Nine athletes set to compete at girls track state finals

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

This Saturday, nine local girls track and field athletes will head north to Indiana University for the 2019 IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals.

The meet will take place at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex at Indiana University and will begin at 3 p.m. with the final event taking place at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Two athletes from Jasper, four runners from Southridge, one thrower from Northeast Dubois and two athletes from Heritage Hills’ make up the local participants in this year’s state meet. Here’s some information about all nine state qualifiers as well as their thoughts about Saturday’s meet and their seasons and careers as a whole.

Skorge

Alyssa Skorge, Jasper, senior

Event: 1600m run

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 5 minutes, eight seconds

What she’s looking forward to in her first state appearance: “I’m looking forward to running with the high-level of competition, we don’t see that type of running much in southern Indiana. It’ll be fun to compete with the big dogs from Indianapolis and from other schools around Indiana.”

How she feels she’s improved through her four years: “My freshman and sophomore year I didn’t focus on it much, I mostly just did it to stay in shape for cross country. But my junior and senior years, I’ve focused on it and really motivated to do something with it.”

How the Jasper track program has helped her as a whole: “At Jasper we have such a high standard for academics and athletics, it’s taught me that I can achieve even beyond what I thought I could. Everyone here is constantly rooting for you.”

VanMeter

Andi VanMeter, Jasper, freshman

Event: 1600m run

State appearances: One

Personal best time: 5 minutes, 16 seconds

What she’s looking forward to in her first appearance: “Just competing against all of the people with really good times, you don’t get to see that too often.”

How she feels she’s improved over the course of the season: “When the season first started, I wasn’t really for sure if I could run all the events but I got used to it.”

How being a member of the Jasper track team helps her in her other sports: “Running basically helps all of your other sports because you benefit so much from it.”

Meece

Grace Meece, Southridge, senior

Event: 4x100m relay

State appearances: Three, one as an alternate

Personal best time: 49.54 (relay)

What she’s looking forward to the most about Saturday: “We’re ranked higher which means we’ll be competing against faster girls.”

How she feels the relay team has improved: “We’ve gotten way more confident in ourselves and we’ve gained way more speed since we’ve realized our abilities.”

How the Southridge track team has helped better her as a person: “I think we’re a really tight family so I’m always encouraged to do my best everyday, it makes me feel good about myself.”

Neukam

Kenzie Neukam, Southridge, senior

Events: 4x100m relay, 200m dash

State appearances: Three (three 4x100, two 200m dash)

Personal best time: 26.10 (200m dash), 49.54 (relay)

What she’s most looking forward to on Saturday: “For my 200, I set a goal to beat the school record so I’m going to chase that. For the relay, I hope to stay under 50 and get better than 49.54.”

How she’s grown as an athlete since her freshman year: “As a freshman I was new to it all and intimidated by everything, as I got older I worked harder and hit the weight room. It’s also helped being mentally tough.”

How the Southridge track team has bettered her as a person: “It’s made me mentally tough, things happen that you don’t expect but it makes you stronger as a person.”

Sickbert

Grace Sickbert, Southridge, junior

Events: 4x100m relay, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles

State appearances: Two

Personal best time: 15.53 (100m hurdles), 46.57 (300m hurdles).

What she’s looking forward to on Saturday: “I’m looking forward to spending time with my teammates, we’ve all had really good chemistry together. I’m also looking forward to just having fun — last year was a little stressful but I want to enjoy it.”

How she’s improved overall as a runner: “Leaps and bounds — I didn’t really expect to advance to state in three different events, it’s just really awesome.”

How the Southridge track team has bettered her as a person: “We work really hard, the responsibility of taking care of yourself has helped me a lot and the work ethic is just something I’ve really learned from this program. It’s helped me become more ambitious and it’s also helped with my self-confidence, just being able to show up somewhere and say “I can do this.”

Steckler

Monica Steckler, Southridge, sophomore

Event: 4x100m relay

State appearances: Two

Personal best time: 49.54 (relay)

What she’s most excited about: “I’m more excited this year than nervous, it’s such a different atmosphere. There’s so many people and it’s a different level of competition.”

On how this program has improved her as an athlete: “I feel like I’ve worked a lot harder this year, this year we’ve had some hard practices leading up to this.”

What her goal for Saturday is: “Improve our time — that’s the goal.”

Prok

Adalie Prok, Northeast Dubois, senior

Event: Discus

State appearances: One

Personal best distance: 118 feet and four inches

What she’s looking forward to the most: “I’m looking forward to bragging rights - that’s always good. I really want to beat the school record which is 129’3’’ so my goal is to at least do that.”

How she’s grown in discus since she started: “I feel like we’ve come along way because doing discus in middle school is a lot different than high school. My coaches taught me the right way to do things, you need a good coach if you want to be a good thrower.”

How the Jeeps’ track program has helped her as a person: “It’s helped me get myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve introduced myself to new people and I’ve set goals and deadlines for myself.”

Burns

Jenna Burns, Heritage Hills, senior

Event: 400m dash

State appearances: Three (200m dash all three times)

Personal best time: 58.20

What she’s excited for on Saturday: “I’m excited to be more comfortable being there, even thought it’s a different event. I just want to be more competitive in this with more set goals.”

Her thoughts on the 400m dash: “I think it’s harder (than the 200m dash) but it’s just a different race strategy. I’ve only ran it three or four times ever so I just have to stick with the strategy.”

How the Patriots’ track program has helped her as a person: “Just all the people and teammates I’ve been with, they’ve always been so supportive and great.”

Gordon

Rebekah Gordon, Heritage Hills, sophomore

Events: Shot put

State appearances: One

Personal best distance: 38 feet, 11 inches

Her expectations for her first state meet: “I’m just trying to set a new PR (personal record) - that’s all I’m really focusing about. I also want to beat my competitors from the regional.”

On her switch from running to throwing: “A lot of people told me I should try throwing but I didn’t really think I was that strong. As I started lifting more though, I thought I’d go ahead and try it and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”

How track has helped her grow in her other sports: “It’s helped my endurance and mentality a lot, just trying to push through obstacles when I’m tired. Just the environment of the team helps me to be better connected with my teammates.”




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com