It’s not like Allie Dalton to pass up the 1,600-meter run, though event strategy tends to be treated differently once the postseason arrives.

The Greenwood Community High School sophomore literally saved her best for last, winning the 3,200 in a time of 10:57.14 at Tuesday’s Shelbyville Regional to seal her invitation for the IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals on June 6 at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Dalton also ran second leg for the Woodmen’s victorious 3,200-meter relay effort.

“I really wanted to focus on the 2-mile and the 4×800. I just wanted to run my potential at state and to be able to put a lot of my effort into the 2-mile,” Dalton said.

“My time was not exactly what I wanted. It was harder this time because I didn’t have the runner right behind me like I had last week.”

Dalton from an individual standpoint mirrored the dominance Warren Central, the state’s top-ranked squad, displayed in the final team standings.

The Warriors won six events, placed in the top three in 11 and racked up a total of 125.5 points.

Thirteenth-ranked Center Grove placed a distant second with 70 points, while fellow Johnson County programs Greenwood and Franklin were fourth and eighth, respectively.

Senior Tori Long produced the Trojans’ lone victory by dominating the field in the 400-meter dash in a time of 57.88 seconds. Meanwhile, sophomore sprinter Olivia Rassel moves on in four events with seconds in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, a third in the 1,600 relay and a second in the 400 relay.

All told, Center Grove will take part in seven events at the state meet.

“It wasn’t perfect, I’ll tell you that. We had some good things, we had some … bad things. Obviously, Taylor (Pennington) didn’t get out in the high jump, but Hayley Goines wasn’t supposed to get out in the long jump and she did. Taylor Hickey got out in the 800, and we ran solid times in the 400 and 1600 relays,” Trojans coach Wes Dodson said.

“Now was it perfect? Absolutely not. Can we do better? I hope so. We knew going in we weren’t going to win a team title. The goal is to get as many kids out as we could, and we got a lot out.”

Other local qualifiers included Greenwood’s Hanna Anderson with a third-place effort in the 100; Center Grove’s 400 relay of Allison Utterback, Rassel, Goines and Lauren Rau; and the Trojans’ 1,600 relay of Long, Rassel, Goines and Rau.

Greenwood’s 3,200 relay team of Maddy Renfro, Dalton, Kayla Rance and Taylor Neely knocked more than 14 seconds off last week’s sectional time to win the meet’s first running event in a time of 9:38.22

Renfro was in sixth place through one lap but bettered her standing to fourth after two. Dalton then moved up to third and later second before Rance assumed command after the first of her two laps.

Rance and Neely then proceeded to widen the Woodmen lead with runner-up Franklin Central 5.57 seconds behind at the finish.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to death with the way this went tonight. We knew coming in we had an opportunity to score a lot of points. We had a girl in every event on the track and two field events, so a strong team showing,” Woodmen coach Blaine Williams said.

With Dalton leading the way.

By taking part in two events rather than three the sophomore hopes she’s enhanced her chances of visit the state finals awards podium.

“I would just love to be on the podium with the (relay) team. That would be a wonderful experience,” Dalton said. “For the 3,200 I just want to finish as high up as I can.”

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.