The road — or more appropriately, the all-weather oval — to the girls track and field state finals begins today.
All six local teams will be in action. Four — Columbus East, Columbus North, Hauser and Edinburgh — will be among the 12 schools at Franklin. Jennings County will host a 13-team sectional, and Brown County will compete in the 11-team Bloomington North Sectional.
The top three finishers in each event advance to regional action. After that, the next-best four times or distances from the four sectionals feeding into a particular regional also will advance to complete a field of 16 athletes in each event at the regional.
Qualifiers from the Franklin Sectional will compete in the Warren Central Regional, and qualifiers from the Jennings County and Bloomington North sectionals will compete in the Bloomington North Regional on May 24. The state finals will be June 3 at Indiana University.
Story continues below gallery
Here’s a look at the three sectionals involving local teams and the top local athletes:
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Teams: Columbus East, Columbus North, Hauser, Edinburgh, Center Grove, Franklin, Greenwood, Greenwood Christian, Indian Creek, Southwestern (Shelby), Waldron, Whiteland
Favorite: Center Grove
Dark horses: Columbus North and Columbus East
Local outlook: North dominated this sectional from 2008-14, winning six times in those seven years. But the Bull Dogs don’t have the across-the-board talent they had during that period. North does have one of the state’s top pole vaulters in senior Katrina May and two top distance runners in junior Rachel Brougher and senior Sierra Lax. North also has a pair of 5-foot high jumpers in sophomore Jahna Smiley and Johanna Anderson and could contend for a title in the 4×800-meter relay.
East is coming off an impressive second-place finish in Friday’s Hoosier Hills Conference meet. Several Olympians recorded personal bests, including freshman Beyoncey Coleman-Turner, who won the discus. The Olympians don’t have the top-end talent that North has, but carry more balance across all the events. Besides Coleman-Turner, the top athletes are senior Katie Mack and freshman Keeleigh Kikendall in the high jump, senior distance runner Kira Singer and junior sprinter Cortney VanLiew.
Hauser’s top athlete is sophomore Grace Hasler, the Mid-Hoosier Conference champion in the 300 hurdles. Hasler was a regional qualifier in that event last season and also could contend in the 100 hurdles. Junior Brea Metz could contend for a regional berth in the high jump, shot put and discus.
Edinburgh’s top athletes are Taylor Tatlock in the discus and Katelyn Bivens in the 400.
Jennings County Sectional
Time: 6 p.m.
Teams: Jennings County, Bedford North Lawrence, Brownstown Central, Crothersville, Medora, Mitchell, Orleans, Paoli, Salem, Seymour, Springs Valley, Trinity Lutheran, West Washington
Favorite: Jennings County
Dark horse: Seymour
Local outlook: Seymour has won this sectional the past four years, but beat the Panthers by only two points last season. Led by wins from senior Justine Corya in the 100 and 400, Jennings, which is seeking its first sectional title since 1997, beat Seymour by 17 points in Friday’s HHC meet. Corya likely will run the 100, 4×100 relay, 400 and 200, as she did in the HHC meet, and will have excellent chances for victory in all four. Sophomore Alexis Harsh also is a formidable long jumper and sprinter.
Bloomington North Sectional
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Teams: Brown County, Bloomfield, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Eastern Greene, Edgewood, Linton-Stockton, Martinsville, Owen Valley, Shakamak, White River Valley
Favorite: Bloomington South
Dark horses: Bloomington North and Brown County
Local outlook: Brown County is coming off a runaway victory in Friday’s Western Indiana Conference meet. A few Eagles won conference titles, including sophomore Kathleen McCann in the 100 and 200, junior Elly Wertz in the long jump and sophomore Vivien Crimmins in the 100 hurdles. Senior Corrissa Proctor is a two-time state qualifier in cross-country. The Eagles also are hoping to make a push for state berths in the 4×800 and 4×100 relays.