Lady Pilgrims split track opener at home

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s girls track team may not have earned the sweep in their opener Thursday, but all in all, it was a pretty good showing.
The Lady Pilgrims wound up with the split on their home track, beating LaPorte 76-52 and falling to Mishawaka 72.33-55.66. But it was the closest margin head coach Paul Patrick has seen in recent years, and it was good start for an overwhelmingly young team that has been seriously limited in meaningful practice time due to a particularly cold early spring season.
“We just wanted to get out there, and now we’ve put some times on paper and we can build from there and start to improve,” said Patrick. “It’s been such a cold spring we haven’t been out that much. But I’m pleased with what I saw. These are two good teams. To compete close against them, I told them that was the closest gap that we’ve had with Mishawaka probably in the last four years. We’ll get better.”
Plymouth earned just five first-place finishes at the meet as Kaydon Fosler cleared 5 feet in the high jump, Cassie Quisell’s 7-foot clearance was good enough for top honors in the pole vault, returning 400-meter state finalist Allie Wright clocked a 1:01.21 in her main event, sophomore Sammi Davis gave the team a nice surprise with a 53.18 finish for first in the low hurdles, and the Pilgrims capped off the opener on a high note as Meagan Fisher, Alex Drummond, Megan Maxwell and Wright combined to win the 1600 relay in a time of 4:28.08.
While Plymouth couldn’t match Mishawaka’s nine first-place scores, the Pilgrims did showcase some depth Thursday.
Wright and newcomer Drummond went one-two in the 400, Fosler and Traci Longanecker went three-four in the long jump, and Fisher and Libby Read finished three-four in the 800, a fast-paced race in which defending state cross country champion Anna Rohrer finished second behind LaPorte half-miler Elena Lancioni’s pace-setting 2:24.7.
Also for Plymouth, Sophomore Megan Sutton claimed second in both the shot and the discus, Katelyn O’Neal finished second in the 100 hurdles, and the Pilgrims’ 3200 relay team of Abby Patrick, Shelby Harrell, Deborah Anders and Brooke Wagner crossed the line just .85 of a second behind Mishawaka’s winning time of 10:56.11, an impressive finish given the fact that their head coach was using the race as a tryout for the fourth spot on the relay with three of four runners back from last year’s state-qualifying quartet in Fisher, Wright and Libbie Read.
“We’ll get better in the 4x8,” said Patrick. “We ran all four of those girls to kind of audition for the top spot because those other three girls from the state team are back. We just need to figure out who the fourth is going to be.”
With Thursday’s split finish now under their belts, the Lady Pilgrims will now join the boys team at Saturday’s Culver Academy Relays, scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Traditionally, both Plymouth teams have dominated the relays, which provide a fun departure from the standard events lineup of most high school track meets. It’s also an opportunity to get a good early look at a potential sectional challenger.
“I think it’s nice down there because it’s all relays, and you get to put different kids in different combinations. There’s a distance medley, there’s a sprint medley, there’s a 4 by 1 mile, there’s a triple jump, there’s a 1500 instead of a 1600,” Patrick said. “If you can score two places in the field events, you can really have a good meet... so that’s one thing that we’ll have to watch with the girls.”
“We’ve been okay down there, I don’t know the last time that we haven’t won that meet,” continued Patrick. “That’s a competition against CGA that our girls, they’ll hear from me, is their top sectional competition. They need to realize that. We’ll see where we’re at.”
At Plymouth
4x800 relay: 1. Mishawaka (Hanna Coppens, Reilly Coates, Holly Wolfe, Hannah Romeo), 2. Plymouth (Abby Patrick, Shelby Harrell, Deborah Anders, Brooke Wagner) 10:56.96; 100 hurdles: 1. Alexys Harper (M) 16.98, 2. Katelyn O’Neal (P) 17.85; 100: 1. Karley Carlson (M) 13.14, 2. Jenice O’Neal (L) 13.21; 1600: 1. Anna Rohrer (M) 5:00.71, 2. Elana Lancioni (L) 5:21.23; 4x100 relay: 1. Mishawaka (Harper, Chelsey Wakes, Hannah Roth, Hannah Staples) 51.98, 2. LaPorte 52.5; 400: 1. Allie Wright (P) 1:01.21, 2. Alex Drummond (P) 1:05.63; 300 hurdles: 1. Sammi Davis (P) 53.18, 2. Staples (M); 800: 1. Lancioni (L) 2:24.7, 2. Rohrer (M) 2:26.1; 200: 1. O’Neal (L) 27.56, 2. Harper (M) 28.13; 3200: 1. Rohrer (M) 11:24.76, 2. Marie Didion (L) 12:30.84; 4x400 relay: 1. Plymouth (Meagan Fisher, Drummond, Megan Maxwell, Wright) 4:28.08, 2. LaPorte 4:34.24; High jump: 1. Kaydon Fosler (P) 5-0, 2. Wakes (M) 4-10; Pole vault: 1. Cassie Quissell (P) 7-0; Long jump: 1. Harper (M) 16-02.5, 2. Kate Ulmer (L) 15-10.5; Discus: 1. Kalee Ann Jampton (M) 96-10, 2. Megan Sutton (P) 89-01; Shot put: 1. Carol Martin (M) 27-10.5, 2. Sutton (P) 27-01.5.