison 51.15; 1,600-Meter Relay-1. Bloomington South 4:09.35, 2. Bloomington North 4:11.22, 3. New Albany 4:11.32; 3,200-Meter Relay-1. Bloomington North 9:44.00, 2. Bloomington South 9:56.00, 3. New Albany 10:02.00; High Jump-1. Jessica Smith (O) 5-7, 2. Meghan Bussabarger (Co) 5-4, 3. Ashley Koosman (Clvrdl) 5-2; Pole Vault-1. Andrew Newcom (Jeff) 11-6, 2. Nicole Hess (SilCk) 10-6, 3. Erica New (BN) 10-6; Long Jump-1. Maggie Gilstrap (Hnryvl)17-7-1/2, 2. Kiaya Kameda (Pa) 17-3, 3. Rachel Robertson (BS) 16-11; Shot Put-1. Rachel Deloney (BN) 39-9-1/2, 2. Tia Deaton (Sctsbg) 37-11-1/2, 3. Bailey Lundy (Crthrsvl) 37-11-1/2; Discus-1. Rachel Deloney (BN) 154-8, 2. Sarah Baker (Brntn) 135-1, 3. Donna Ferree (SilCk) 119-9

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