For the Pharos-Tribune

After having its 11-year sectional win streak ended in 2005, the Kokomo girls track and field team began another era as the Wildkats captured the Madison-Grant Girls Track Sectional here Tuesday.

“We said after last year that our focus was to come back here and get our trophy and run around this track one time,” said coach Bobby Pettigrew. “This is a hard-working bunch of girls and it feels great to get (the championship) back with all of our history.”

Kokomo bested the field of 12 teams with their 111-point tally. Western and Logansport finished in a tight battle for second place, but the Panthers won out with their 83.5. Logansport finished with 82.5. Also Pioneer finished eighth with 28 while Lewis Cass tied for ninth with 19.

The Kats got several contributions from unexpected places, including sophomore Jaime McCarter, who came in as the No. 5 seed but won the 100-meter high hurdles in 16.93 seconds. Courtney Smith-Powell was also a catalyst, winning the 400 meters (1:01.33).

“I’ve said all along that Courtney is our heart and soul,” said Pettigrew. “We go as she goes. She’s probably the best athlete on the team and probably works the hardest. If there’s a competitor on this team it’s her.”

Kristin Pratt won the shot put for Kokomo with a toss of 37 feet, 2 inches while Cass’ Sarah Tweed won the discus with a throw of 119 feet, 9 inches. Adrianne Blickenstaff of Pioneer was third in the shot put and fourth in the discus.

Also for Pioneer, Jazzmin Humphrey placed fourth in the pole vault, which was held Monday at Kokomo High School, where Logansport’s Brittany Bullard set a new meet record with a winning 10-foot vault. That mark blew away the old record of 8 feet, 6.25 inches that was set last year by Taylor’s Tara Minglin.

Sara Handschu led the Berries. She won the 200 meters in 27.61 seconds and the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 9.5 inches then took second in the 100. She also ran on the 400 relay team with Bullard, Lizzi Schrader and Jenny Penman that placed second to qualify for Tuesday’s Bremen Regional.

Kim Horner won the 3200 for Logan in 12:09.33 and took second in the 1600. Running on the 3200 relay team, Horner and teammates Nicollette Albright, Shannon Jennings and Ashley Tidrick placed fourth to qualify.

Western made things interesting by surprising top-seed Taylor in the 3200 relay and building on that win. The team of Madi Briscoe, Cassie Myer, Jenn Elliott and Annina Gruber crossed the line in 10:18.42.

Led by Gruber, who won the 1600 meters in 5:32.90, Western led through eight events before the Wildkats began to mount their comeback. But the team’s depth ultimately kept them one point ahead of the Berries.

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