Little over an hour after Princeton Community junior Avery Jones-Taylor broke her school record in a track sectional three-peat, Vincennes Rivet denied Gibson Southern a team championship by scoring twice in the meet-closing Shot Put that Lady Titans junior Maria Hillyard won with her career-best throw. Trailing by 15 points with five events left, Gibson Southern caught up, fell three points behind, moved within one, and seemed apt to become a sectional champion for the fifth time in six years when Hillyard won the Shot Put by reaching 39 feet 1 inch. “A foot and 10 inches better than her previous best,” said Ron Kahle, who coaches throwers of both the boys and the girls while also serving as head coach of Titan boys. But Vincennes Rivet junior Caitlin Creech placed second by reaching 35-11 ½ and classmate Janine Anderson sixth by reaching 30-7. Thus Rivet, second-smallest school, bigger than only Washington Catholic, in this 13-team meet, won a distaff track sectional team title for the first time with 89 points to Gibson Southern’s 87. “We only have about 93 kids in school,” said Rivet Coach Luke Keller, who cited an individual decision that proved crucial. “Grace Waggoner wanted to High Jump, so we scratched her from the 400-meter relay and let her do four individual events,” Keller said of the junior who won all four. Besides winning the high jump by clearing 5 feet, Waggoner won the 100-Meter Hurdles in 15,94 seconds, the 300-Hurdles in 49.48 and the Long Jump by clearing 17-2 3/4, an inch-and-a-quarter farther than Vincennes Lincoln sophomore Alanna Green. Thus Waggoner scored 40 points, more than three teams. Rivet and Gibson Southern were followed by Barr-Reeve’s 67 and Princeton’s 65. Vincennes Lincoln, which finished ahead of the Lady Tigers in the Big-8 Conference meet, settled Tuesday for fifth with 62 points to Pike Central’s 57, Washington’s 51 1/2, South Knox’s 45 1/2, North Knox? 43, Tecumseh’s 22, North Daviess’s 16 1/2 and Wood Memorial’s 16. Jones-Taylor figured in three event wins. She anchored Sydney Young, Reaghan Page, Hannah Gillihan to victory in the first running event, the 3,200 relay, that they won in 10 minutes 37.07 seconds. Then, in the final running event, she anchored Hannah Sisk, Young and Caleigh Cates to a 1,600 relay win in which they ran a school-record 4:16.19. The previous record of 4:16.46 had stood since 2009. “I’m very proud of how our girls competed,” said Princeton coach Daniel Crabtree. “Avery, Hannah, and Sydney were really good,” said Lady Tigers Coach Daniel Crabtree. Before the meet, coach Crabtree wondered if Jones-Taylor would be pushed hard enough to get a time that would qualify for the fast heat in Tuesday’s Evansville Central Regional — last stop before the June 1 state meet at Indiana University in Bloomington. “Whoo!” said Jones-Taylor when told that she had clocked 58:99 seconds. “Yeah, I felt a little nervous about that before the race. But the Pike Central girl [sophomore Libby Stone, who ran second in 1:03.36] pushed me. “I felt I was running well and then I had a good kick. Running under 59 seconds should put me in a good lane at regional.” Hillyard, before winning the Shot, repeated as sectional Discus champion by throwing 114-4. It’s the fifth straight meet in which Hillyard has gone over 114 feet. “I’ve worked really hard for this, put a lot of time into the weight room since I was a freshman,” Hillyard said. “Lately I’ve been throwing smoothly and with good technique. Had this given us the team championship, I’d be ecstatic.” Hillyard’s two wins matched Barr-Reeve senior Natalie Graber and North Knox junior Makinzi Meurer. Graber took the 1,600 in 5:32.91 and came back to win the 3,200 in 11:48.05. After the meet, she scratched from the regional 1,600 to concentrate on the 3,200. Meurer won the pole vault by clearing 10 feet and the 200 by clocking 26.94. Sick and Gibson Southern freshman Emily McKee each advanced in two events. Sick placed second in the 100, leading until the last three strides before finishing in 13.13 as Rivet sophomore Abby Niehaus won in 13.10. Sisk then ran 27.73, second to Meurer in the 200. McKee placed third in the Long Jump, reaching 16-1; and in the High Jump, clearing 4-10. Princeton’s Young placed second in the 800, clocking 2:27.93 as South Knox sophomore Mylayla Cochenour won in 2:24.07. “Sydney’s personal-best time,” said Crabtree. Gibson Southern will also be represented at regional by sophomore Macs Foster, third in the 400 in 1:03.48. And by the 3,200 relay team of Morgan Jackson, Blair Rexing, Grace Greubel and Ellie Kiesel third in 10:57.72. All three Gibson County teams will be represented at regional. Wood Memorial freshman Madison Frederick, clocking 51.01, placed second to Waggoner in the 300 hurdles. It’s possible more Gibson Countians could be at regional since three girls will advance in each event who have the best marks of anyone not in the top three in the four feed-in sectionals.

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