HOBART | It seemed that the Munster girls track team was about to lose its first conference meet since 1999.
Then the scoring of all the field events was completed.
The old Lake Athletic Conference is long gone, but Munster’s streak of conference championships remained alive Tuesday night when the Mustangs edged longtime pursuer Kankakee Valley 147-144 at the Northwest Crossroads Conference meet.
On the boys side the host Brickies extended their more modest streak to four consecutive conference titles.
Munster has won 72 consecutive conference dual meets dating back to the LAC days.
Munster did not win any of the 16 events but had seven runner-up finishes and placed two girls in the top six in most events. Their depth had them in the lead most of the meet, but Jenna Jungels’ long jump win was a temporary tipping point. However, the high jump, where Munster was runner-up, was the difference.
“It was a total team effort,” Munster coach Rick Sluder said. “We had a ton of PRs -- the 100, 200, 400. All our relays ran season bests, even with dropping the baton in the (mile relay).”
The Kougars were loaded with champions, as usual, as junior Leanna Mulloy won the 100-meter dash in NCC-record time and took the 200 and ran on the champion 400 relay and runner-up mile relay.
Michelle Kent was second in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600, and freshman phenom Jungels won the long jump and 100 hurdles, ran on the top 400 relay team and took second in the 200.
“Munster’s the team we’ve been chasing in these regular-season conference meets for years,” K.V. coach Lane Lewallen said. "Our girls ran phenomenally."
Third-place Hobart won the 3,200 relay, 800 (Celena Guerrero), 400 (Mindy Whidden), high jump (Kara Cooke) and pole vault (Kelly McGuire).
Lowell swept the throws, won the mile relay and won the 300 hurdles with Tori Nida. And Griffith’s Taylor Austin won the mile and two-mile run.
Joey Curtis made sure he left “The Brickyard” knowing that his team would not lose a conference meet. The senior standout won the 100 and 200 and was runner-up to teammate Steve Viator in the 400.
“I really felt (Viator) coming when I hit the straight-away,” Curtis said. “I’d rather have a teammate next to me pushing me, so I know I can improve. When I have someone beat me, it’s actually a blessing.”
The Brickies beat Munster 172-132.
“Our team, we always have someone willing to help the other one out,” Curtis said. “Everyone is really motivated to improve. We talk about beating this guy and that guy, but we really talk about PRs.”
Lowell was third due in large part to Kyle Eller, who broke the NCC records in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“I was really glad to come out and do as well as I could, and I thank God for that,” Eller said. “To have a teammate (Brian Blaylock) take second with me in the 3,200 was amazing.”