BLOOMINGTON — There aren’t many records left for Waverly Neer to break.
Even on a historic day that featured a total of six record-breaking performances, the Culver Academies senior managed to stand out, knocking off not one but two state standards on her way to championships in both the 1600 meters and the 3200 meters at the 38th Annual IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington.
First, Neer took out the previous state record in the 1600-meter run, registering a 4:43.46 stop in the sweltering 90-plus degree heat to shatter the old record of 4:49.38 set by Carmel’s Katie Harrington in 2003. An hour and a half later, the Columbia recruit wiped out the 3200-meter record by a little less than four seconds, clocking a 10:20.66 to beat the 1996 record of 10:24.29 set by former U.S. Olympian Amy Yoder of East Noble for her second gold medal of the evening.
Those dual record-breaking runs represented the fifth and sixth records Neer set in this year’s state series after setting new meet records in both events at the Rochester Sectional and the Bremen Regional, which came on the heels of a national 5K record-setting performance at the 2011 New Balance Indoor Nationals at the New York City Armory on March 10.
Neer was joined in the 3200 and 1600 by two other local distance standouts as Bremen’s Hope Jordan turned in a 5:01.32 to finish eighth in the 1600, and LaVille’s Elaine Schmeltz crossed the 3200-meter run line in 11:29.69 for 14th place. It was Schmeltz’s first trip to the Robert C. Haugh track after she placed third at the Bremen Regional, and the Lancers senior shaved off almost 10 full seconds between that run and Saturday’s state finals. Jordan’s time was more than 3 seconds better than the mark she set as a junior in the 1600, but she still finished three places back of her fifth-place finish up against this year’s record-setting pace.
Jordan made the trip with a pair of teammates in high jumper Jenna Pfeiffer and pole vaulter Brittney Pittman. Pittman cleared 11’3” for 12th place in her event, while Pfeiffer finished 13th with a 5’4” clearance.
Culver Community’s Gwen Zehner closed out a strong career in the shot put with a 37’10.75” for 16th, while Culver Academies freshman Leah Heckaman rounded out an impressive first year with a 101’6” toss in the discus for 26th place there. Triton junior Megan Howdeshell bettered her 2010 finish in the discus by four places as she took 12th with a 124’8” distance in the event.
Fort Wayne Northrop and Lawrence North shared the team championship for just the fifth time in the 38-year history of the girls state tourney, tallying 42 points each to share the crown.
Westview junior Skylar Carpenter won three state titles and set a new record in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 42.03, breaking a 24-year old state record held by Columbia City’s Deb Sauers (42.51). It was her second straight championship in the event.
Lawrence North’s Majaica Brooks, Antonia Franklin, Ashley Spencer and Chelsey Miller set a new record of 3:47.37, breaking the record of 3:47.89 in the 400 relay. Park Tudor’s Abby Farley set a new 800-meter record at 2:08.91, while Portage senior Tori Bliss of Portage became the first female athlete to break the 50-foot mark in the shot put with her throw of 50-9 while successfully defending her 2010.