Girls track | Chesterton Sectional

Chesterton nips Valpo by half a point to defend girls track sectional title

2012-05-15T20:57:00Z 2013-05-30T17:59:08Z Chesterton nips Valpo by half a point to defend girls track sectional titleBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

CHESTERTON | It's safe to say Anna Raffin slept peacefully last night.

After Tuesday's Chesterton Sectional, the Trojans senior certainly deserved it.

Raffin won the 100- and 400-meter dashes, placed second in the 200 and anchored the 1,600 relay to a victory. As it turned out, the Trojans needed every bit of it, nipping Valparaiso 148.5-148 to defend their title.

"It was tough. I knew I'd be kind of tired, but it's nothing I haven't trained for. I've done it before," Raffin said. "I just had to take it a race at a time. We've always been close with Valpo, and we wanted to get as many points as we could. We really wanted to win the sectional. Today was all about the team."

Chesterton coach Steve Kearney looked up and down the results, finding pleasant surprises, like hurdlers Bella Santana and Bridget Brendza, shot putter Hannah Van Drie (third), discus throwers Sara Filipek and Shelby Gwizdalski, miler Kassidy Scott and injured high jumper Geena Tumidalsky, who tied for eighth, scoring a half point.

"Everybody who scored a point mattered, whether it's the person who tied for eighth or the person who got first," Kearney said.

Kristen Homme was on two winning relays (1,600, 3,200), while Katie Urycki (long jump) and Emily Kozak (pole vault) also were champions, but the conversation in the end had to come back to Raffin.

"We don't vote for a meet MVP, but I think I know who it would be," Kearney said. "She's not run those four events at the same time this season. In this heat, running six races starts to get to you, and where she won her races was at the end. She's driven by perfection. She's an unbelievable example to the rest of the team."

The only other double winner in the meet was Valpo's Kassidy Swenson. The junior hurdler, who missed last season with a knee injury, took both events by a wide margin, despite clipping the last hurdle in the 300s and almost falling. She also rallied the 400 relay to a second.

"It's a really good feeling after two years," Swenson said. "I'm just really blessed to have this opportunity again. My coaches and teammates were really supportive. I came in with no expectations, just to do the best I could. Once you get that rhythm down, it feels great."

South Central's Sydney Payne carried the small school banner, winning the high jump with a personal best of 5 feet, 2 inches. The Satellites qualified athletes in six events.

"When I looked at the sheet and saw that five girls had made 5 feet, I was so nervous, I was shaking," Payne said. "I was surprised I did so well for how nervous I was. It feels awesome that we had a lot of people who made it to regionals."

First-year shot putter Tara Kostelnik kept Portage's throwing tradition of success going, taking first with a toss of 37-9.

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