Raiders bring their best on state’s top stage

Alisha Jucevic/The Herald
Southridge’s Karli Meyer, who geared up for a  shot put throw during a meet earlier this season, was one of six Raiders who ended their seasons competing in Saturday’s state finals in Bloomington. Meyer earned 23rd place in the shot put while discus thrower Tori Tretter and the Raider 400-meter relay team both earned 26th place. Jenna Burns of Heritage Hills earned 25th place in the 200.

From Herald Staff Reports

BLOOMINGTON — Southridge thrower Karli Meyer had one of those oh, no moments right before the biggest track meet in her life.

As Meyer was having her shot put weighed before Saturday’s girls track state finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University, she was hit with some surprising news. Each shot is supposed to weigh in at 4 kilograms, but Meyer’s came in at 3.99.

“That’s when my nerves really kicked in,” Meyer joked.

The junior immediately thought the worst: “What am I going to do now? Do I not throw, or what?” Luckily for her, a thrower from Evansville Central loaned Meyer her shot, and Meyer wound up tossing a personal-record 36 feet, 10 inches, which bumped her up four spots from her 27th-place seeding to a 23rd-place state finals finish.

“That’s what I was pretty proud of,” Meyer said.

In addition to Meyer’s personal best, the Raider 400-meter relay team of sophomore Kenzie Neukam and freshmen Sidney Bartelt, Grace Meece and Alexis Brady logged a school record by zipping through their race in 50.67 seconds and placing 26th overall. Raider junior Tori Tretter also locked down 26th place in the discus, while Jenna Burns of Heritage Hills scooted through the 200-meter dash in 26.39 and came in 25th in the preliminaries.

Southridge’s 400 relay team eclipsed the prior school record of 50.85, which had stood since 1985. Southridge was seeded 28th in the 400 relay, and finished two spots higher at 26th by knocking nearly a second off its time from the regional. 

“We were very happy,” Meece said. “I wasn’t that shocked because it felt like we were going really fast on the track. I felt like we could do it in the first place because we had come really close.”

Meece admitted to nerves before the race, but said the team’s stretching routine helped her stay poised.

“If you have a goal and you work toward it, then anything can be achieved because this was our goal once we started getting up there real high,” Meece said. “Once you set a goal and you really strive to get to that goal, then you can accomplish anything.”

Tretter thought “it could have been better” after the junior’s top throw of 108-7 on Saturday. Tretter admitted to major anxiety at the meet because “there’s only like 27 girls who move to state. Being one of those 27, it’s just that there’s so many people. Your name gets announced. It brings up my nerves, and it was my first time being there.”

Tretter mentioned that if she returns to state next season, she’ll hope to have improved her footwork, since she stepped outside of the ring on one of her attempts and incurred a scratch. Southridge has now sent an athlete to the girls state finals for 13 straight years, in addition to claiming an individual title at the last three regional meets, and Tretter thinks the Raiders have found perpetual success because of the team’s tightness.

“We usually do everything as a team, and I think that’s important,” Tretter said. “The team bonding and just the push that we have for everybody to do well, I think that’s really important and I think that’s what our team gives to each other.”

Burns, a sophomore, made her second straight appearance at the state finals in the 200, and she had an up-close view of a sprinter from Indianapolis who completed one of the most decorated careers ever by an Indiana runner. Pike senior Lynna Irby swept state titles in the 100, 200 and 400 for a fourth straight year to close her career with 12 individual state titles in the sprints. Warren Central won the team state championship by collecting 55 points to top Hamilton Southeastern (46), Indianapolis Brebeuf (33), Ben Davis (31) and Pike (30), which rounded out the top five. 

More on