GIRLS TRACK

Renssleaer's Meeks aiming for state discus title

2013-05-26T17:00:00Z 2013-05-26T18:27:10Z Renssleaer's Meeks aiming for state discus titleJim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

One spot separated Chelsie Meeks from a state title in the discus last year.

The Rensselaer senior returns to Bloomington this weekend looking to end her high school career atop the awards podium.

"I'm where I want to be," Meeks said. "There'll be no nerves. I've been there before. I'm ready to go down and compete."

Meeks is seeded third at 141 feet, 8 inches, a substantial distance behind Adriana Brown of Lawrence Central, who comes in at 165-4. Meeks isn't concerned with the disparity.

"I threw against her in a meet at Warren Central earlier this year and beat her there, so I'm hoping to get her again," Meeks said. "Once we get there on the same day, things are completely different. The same weather, same wind, everything's evened out. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top."

The Purdue-bound Bomber said she will continue to throw as much as possible until the last few days before the meet.

Aiming high: Lake Central pole vaulter Brooke Lambert is the top seed at 12-3. Three other qualifiers come in 12 feet. Teammates Katie Brown and Kaitlyn Moricz both cleared 11-6 in the regional.

"All three think they can win and realistically so," L.C. coach Ron Fredrick said. "In order to do it, they'll have to go 12 feet plus."

It could be a productive day for Moricz, who is also seeded fourth in the long jump.

Back to the future: Valparaiso senior Kassidy Swenson placed eighth in the 300 hurdles as a freshman. After missing her sophomore season with a knee injury, she made it back to Bloomington a year ago with disappointing results. She eased up in the 100 hurdles, then didn't compete in the 300s due to a hamstring problem.

"I'm hoping to medal," Swenson said. "If I just focus on my races and run like I usually do, I should be fine."

Swenson is seeded fifth in 100s.

Tradition of excellence: In over two decades of coaching throwers at Portage, Mark Harsha has had a boy or girl qualify for state every year but once. Harsha isn't much on tooting his own horn, preferring to keep the focus on his athletes.

Portage has a chance to pocket two medals Saturday with Ashley Sosbe seeded seventh in the discus and Tara Kostelnik ninth in the shot put.

"The girls have pretty good depth," Harsha said. "It's not just those two. You have to be really good to be in our top two. It's nice to have that. There are always things they can do to improve, but I'm real happy with how they've progressed."

Ready for more: After finishing 18th in the state finals last year, Westville shot putter Savanna Jackson is aiming higher this time.

"I was a little nervous and it kind of affected my performance," she said. "I think I will do a little better this time. I've gotten a lot better. Being there before, knowing how things go, I'll be a little more prepared."

The biggest surpise for Jackson last season was the crowd.

"I didn't expect there to be so many people," she said. "Not a lot of people go to track meets."

Jackson, who is seeded 19th, is aiming for 40 feet. She broke her own school record in the regional with a toss of 39-4 1/2.

Fast friends: Merrillville's Airrica Harper and Lew Wallace's Arielle Borders are close on and off the track.

"She's my best friend," Harper said. "We hang out. In the offseason, she's my training partner."

Both will compete in the 100 and 200 at state, with Harper also on the Pirates' 400 relay (seeded 10th).

"It was really gratifying to come out here and win two times in a row," Harper said after taking both sprints in the regional. "State's going to be icing on the cake."

Close company: Jasmine McLemore (Michigan City), Megan Zajac (LC), Mindy Whidden (Hobart) and Troyneisha Sago (West Side) all met the state qualifying standard in the 400, an event where a whopping 16 runners matched or bettered last year's ninth-place time at state. The region foursome are grouped in the middle four lanes of the second section.

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