5 to Watch: Girls Track and Field | High Schools


It was a triumphant day for Fort Wayne at the Girls State Finals in October. Homestead senior Addison Knoblauch finished fourth, leading the Spartans to their first state title in the sport. Concordia’s Mallory Weller took sixth and Lexi Panning seventh to lead the Cadets to a second-place finish, while Warsaw’s Josefina Rastrelli (11th place) and Huntington North’s (13th) also finished in the top 20.

Track fans should expect that success in the girls distance events to continue as the Cadets, Spartans and other area runners account for many of the best 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter times this winter.

Outdoor season will heat up slowly, but sectional championships will be held on May 14, regionals will follow a week later and the state finals will be held on May 31.

Athletes

Addison Knoblauch, Homestead: The Spartans senior had a huge day at the state finals and has been on a tear since. The Notre Dame commit took fifth and earned All-American honors at the Foot Locker Championships in San Diego in December, and last weekend she finished ninth in the 2-mile at the Nike Indoor Nationals in New York City in 10:15.49 and 10th in the mile in 4:51.44. Both times are the fastest recorded by an Indiana runner this season. Knoblauch placed second in the 3,200 at last year’s state finals in 10:19.75.

Josefina Rastrelli, Warsaw: The Tigers senior is also a defending state runner-up in the 1,600, finishing at 4:49.49, less than six seconds behind prohibitive favorite Nicki Southerland of Delta. She ran the 2-mile in 11:00.39 – the third-best time by an Indiana athlete this year – at the New Balance Nationals Indoor last weekend.

Bailey Sinish and Bella Sloan, Carroll: The sophomore high jumpers made a splash as freshmen. Sinish was the Northrop Sectional and Carroll Regional champ and finished fifth at the state finals. Sloan was the sectional runner-up, took third at the regional meet and was ninth at state. Sinish cleared 5 feet, 9 inches at the HSR Qualifier Midwest Performance Series at Indiana Tech on March 5, a mark bested only by Heritage Christian’s Kya Crooke so far this season.

Jaliyah Paige, North Side: The reigning SAC, Northrop Sectional and Carroll Regional champion in the 100-meter hurdles placed fourth at the state finals as a junior in 14.27. The senior has run the 60-meter hurdles in 9.36 seconds this indoor season, which ranks 14th in the state.

Gwen Howard, Whitko: The junior won the shot put at the 2023 Goshen Regional and was sixth at last year’s state meet. She also took third in the discus at the regional. Howard’s best shot put of 44 feet, 11.75 inches ranks fourth in the state this indoor season.

Teams

Carroll: Three of the Chargers’ five sectional titles have come in the last three years, and the senior class is gunning to go 4 for 4. The Chargers are also the defending regional champions, and it’s not hard to see why. Runners like Taylor Hansen and Marybeth Hall ensure that middle- and -distance races remain a strength for Carroll, which also has standouts in high (Sinish and Sloan), pole vault (Addy Windsor is a returning state qualifier) and hurdles (Adelle Schlotterback and Alyssa Davis qualified in the 300 hurdles).

Homestead: The Spartans have won nine sectional titles in 10 years, with the only interruption coming in 2020, when the season was canceled due to COVID. The defending state cross country champs believe that streak will continue with one of the state’s strongest middle- and -distance corps, along with standouts like hurdlers Ellie Irwin and Anna Ream.

Concordia: One of the few schools that rivals Homestead’s distance crew is Concordia, despite its smaller enrollment. Panning placed sixth in the 3,200 at last year’s state finals and Weller was eighth in the 1,600. Senior Sidney Scheumann got state finals experience in the 4×800. Last year, Eve Domres and Mia Loggins qualified for regionals in the high .

Northrop: The 2023 Bruins were not as dominant as they once were, sending just one individual and a 4×100 team to the state finals. But a relatively new Northrop lineup defended the Bruins’ SAC crown last year, winning two relays, one individual race and three field events.

Huntington North: The Vikings won the 4×800, the 400 and the pole vault at the NE8 Conference to win the league title for the second straight year.

Storylines

4×800 glory: The Cadets will make the a particular focus of their season, and their time of 9:20.38 run at the HSR Qualifier at Indiana Tech last week is the fastest by any team in the state. Homestead and Carroll also sent 4×800 teams to state last year.

New heights for Starfires: South Adams will be competing in the pole vault for the first time in decades, and junior Stella McIntire is the first female pole vaulter in the school’s history.

Wrapping up indoors: The indoor track season is not yet done, as many of the state’s top athletes will be competing at the Hoosier State Relays at Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion in on March 23.

Taking 400 reins: Carroll seniors Delainey Floyd and Anna Vie went 1-2 in the 400 at the regional meet last year. Who will step up in the event this year?

Sectional streaks: Warsaw has won 16 straight sectionals. Homestead stands at nine straight and Carroll at three. Angola has won in back-to-back years and Norwell was the Marion champ in 2023.



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