Neer knocks down regional records at Bremen track tourney

BREMEN — A fluky timing glitch created a 45-minute delay at the Bremen Girls Track Regional Tuesday.
Culver Girls Academy senior Waverly Neer tried her hardest to put the meet back on schedule.
Seeded faster than the state standard in the 1600 and 3200, Neer blistered the field and the regional record in both races to qualify for the state finals.
Altogether, eight area athletes advanced to the June 4 state finals at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University, Bloomington.
“I felt a little flat,” Neer, who looked anything but, said. “I’ve been training so well recently that I was hoping to feel a little better. I’m still happy with that time. I still feel very confident.”
Neer clocked in at 4:50.23 in the 1600 – less than a second shy of the state record – and eclipsed the old regional mark of 4:57.60 set by Triton’s Justina Reichert in 1993. In the 3200, Neer finished in 10:24.66 To break CGA legend Alex Banfich’s 2008 regional record of 10:44.05.
“During the 2-mile I was thinking at the mile that I would have been happy with that time in the 1-mile last year,” Neer said. “That shows the progress I’ve made. It’s encouraging and a testament to my training.
“I got a taste of what it’s like to be on top and I want to stay there,” Neer, who won the individual cross country state title earlier this school year, added. “It’s not that I didn’t work hard before this year, but I’ve developed more of a ‘clinch-it’ resolve.”
The finals got off to a slow start, or more accurately, no start at all. Sunlight glare off of a car windshield triggered a malfunction of the electronic timing system during one of the 100-meter trials. With one trial timed electronically and the other hand-timed, officials needed nearly 45 minutes to sort out finals qualifiers and lane assignments.
Once the races finally commenced, Neer quickly turned attention back to the track with her dominant showing in the mile. Bremen senior Hope Jordan – one of three Lions state qualifiers – finished runner-up behind Neer.
Meanwhile, LaVille senior Elaine Schmeltz, with a little pre-race encouragement from Jordan, placed a solid third with a personal best 11:27.69 to earn the final transfer spot in the 3200.
“I’m so glad I finally made it,” Schmeltz said. “It’s finally hitting me. I was so focused because I knew it was my last chance. I knew if I didn’t make the top three I’d need to finish in 11:19, and that’s really extreme. I finished in 11:27. I’m really happy with that time; that beat my outdoor PR by 12 seconds.
“(Jordan) is a great person, and a great person to cheer for,” Schmeltz said. “We always have meets together, and we have a lot of fun competing against each other. I have a lot of respect for her.”
Local athletes turned in a number of strong performances in the field events, led by a blue-ribbon finish from Triton’s Megan Howdeshell in the discus. The junior unleashed a winning toss of 126-1.
Bremen teammates Jenna Pfeiffer and Brittney Pittman claimed second in the high jump and pole vault respectively.
“It’s so exciting,” Pfeiffer said of her qualifying feat. “My freshman year I missed making it to the regional by one jump. Last year I missed state, I think, by one place. To make state this year is awesome. I worked hard and just started jumping 5-5 out of nowhere, which makes me very happy.”
Pfeiffer – one of six regional high jumpers to meet the state standard – leapt 5-foot-5, an improvement over last week’s 5-4 jump during an unseasonably cool sectional night.
“The weather was perfect today,” she said. “I was jumping so great; I didn’t touch the bar until 5-5. I ran the hurdles, and even though I didn’t make it to the finals, running that race helped me stretch out and jump even better.
“I’m so excited to have three of us going to state,” Pfeiffer added. “It’s especially great to have two people in field events. It’s going to be crazy next week at state. Our coach is going to be in for it.”
Rounding out area state qualifiers were a pair of throwers; Culver Community’s Gwen Zehner finished third in the shot put, while CGA freshman Leah Heckaman wound up third in the discus.
TEAM SCORES: 1. Adams 66, 2. St. Joseph’s 54, 3. Penn 51, 4. Warsaw 49, 5. Culver Girls Academy 39, 6. Eastern of Greentown 37, 7. Goshen 34, 8. Mishawaka 30, 9. Bremen 28, 10. Northridge 27, 11. Fairfield 26, 12. Kokomo 25, 13. Elkhart Central 15, 14. Concord 14, 15. Elkhart Memorial 13; 16. Western 12, 16. Triton 12, 18. Jimtown 11, 18. LaVille 11, 20. NorthWood 10, 21. Plymouth 9, 22. Marian 8, 23. Cass 7, 24. Culver Community 6, 25. Tippecanoe Valley 5, 25. Northwestern 5, 25. Washington 5, 25. Oak Hill 5, 29. Maconaquah 4, 29. Wawasee 4, 31. Clay 2.
