Olivia Morlok wasn’t even on the Columbus North girls track team when the season began.
Now, the freshman not only is the lone Bull Dog to qualify for the Girls Track and Field State Finals, she’s the only girls qualifer from Bartholomew County. Morlok will compete in the 3,200 meters Saturday night at Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex.
“She came out a little bit later, but obviously, she’s a very talented athlete,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “She was pretty good at cross-country, so we kind of had an idea. She was a pretty accomplished athlete, so that transitions over to track.”
The late start to track season came as a result of Morlok completing her club swim season this winter. The Age Group State swim meet wasn’t until late March, which was after the Bull Dogs’ outdoor track season opener.
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But Morlok, who was one of North’s top cross-country runners in the fall, didn’t take long to get into running shape.
“I’m able to get back into running pretty fast because I don’t do it year-round,” Morlok said. “I’m pretty used to coming back quickly.”
Morlok will be competing in her third state finals in this early stage of her high school career. She helped the Bull Dogs to a 12th-place finish in the state cross-country meet, despite battling a shin injury.
This winter, Morlok swam on a pair of relay teams in the state meet. She helped the Bull Frogs to an 11th-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay and a 19th-place showing in the 200 freestyle relay.
Last week, Morlok qualified for state in track by winning the 3,200 in the Franklin Regional in a personal-best 11 minutes, 12.62 seconds.
“We’re very pleased with her effort,” Sipe said. “It’s really good to see the success that she’s had. She’s a great young lady, so we’re very excited for her and the opportunity that she has (this) weekend.”
Based on her regional time, Morlok is seeded 21st among the 27 state qualifiers in the 3,200. Carmel’s Christina Geisler is the top seed at 10:41.27, and the top eight are under 11:00.
The top nine in each event score and earn spots on the medal stand.
“I just want to go and see what I can do,” Morlok said. “I’ve never ran in a track state meet, so it’s all unexpected.”
Boys and Girls Track and Field State Finals
When: 3 p.m. Friday (boys), 3 p.m. Saturday (girls)
Where: Indiana University’s Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex
Admission: $10 each day
Local boys qualifiers
Pole vault: Brigham Kleinhenz, Columbus North
High jump: T.C. O’Neal, Columbus East
Long jump: Mitchell Burton, Columbus North; O’Neal, Columbus East
Shot put: Coleman Tennyson, Columbus North
4×800 relay: Brown County (Wyatt Wyman, Job Lawson, Jackson McPheeters, Isaiah Keefauver)
100: Burton, Columbus North
1,600: Dalton Craig, Jennings County
4×100 relay: Columbus North (Damon Hunter Jr., Cortez Bandy, Jaylen Flemmons, Burton)
800: Wyman, Brown County
3,200: Charlie Allen, Columbus North
Local girls qualifiers
Pole vault: Maddy Fields, Brown County (also for BC Democrat)
High jump: Hailley Peters, Trinity Lutheran (also for Seymour Tribune)
Shot put: Kayla Truesdell, Jennings County
Discus: Truesdell, Jennings County
3,200: Olivia Morlok, Columbus North