The reigning girls track and field State Champions are ready to begin their trek to winning back to back titles, but such venture is not going to come easily. Preparing for the season started indoors, where the Royals have certainly made their presence known.
But with an indoor meet comes multiple differences from the outdoor track and field competitions. In comparison, one lap around the outdoor track measures at 400 meters, while an indoor track stands at half that size. This means that an eight lap, 3200 meter race outdoors would be equivalent to 16 laps indoors. There are also fewer individual events during these meets, which allows for more relays that count for double the points than they do outside. Some races, like the Distance Medley Relay, are only ran indoors, while discuss throw is only featured outdoors.
The indoor races function as a successful tactic for inexperienced team members to compete in races, as well as the leaders on the team to perfect their craft. Senior Lulu Black, who earned an All-State title in the 3200 meter race last year, sees indoor meets as opportunities to compare where she is in her training now to where she would like to be for outdoor season.
“For all of us, indoor season is sort of a way to practice for outdoor season,” Black said. “Indoor season will help me set a baseline for where I am right at as far as time goes, and that will help set me up for how I need to train this year. Last year I was able to earn an All-State title at outdoor state and also get the school record, and this year I plan to use indoor season to help me train and set my goals to do even better than last year.”
It is no doubt the Royals are transitioning to the outdoor track with confidence. The Royals are led by Senior leaders Lulu Black, Kennedy Drish and Tierra Sydnor. Drish, the two-time state champ in the pole vault, proved a promising threat at the first indoor meet when she set a school indoor state record as she cleared 12’ 8’’, winning the event. Sydnor earned an All-State title last season in the long jump, and placed second in this event at the first indoor meet.
The relays will remain a dominant threat as well. Sydnor, junior Olivia Burgess, senior Mya Hammons and sophomore Annice McFarland all return for the 4×400 to defend their state title. Burgess and Sydnor, along with sophomore Alyssa Barker, will compete in the state-runner up 4×100 relay. State qualifiers, senior Maddie Mirro, junior Sammie Alphin, junior Ellie Pedersen, and McFarland hope to earn All-State in the 4×800.
“This year we want to keep in mind that although we had a lot of success as a team last year, this year is a brand new year and we have to really focus on what it brings,” Black said. “We are going to work equally hard if not even more hard, and not let it get to our heads that success comes easy.”
A first-place podium finish at indoor state last year was encouraging and motivating for the team as they saw the potential for winning outdoor state. The Royals will be competing at indoor state at Indiana University tomorrow. Could a repeat first place finish lead to another IHSAA State title?
Story by Raegan Walsh. Photo by Laura Stancato.