By Rob Hunt
FAIRMOUNT — Showing its usual dominance in the distance events, the Pendleton Heights girls’ track team flexed plenty of muscle in other areas to continue sitting atop track in Madison County.
Senior Alli McCarty doubled as 1,600- and 3,200-meter champion, and juniors Marisa Marshall and Devyn Byars each won two events, as the Arabians won their 10th consecutive girls county championship.
“Is that how many?” coach Melissa Hagerman asked. “I didn’t see the trophy before we left. It was a good night — Marisa did an awesome job in the high jump with a (personal record) and was determined to win the 300 hurdles, which she did.”
Marshall cleared 5-feet-2-inches to win the high jump by four inches and held off Sarah Cabello of Liberty Christian by a half-second to win the 300 hurdles.
Marshall’s teammate Erin Manchess also posted a fourth-place finish in the hurdles, and Marshall added a fourth place in the 100 hurdles.
Byars posted her first victory of the event one day earlier in the pole vault, when she tied with teammate Cassie Zehr at 6-5. In the Saturday long jump event, Byars’s leap of 13-7 was one inch better than Megan Simmet from Anderson Preparatory Academy for the title.
“That’s the thing; you want to come to a big invite and you want to score some points,” Hagerman said. “If everyone scores points, you’re going to make some noise.”
McCarty led the Arabian charge as Pendleton Heights nearly swept the distance events. Junior Christina Magers took home first place in the 800, and Kylah Stout finished in third place.
Junior Grace Baer placed third in the 1,600, and junior Syd Parker was second in the 3,200 — 30 seconds behind McCarty, who won the two most grueling events of the night despite battling illness.
“Truth be known, she’s actually sick,” Hagerman said after the event. “She has strep throat, but that’s OK. That’s what you do for your team.”
McCarty led the 3,200 from start to finish, eventually holding a lead of more than 250 meters. She said getting out to a good start was key on this night.
“I am sick, so I wasn’t feeling too great after the mile,” she said. “I did go out really relaxed, and when I realized that I had that lead, I just settled in. I had someone telling me what that gap was, so I was relaxed and working with the gap. Certainly, not my best time, but I’m happy with the effort.”
The only distance event the Arabians did not win was the 4×800 relay, when the team of Magers, Parker, Stout and Sarah Dudley was edged by less than half a second by Lapel.
Freshman Anna Smith continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Arabians with a fourth-place in the 200 and third in the 400. Smith also was joined by Manchess, Magers and Dudley on the third-place 4×400 relay team. The 4×100 relay team of Zehr, Byars, Betsy McKinney and Brooke Hunter also placed third.
In discus, Katelin Wittkamper was fourth and McKenzie Shoaf placed sixth, both with new personal bests. Wittkamper threw 84 feet, and Shoaf threw 80 feet 4 inches.
The Arabians’ total team score was 152, outdistancing second-place Anderson with 103.5.