Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - With the start of the 2019 outdoor track & field campaign less than a week away, we will take a look at the Hanover women's track runners, who had themselves a strong indoor season.
As a unit, the Panthers are coming off of a second-place finish in the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, their fifth consecutive top-three placement. It is also the Blue and Red's highest placement in the meet since 2017, when they captured an HCAC Indoor crown.
The sprinters are headed by junior Kenna Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.), who highlighted her indoor stretch with a pair of personal records in the latter half of the year. At the DePauw (Ind.) Invitational on Feb. 9, Hunter ran a 27.43 in the 200-meter dash that slotted fifth in the event and sixth in school history. Later in the campaign at the 2019 Ohio Northern University Polar Bear Final Qualifier, Hunter clocked a 2:26.30 in the 800m run, which is now third in Panther record books.
Hunter has also seen her share of success outdoors, posting top 10's in the 200m and 400m dashes, with times of 26.71 and 1:02.35, respectively.
Also heavily factoring in will be freshman Alexis Harsh (North Vernon, Ind.), after starting her collegiate track career with a splash during the indoor calendar. Harsh competed frequently in the 200 along with Hunter, and at DePauw also ran her personal-best time with a 27.73 to qualify for seventh on the school leaderboards. In the 60m, Harsh made a jump to third in Panther lore at the Ohio Northern Joe Banks Invitational on Feb. 2 after she blazed past the finish line in 8.13 seconds.
Freshman Arig Tong (Columbus, Ind.) translated her cross country success onto the track, as she notched a pair of top five marks in the mile and the 3000m at the 2019 HCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. In the mile, Tong ran a 5:22.57 which was good for third in program history, while her 3000 of 10:43.41 is now the fourth-fastest mark on record for HC.
Senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.) spiced up her final indoor season by setting career-bests in the 1000m and the mile. In the mile, Hamilton crossed the line at 5:38.44 for an eighth-place finish and a PR at the HCAC Indoor Championships. The following weekend at the Anderson (Ind.) Fred Wilt Invitational, Hamilton completed the 1000 in 3:31.91, which was second overall and is now second in Panther history.
Juniors Ariel Barlow (Francesville, Ind.) and Caitlyn Naghdi (Carmel, Ind.) will add to a deep mix of distance runners. Barlow was a frequent in the 3000m with Tong, and at the conference meet ran her swiftest time ever with a 11:15.66, which was less than a second from the top 10 Hanover times in the event. Outdoors, Barlow holds the second-best time in the 3000 steeplechase of 11:47.91, which she ran at the North Central College (Ill.) Dr. Keeler Invitational on May 10, 2018.
As for Naghdi, she saw more success in the 5000m than any other event. After not running it all year, she ran it two consecutive weeks at DePauw and the HCAC Indoor Championships. At DePauw, she ran a 19:55.73, which won the event and now is ninth in program history.
Hurdlers are led by Hunter and junior Michelle Witt (Carmel, Ind.), who are each among the fastest Hanover has seen. Indoors, Hunter holds the sixth-swiftest finish in the 60 hurdles with a 9.86 at the 2019 ONU Polar Bear Qualifier, while Witt ran a 10.01 at conference this past year for 10th.
On the outdoor surfaces, each also has a top 10 in the 100 hurdles, with times of 16.11 and 16.44 being accomplished by Hunter and Witt, respectively, in 2018. Hunter also holds down third place in the 400 hurdles, with a 1:05.78 that she accomplished at the 2017 HCAC Outdoor Championships.
Contact: Tyler Jester