Girls track: Portage pulls out first sectional title since 1995
By STeve T. Gorches 314-3797 or firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2013 11:08PM
Chesterton's Jordyn Kincy holds a slight lead heading to the finish of the 100 meter final over Michigan City's Jasmine McLemore and Portage's Jade McKnight during the girls track sectional at Chesterton Tuesday afternoon.| Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:41AM
CHESTERTON — The difference between one girls track squad winning its third straight sectional and another winning its first title in 18 years came down to a metal ball and a cramp on Tuesday night in the Chesterton Sectional.
The latter occurred in the 200-meter dash, in which Chesterton’s Jordyn Kincy came up lame in a final in which she was favored to at least place in the top three. The junior who already had her left thigh taped said it was a cramp, leading to a seventh-place finish.
That gave Portage a chance, and it took advantage in the shot put — the second-to-last event to be scored — by taking the top two spots and valuable points to win the crown for the first time since 1995. The final score was 134 for the Indians and 130 for the Trojans.
“This is big … huge for the program,” Portage assistant and 1993 graduate John Arredondo said.
Throws coaches Mark Harsha and Ed Rael can pat themselves on the back for Tara Kostenik (39 feet, 5.5 inches) and Ashley Sosbe (38-4.75) going 1-2 on the shot, as well as placing first (Sosbe) and third (Kostelnik) in the discus.
“The girls came through in field events big,” Portage coach Earl Coleman said. “But everyone came together as a team today.”
That included Paige Pizer winning the 800 run, Jade McKnight winning the long jump and wins in the 400 and 3,200 relays.
“Chesterton beat us handily in our dual meet, and we wanted the girls to get confidence in themselves and compete,” Coleman said. “That’s exactly what they did today.”
Chesterton got first-place efforts in the pole vault (Alexis Malay) and 100 and 400 runs. But Kincy, who won those two sprints, wanted to win her favorite dash in the 200, so the other two wins were bittersweet.
“My hips and calves cramped up,” she said. “I tried running flat-footed and (the other runners) were running on their toes. When I tried running on my toes I cramped.”
Kincy was slated to run a leg of the 1,600 relay to complete the meet, but decided “not to risk it and hurt the team” due to what she called “deadly heat.”
Some may say Portage’s win was fortunate because Kincy didn’t earn her expected points in the 200, but Portage’s McKnight didn’t run the 200, either. In fact, she was scratched at the last minute after qualifying in the top eight aftershe suffered a sprain in winning the long jump. So, it all evened out.
Valparaiso placed third overall on the strength of a record-setting performance by Kassidy Swenson, who won both the 100 and 300 hurdles. In the latter, she set a sectional record by almost a second with 44.69, breaking the mark of 45.67 set by fellow Vikings athlete Megan Steiner in 2007.
“I definitely didn’t expect that at all,” Swenson said about the record. “It’s a very gratifying feeling. It was perfect conditions for me — I like running in hotter weather.”