CROWN POINT | Who needs a track?
Nomadic Lake Central, the team without a home, continues to rule the Duneland Athletic Conference nonetheless. The Indians won seven events, amassing 142 points to run away with its sixth straight title Tuesday.
"We knew we had the talent. The question was, without having a facility, would we be able to get them ready when they came up against a stiff challenge?" L.C. coach Ron Frederick said. "They have the work ethic. They know what it takes, whatever the situation, to put it together. What's different than most years, we went scoreless in three events, but we're so strong at the top end, we could take some zeroes."
Nowhere was that more evident than pole vault, where Brooke Lambert (12 feet), Katie Brown and Kaitlyn Moricz went 1-2-3.
"We're on each other's butts every day," Moricz said. "We all jump pretty much exactly the same, so we can watch and see the flaws. Even with the challenge of the track, we get there and do what we need to do."
Moricz was field events MVP, taking the long jump in a meet record 19-0.
"I hadn't hit 19 since indoor so I was really pushing to get it," she said. "I caught it right. I hit the board and I felt like I was soaring."
LaPorte's Elena Lancioni was running events MVP, dominating the 1,600 (5:14.91) and 3,200 (11:22.22).
"I've got to be able to run by myself, to push on my own," she said. "You're not going to have competition every time. I've still got a lot of work to do to be able to compete at the state meet."
Anjelica Peppers played a big part in Merrillville's runner-up finish (96). Peppers chased down teammate Airrica Harper to take the 100 in 12.62 and anchored the 400 relay to a first (49.81), while taking third in the 200 and fourth in the long jump.
"I haven't really had a good 100 all season," Peppers said. "I got out probably about fourth. I'm so used to taking a deep breath in, sometimes you've got to know when to let it go. I needed to release some oxygen and I caught that second gear."
Peppers has high hopes for the relay, which also features Ashley Walton, Harper, the 200 winner, and Stephanie Samuels.
"I started as anchor as a freshman, so it's really good to be back to my old self, bringing it in for the team," she said. "I just feel like I'm taking in everybody's energy and it gives me a boost. We feel like we can go against (Indianapolis) Pike or any other team."
Valparaiso's Kassidy Swenson rebounded from a late stumble that cost her the 100 hurdles (won by LC's Pariss Bettis) to capture the 300s decisively in 46.6.
"That's my first time losing this year," Swenson said. "It was disappointing, but I just had to get rid of the bad thoughts and focus on my next race. I tried to take whatever anger I had and put it into running (the 300s) the best I can."
Also for L.C., Megan Zajac held off Chesterton's Jordyn Kincy in the open 400 (58.61) and ran on the winning 3,200 relay (9:47.55).