Just seconds after crossing the finish line at the end of the 4×400 relay, Kate Henselmeier flopped herself down on the infield turf, nothing left to give.
The Center Grove senior has been dominating meets all season long, but Tuesday’s Franklin Sectional took a bit more out of her than usual.
“We haven’t had any type of prelims all this season until today,” Henselmeier said, “and throwing in 100 and 200 prelims, it was a lot. I felt like I was just going the whole time.”
And going pretty fast. Henselmeier collected four first-place finishes, including an emphatic sweep of all three individual sprinting events, to lead the sixth-ranked Trojans to an eighth consecutive team championship.
Henselmeier got her night started with a victory in the 100-meter dash, crossing the line in 12.47 seconds to edge teammate Channing Hazzard (12.60). She then torched the field in the 400, running a meet-record 55.58 to win by more than four seconds, and went 1-2 with Hazzard in the 200 (26.22 and 26.56).
She capped the meet by anchoring the aforementioned 4×400 relay, joining Molly Tapak, Marissa Pogue and Hallie Mimbela to hold off the host Grizzly Cubs (4:03.29 to 4:03.85).
“Running against Franklin really pushed us, and it’ll prepare us to run against them in regionals again,” Henselmeier said. “We had a week off; today was some good teams to run against to get us back in the groove for some really competitive teams here at regionals and state.”
Center Grove ran away with the team title, posting 162.5 points to outdistance runner-up Whiteland (117). Franklin was third with 106 points, while Greenwood (55) was fifth, Indian Creek (41.5) seventh and Greenwood Christian (4) eighth.
Shelby Wingler was about as dominant in the throws as Henselmeier was in the sprints. The University of Kentucky recruit was a double winner for the Trojans, taking the discus with a top throw of 137 feet, 4 inches and the shot put with a heave of 49-2 1/2.
“I’m ecstatic,” Wingler said at night’s end. “Going into next week, it’s really big, especially for me mentally. I’m peaking at the right time, I’m where I want to be, setting myself up for the summer to get ready for the fall. I still have a lot I can improve on and a lot I can get more consistent with, but the best series of my life, best throws of my life, so I’m excited. Ready for next week.”
Emerson Vlcan took first in the high jump with a best of 5-3.
Other individuals moving on to the regional for Center Grove were Molly Tapak in the 100 hurdles (second) and 300 hurdles (third), Khloie Walker and Hannah Smith in the pole vault (second and third), Alana Riley in the long jump (third) and Luci Barile in the discus.
The 4×100 relay team of Olivia O’Haver, Riley, Ashley Lauffer and Hazzard (second) and the 4×800 quartet of Marissa Pogue, Dianna Hodges, Lara Phipps and Hallie Mimbela (third) both advanced.
Whiteland junior Tori Jackson was a winner in the 800 meters, finishing in 2:15.53. She also advanced in the 1,600, posting a runner-up time of 5:09.52, though she plans to narrow her focus to the 800 going forward.
“It went really well today,” Jackson said. “Having great competition and a bunch of great girls to race out with — they’re all so uplifting, and it’s just a great group to compete with.”
Whiteland won the 4×100 relay, with the team of Sydney Rodgers, Emma Gill, Marissa Kratowicz and Elnora Stevenson posting a time of 49.41 seconds. Stevenson added a victory in the long jump with a leap of 17-3 on her first attempt of the meet.
Other regional qualifiers for the Warriors were Addison Emberton (second in discus), Carly VonDielingen (third in the shot put), Megan Lester (third in the 100 hurdles), Kratowicz (third in the 100), Stevenson (third in the 200) and the 4×400 relay team of Jackson, Emberton, Lester and Amelia Edens (third).
Franklin was led by sophomore Aubrey Runyon, who coasted to victory in the 100 hurdles by more than a second (14.80) and went 1-2 with teammate Brooke Coffman in the 300 hurdles (45.83 and 46.01). Coffman and Morgan Sandrock tied for second in the high jump to secure regional spots, while Lauren Klem was third in the 1,600 and Ainsley Botkin was third in the 400. The Grizzly Cubs’ 4×400 relay of Runyon, Botkin, Coffman and Klem placed second with a school-record time.
Greenwood got a first-place finish in the pole vault from Amy Luttrell, who cleared 12 feet. Luttrell also finished second in the long jump to advance to the regional. She’ll be joined there by Makena Cruse, who was second in the 400, and Emma Gardner, the runner-up in the shot put.
Indian Creek’s 4×800 relay team of Abby Fleetwood, Paige Iaria, Phoebe Dowty and Libby Dowty was second with a time of 9:29.79. Libby Dowty added a third-place finish in the 3,200 meters.