FORT WAYNE – Northrop has a chance, and that’s all coach Tom Knudson can ask for as the 2011 girls track co-state champion Bruins should be in the mix for the team title again Friday at Indiana University in Bloomington.
We’ve got an opportunity, Knudson said. If things would go right.
Also with a good shot for a state championship will be Wayne sprinter Brionna Thomas, who could claim an individual state championship. She was second in the 200 meters and third in the 100 last year in the state finals. Thomas, a sophomore, was ranked as the top 100 and 200 runner in the state most of the season and will be seeded second in the 200 and sixth in the 100.
She knows she has been there before and what is expected of her, Wayne coach Felicia Gooden said. There’s still some immaturity, but it is all about her enjoying what she’s doing.
Last year, the Bruins tied Lawrence North with 42 points to share the team state championship. It was the program’s state-leading ninth state title.
The Bruins are ranked No. 3 in the state, behind No. 1 Lawrence Central and No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern. Knudson said Pike could also be a contender.
Northrop won the regional with 79 points and the sectional with 135 points.
The team’s strength is in their relay teams. The 400 and 1,600 relay teams are both seeded second, while the 3,200 relay team is No. 6.
We’ve got some good relays, Knudson said. If the (3,200 relay) steps up and runs better, where we changed some things around.
To make the 3,200 relay even stronger, Knudson pulled Emma Mirdwaldt out of the 1,600 run and put her in the 3,200 relay. She will also be running in the 800 as an individual.
The Bruins’ Demetra Taylor is seeded second in the 100 hurdles, and Dejah Arnold is No. 3 in the 400.
Northrop could be hurt by the loss of valuable points in the 300 hurdles when Taylor false-started in the sectional in the event and was disqualified, leaving her out of the event for the rest of the postseason.
Knudson said Makelle Skelton’s performance in the long jump, where she is seeded 15th, could also be pivotal to the team’s chances at a title.
The 11-day layoff from the regional May 22 has helped the Bruins heal, especially Arnold.
It was a lot of stuff, said Knudson, who retired as a science teacher after 28 years but is taking coaching year by year. You name it, and it has happened. We got time to heal up and rest. It’s been a standard week for us, and we have had to stay focused.
Thomas could also run in the 400 relay team for the Generals, who are seeded fourth in the event and the 1,600 relay team with its fifth seed.
If she gets out of the blocks good, she will do well, Gooden said of Thomas’ chances. She is running a little bit faster times this year than she did last year. A lot of it has to do with her explosion out of the blocks. That’s what we have been really focusing on.
Thomas won the 100 (12.26) and 200 (24.95) at last week’s Northrop Regional. The top seed in the 100 is Indian Creek’s Katie Wise at 11.92, and in the 200 it is held by Pike’s Morgan Yeadon at 24.47. Both runners are defending state champions in their respective events.