Every morning when I wake up, I usually have the same routine: check email, check social media and skim news/sports headlines.

With each passing day, it seems as if the latter keeps getting worse and worse.

So I thought I would use this space to once again share some of the good I have encountered while on the job.

This will be broken down into three segments.

First, I will start with a quartet of young ladies from Gibson Southern.

I mentioned a pair of them a few weeks ago, so it should come to no surprise they make the cut again.

The Lady Titans 3,200 meter relay team has been on fire all season. They don’t just win, but they dominate at most events.

After they won a sectional title Tuesday night, I pulled senior Shealyn Riggs off to the side for a quick interview.

Towards the end of the interview she let me in a secret to their success this season.

“Before every single race, we have someone in mind who we are praying for and we run for them,” Riggs said. “It makes it so much easier for us to run when we know we are running the race for them...we not only push through for each other, but also for those who we are running for.”

Riggs mentioned, this past race, she was running for her cousin Cooper who is battling cancer and the team also runs for Charlie Whitten because “he is going through a lot too.”

The other three exceptional athletes on the relay with Riggs are Ellie Kiesel, Abbye Huelsman and Taylor Hart.

You would be hard pressed to find a greater combination of athletes and even better young ladies.

As someone who ran track and also was part of a pretty special 3,200 relay team, you all have my respect. Not only for your outstanding performance on the track but also for helping me restore my faith in humanity.

And if Taylor’s mom is reading this, I found a new pair of “tropical shorts” to wear to the regional next week, per your request!

*****

Moving on...it’s no secret Princeton’s Avery Jones-Taylor is having an exceptional year in the 400. The Indiana State University signee captured her fourth straight sectional title Tuesday evening and is undefeated in the event on the season.

But what is even more impressive in the feat is, not how dominant she is but the fact she is not 100 percent healthy.

She has been running with pain hier her right foot for some time now. After she won the Big Eight Conference title last week, she decided to go see the doctor to try and get an explanation on why she was experience so much pain.

Come to find out she has an extra bone in her foot.

For the past week and half, when Jones-Taylor is not racing, she is walking around in a boot.

Her winning time on Tuesday was her season best, despite the pain and also not being pushed throughout most of the race.

It’s hard to fathom running such a great time in such pain.

She admitted she will end up having surgery on her foot to remove the extra bone, but not until after the season.

When I asked her how it is affecting her training, she admitted she is not training as hard as she has before because of the injury. And she also contributed adrenaline as what gets her through most races.

After she won on Tuesday, I asked her if she was going to run in the 1,600 meter relay as well.

“I will just have to wait and see how I am feeling, at that time,” she said.

Of course she ended up running the race!

*****

Last, but certainly not least, I was impressed by two other track and field athletes.

The Princeton boys team has been hit hard with injuries throughout most of the season.

At this time of the season, a lot of athletes will just focus on their main events in which they feel they have the best chance to advance to the state championships.

But both Jackson Krieg and Stephan Wilkerson put the team first on Thursday.

Wilkerson’s main event is the high jump. He has also found success in the long jump and is an important cog in the 400 relay team.

Thursday, he decided to go ahead and compete in his “other two events” to help the team win.

Wilkerson ended up edging Gibson Southern’s Andrew Smith by four inches to win the long jump and helped the relay team to a photo finish win over Smith and Gibson Southern’s previously unbeaten team.

“I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win,” Wilkerson said.

Same goes for Krieg.

He put his body through hell to try and pull off a rare four-event meet.

The Indiana State bound runner cruised to victory in the 1,600 before pretty much doing the same in the 800. He also decided to run in the 3,200 despite not having much time for rest after winning the 800.

With three laps to go he pulled out of the race.

“I just couldn’t catch my breath,” Krieg said of the 3,200.

He also ran a leg in the 1,600 relay.

Anyone who has ran in the sport, knows how difficult it is to compete in those four events during the same meet.

But he wanted to give it a shot to help the team.

Princeton finished third, behind Gibson Southern and South Knox, but not because of lack of heart and effort from Wilkerson and Krieg!

Congrats to all of those who not only won sectional championships this past week, but who also kept their season alive and qualified for the regional!

Travis David is the Daily Clarion Sports Editor. He can be reached at 812-220-4843 or sports@pdclarion.com. Follow him on Twitter @PDCprepsports and @Tdavid_21.

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