FISHERS - Hamilton Southeastern girls track and field head coach Julie Alano will be looking to build on her team's 2016 success here in 2017. Last spring the Royals won the Hoosier Crossroads Conference and the sectional title. The team also finished fifth in the state finals - the second best finish in school history.
Fortunately for Alano, she has a stable of experienced athletes returning to the 2017 squad.
The team will be led by two 2016 state finalists - juniors Camille Christopher and Mia Mackenzie. Christopher finished fourth in both the 100 and 200 meter dash at the state meet last year. Mackenzie placed sixth in the 300 meter hurdles and 12th in the 100 meter hurdles.
Sophomores Tierra Sydnor and Lulu Black are also returning with state finals experience. Sydnor finished 14th in the 400 meter dash at state as a freshman, and Black placed 18th in the 3,200 meter run.
The Royals also have runners returning from three relay teams that placed last season at state.
"With graduation, about half of those athletes are back," Alano said. "So the team is looking for young talent to step in."
Mackenzie, Christopher and junior Jada Edson return from the 4x100 meter relay team. Sophomore Maddie Mirro returns from the 4x800 meter squad. Sydnor and junior Angela Perry return from the 4x400 relay team.
"Many regional qualifiers from last season are hoping to take the next step to state this season," Alano said. "Junior Abbie Lohman in the 1,600 meter run, sophomore Tayah Irvin and senior Sydney Encinias in the high jump, sophomore Lilly Cummins in the 3,200, junior Valerie Obear in the discus, senior Natalie McDaniel in the pole vault, senior Meghann Cullen in the 100 meter hurdles, Perry in the 200 meter dash and Mackenzie in the long jump."
Alano also pointed to a few newcomers to watch for in Jessica Bray in the pole vault, Olivia Burgess in the sprints and Ellie Pedersen in the 800 meter run.