By Adam Yoder
The NorthWood girls track and field squad honored their seniors on Tuesday night before the meet versus Goshen and Concord. Reagan Koble, Brooke Roa, Alea Minnich, Kendal Miller, Emma Martz, Iliya Smith and Katie Montgomery all got to walk the straight-away with their escorts, listen to their accomplishments, and hear their favorite memories read over the sound system at Andrews Field.
It was a sweet way to open the night as the younger Panthers cheered on their departing graduates.
From that point on, the seniors and their underclassmen teammates made sure it was an even sweeter night for themselves and head coach Mark Mikel. The Panthers earned a pair of Northern Lakes Conference wins over the Minutemen (72-60) and Redhawks (82-50) on a cool, drizzly night on the south end of Elkhart County.
“Our seniors really stepped up, Alea Minnich finished off that 4×4 so strong and won the 400 (1:04.77), Kendal Miller helped sweep the 800, Iliya Smith jumped well, Katie Montgomery PR’d in discus (85’9.75”), and wow, Reagan Koble earned her first win the 100 hurdles today,” Mikel commented.
Koble’s winning performance in the 100 hurdles (17.89) helped springboard the Panthers to a big lead early on the track after the home squad had raced out to a 3200-meter relay win as well. The team of Minnich, Miller, Kaitlyn Burden, and Emilie Allen took top honors in 10:45.15.
After that it was the younger Panthers turn, as Megan Mikel posted a first-place win in the 100-meter dash in a time of 13.50.
“Our younger kids are developing so well,” added Mikel. “All the way through the team we performed well, and we’re learning and improving. Still some things to work out, but a lot of progress to be proud of. A lot of the credit goes to our assistant coach Makenna Mikel, my daughter, and her insistence with the girls being more disciplined about warming up, cooling down, and reheating. The junior and seniors have taken that to heart and led us in getting better.”
The NorthWood distance crew’s success was not limited to the 3200-meter relay. Burden won the 800 (2:35.95) and the 1600 (5:39.26).
Allen took a night off from the 3200-meter run and finished second in the 800-meter run in 2:35.95.
Freshman Kady Hutsell continues to shine for the young Panthers by finishing second in the long jump with a leap of 14 feet and one-half inch. She also clocked 13.78 in the 100-meter dash to secure a point against each NLC opponent.
Hannah Chupp also got into the Panthers’ winning ways on Tuesday night with a victory in the 300-meter hurdles at 53.18.
The NorthWood 1600-meter relay team of Joslyn Miller, Aaliyah Bonner, Mikel, and Minnich capped off the night with a victory in the final event with a time of 4:30.09.
The NorthWood ladies are back in action Saturday, May 8, for the Goshen Relays before beginning the championship phase of their season with the NLC Championships on Tuesday, May 11, at Warsaw.