WHEN Hannah Poindexter and Elle Williams returned to the basketball court for summer practice last June, they were a little out of shape.
Not wanting to go through the same thing again this summer, the Columbus North duo decided to run track this spring. They’re glad they did.
“I would definitely say it’s to stay in shape,” said Poindexter, a junior. “It’s fun. It’s a nice end-of-the-year thing to do after basketball to stay in shape for summer. I know it helped me a lot my freshman year whenever I came back into basketball season.”
Poindexter was a regional qualifier in the 400 meters as a freshman but sat out last season.
“I probably got a little lazy,” Poindexter said. “I worked on basketball skills in Indy. I felt like I was busy with that.”
This year, Poindexter is doing both. So is Williams, a sophomore who had never ran track before this spring.
“We knew we’d be pretty good at it,” Williams said. “We’re athletic, so we decided to go for it.”
Like Poindexter, Williams is running the 400 and the 4x400 relay. Williams’ best time is a 1:04 from last week’s dual meet at Columbus East.
“We’ve had a lot of conditioning, and we were hoping we’d be OK at it,” Poindexter said. “We’ve been working hard, and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Poindexter ran 1:00.0 as a freshman and has gone 1:03 this year.
“I definitely want to get it to 1:00 by the end of the year, and hopefully 59,” Poindexter said.
Poindexter also recently began long jumping for first time. In her first try at the event, she leaped 15 feet, 1/2-inch to finish third in the dual meet at East.
“They’re both phenomenal athletes,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “Anytime you can get an athlete out on the track, they’re going to be able to do some good things. The more athletes we can have on the team, the better our team is going to be, so it’s nice to have those girls.”
Sipe is especially happy to have a couple of new 400 runners since two girls from last year’s state-qualifying 4x400 relay team graduated.
“The 400 is not an easy race,” Sipe said. “They both kind of embrace it and work hard at it. It’s nice to see them have the success that they’re having.”
The 5-foot-10 Poindexter was a starting post player as a sophomore on a North basketball team that went 25-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the state and as high as No. 8 in the nation by USA Today. She settled into a reserve role this season, coming off the bench for the Bull Dogs, who went 23-3 and won a sectional title.
The 5-11 Williams has split time between the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams the past two years.
Poindexter and Williams play for the same travel basketball team, Mike Duke Flight out of the Southport area.
Tonight at Southport, the pair will try to help the ninth-ranked Bull Dogs claim their first Conference Indiana girls track title since 2008. Their eventual goal for this season is to get to state in the 4x400 relay.
“We’ve talked about it a lot,” Poindexter said. “We’re crossing our fingers. We have to continue to get better, but we’re hoping.”