4x800 relay: 1. Warsaw (Brooke Kline, Hannah Cutsall, Anna Bearss, Ashley Erba) 9:34.40; 2. Northridge (Skylair Hilton, Jennifer Schrock, Marissa Holaway, Corinne Cominator) 9:38.27; 3. Mishawaka (Jessica Balko, Ashley Spence, Katelyn Husband, Allison Zylstra) 9:39.94; 6. Plymouth (Emmelyn Brandt, Emily Walden, Olivia Houin, Meagan Fisher) 10:17.23. 100 hurdles: 1. Amani Morgan (Adams) 15.01; Liana Yoder (Goshen) 15.61; 3. Becca Kropf (Fairfield) 15.68; 7. Amber Cowell (Culver Girls Academy) 16.94. 100: 1. Aaliyah McKinney (Adams) 12.45; 2. Rachel Staud (St. Joseph’s) 12.62; 3. Savannah Newsome (Adams) 12.78; 5. Ashley Taylor (Culver Girls Academy) 12.95. 1,600: 1. Waverly Neer (Culver Girls Academy) 4:50.23 (RECORD; old 4:57.60 set in 1993 by Justina Reichert of Triton); 2. Hope Jordan (Bremen) 5:11.09; 3. Ashley Erba (Warsaw) 5:12.82; 4. Elaine Schmeltz (LaVille) 5:18.63; 5. Cynthia Medina (NorthWood) 5:20.10; 8. Sara Slabaugh (Bremen) 5:32.14. 4x100 relay: 1. Penn (Hailey Lampos, Valerie Whitmer, Mackenzie Redman, Alyssa Hummel) 48.59 (TIES RECORD; 48.59 set by Clay team of Riley, Hall, Pancheri, Hamilton in 2000); 2. Adams (Amani Morgan, Savannah Newsome, Georgia Williams, Aaliyah McKinney) 48.69; 3. St. Joseph’s (Rachel Staud, Katie Campbell, Mikaila Chamblee, Morgan Carroll) 49.05; 6. Culver Girls Academy (Ashley Taylor, Emily Rich, Laura Ma, Anne Marie Dumas) 51.12. 400: 1. Brittany Neeley (Eastern of Greentown) 58.28; 2. Maggie Hartnagel (Marian) 59.22; 3. Savannah Newsome (Adams) 1:00.18; 8. Haley Smart (Plymouth) 1:01.25. 300 hurdles: 1. Becca Kropf (Fairfield) 44.44; 2. Mikaila Chamblee (St. Joseph’s) 44.61; 3. Kaitlyn Redman (Penn) 46.21. 800: 1. Bethany Neeley (Eastern of Greentown) 2:13.18 (RECORD; old 2:14.72 set by Mary Catherine Quiett of Marian in 2007); 2. Katelyn Husband (Mishawaka) 2:18.48; 3. Sophie Glassford (Penn) 2:19.22; 4. Meagan Fisher (Plymouth) 2:20.39; 6. Hope Jordan (Bremen) 2:24.26; 200: 1. Aaliyah McKinney (Adams) 25.23; 2. Morgan Carroll (St. Joseph’s) 25.63; 3. Alyssa Hummel (Penn) 25.77; 5. Anne Marie Dumas (Culver Girls Academy) 26.57; 6. Angelica Ramon (NorthWood) 26.83; 7. Breanna Lemler (Triton) 27.77. 3,200: 1. Waverly Neer (Culver Girls Academy) 10:24.66 (RECORD; old 10:44.05 set by Alexandra Banfich of Culver Girls Academy in 2008); 2. Skylair Hilton (Northridge) 11:19.75; 3. Elaine Schmeltz (LaVille) 11:27.69; 7. Cynthia Medina (NorthWood) 11:45.88. 4x400 relay: 1. Eastern of Greentown (Emily Wilcox, Bethany Neeley, Zoe Wolfe, Brittany Neeley) 3:59.32; 2. Adams (Jessica Nelson, Aaliyah McKinney, Georgia Williams, Savannah Newsome) 4:00.29; 3. St. Joseph’s (Michelle Potter, Ellen McClain, Elisa Revak, Morgan Carroll) 4:01.56. Pole vault: 1. Mackenzie Redman (Penn) 12-1 (RECORD; old 11-6 set by Alicia Fritschi of Northridge in 2006); 2. Brittney Pittman (Bremen) 11-3; 3. Sophie Brown (Fairfield) 10-6. High jump: 1. Kaylee Lapierre (Elkhart Central) 5-6; 2. Jenna Pfeiffer (Bremen) 5-5; 3. Kylie Ballard (Northwestern) 5-4.25; 3. Sarah Wagner (Eastern of Greentown) 5-4.25; 3. Tazmyn Mason (Elkhart Central) 5-4.25; 6. Emily Beckley (Cass) 5-4.25 (advances to state; met state standard). Discus: 1. Megan Howdeshell (Triton) 126-1; 2. Lauren Burish (Warsaw) 119-9; 3. Leah Heckaman (Culver Girls Academy) 116-8. Long jump: 1. Lauren Stutzman (Goshen) 17-0.25; 2. Melissa DuBois (Concord) 16-10.75; 3. Mikaila Chamblee (St. Joseph’s) 16-9.5 Shot put: 1. Cinnamon Green (Jimtown) 40-9; 2. Summer Blackamore (Kokomo) 37-5.25; 3. Gwen Zehner (Culver Community) 37-4.5.