One final hurdle to clear

Memories of last year’s regional is all the incentive Tori Harper needs as she prepares for her final season of high school track.

After coming up short of making it to the IHSAA State Finals, the Greenwood Community High School senior is focusing on three events to achieve her goal.

Harper runs the 100- and 300-meter hurdles for the Woodmen. She’s also expected lead off the 4×100 relay, which includes freshman McKenzie McClarney, senior Jae Taft and sophomore anchor Hanna Anderson.

Harper wants the final races of her track career to be June 3 at Indiana University, host of the state finals.

“That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I would like it to be the 100s because that’s my best event, but it really doesn’t matter because this is sort of my finale,” said Harper, who an honors student with a 4.4 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

She’s ranked 10th academically in a class of 264 students.

As a junior, Harper tore the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) in her right knee while long jumping at the Johnson County Meet in April of that year.

Cleared by doctors four weeks later to return to competition, Harper placed third in the 100 hurdles at the Franklin Sectional in 16.22 seconds. Her season ended a week later with a sixth-place effort at the Shelbyville Regional.

Prior to her injury, Harper was on track to being the Woodmen’s top points producer.

The injury at county also removed any chance of her long jumping at any point during the remainder of her track and field career.

“There were good things and bad things about last season,” Harper said. “I hate sitting, but the injury forced me to let my body heal. But long jumping was a big part of my life, and now I can’t do it anymore.

“Doctors were afraid I would need surgery if I land wrong.”

Harper’s sophomore postseason began with a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.48 seconds and ninth in the 300 lows.

At regional, her foot grazed the top of one of the hurdles midway through the 100s and Harper came in seventh.

She and Woodmen are confident of better results this postseason.

“We’re hopeful Tori can stay healthy and have another strong season. We definitely have had our sights set on getting to the state meet,” Greenwood girls track coach Blaine Williams said. “Tori has a lot of talent and a real willingness to succeed.

“She’s a kid who we don’t have to remind what the stakes are.”

Tori Harper pullout


Name: Tori Harper

Age: 18

Born: Indianapolis

Family: Parents, Joshua Harper and Lisa Spoor; brothers, Zach, 17, Sebastien, 14, Andrew, 11; sisters, Katelyn, 13, Ruthie, 13

Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”

Favorite food: Chinese

Favorite movie: “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Favorite athlete: Dawn Harper

Favorite team: Indiana Pacers

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at