Anderson shines on senior night

May 6—ANDERSON — With the IHSAA postseason fast approaching, track-and-field athletes are fine tuning their craft and looking to trim that extra tenth of a second or add a few inches they need.

While that is certainly true for Anderson senior Amari Carter, he has a little extra incentive. After falling and failing to finish in his defense of the Madison County 300-meter hurdles race last month, he is looking to regain the confidence and the form he'll need against a talented postseason field.

"I look forward to doing better, but I feel like I've been slacking a little bit because I haven't been getting close to my (personal best)," he said. "I need to work harder, get past that so I can get out of sectional and get on to state."

He looked strong enough in the final regular-season meet of his career, taking first in both the 110 and 300 hurdles and helping lead Anderson to overwhelming team wins against Elwood on the Indians' senior night Monday.

The Anderson boys won all 13 events on the way to a 97-10 win while the girls took 10 of 13 events to score an 86-21 decision over the Panthers.

Carter, who will continue his track career next year at Earlham, did knock down the last three hurdles in the 110 race but was controlled and dominant otherwise as he looks for a measure of redemption for the county disappointment.

"I believe that if I let my head go and let my legs do the talking, I'll be able to do better than I think," he said.

Anderson coach DeShaun Holder believes if Carter can remain focused psychologically, he could have a big postseason.

"I know one of the things we talk to him about is being poised and being in control of his emotions," Holder said. "As we're getting closer to that postseason, he's getting more of a grasp of that mentality that says, 'I've got to work harder, and I've got to finish harder.'"

Carter's efforts were part of Anderson's clean sweep, and he was not the only senior to excel on their special night.

Spencer Proctor took first in the 1,600 after scoring a comeback win earlier in the meet as the anchor leg for Anderson's 3,200 relay team. That group also included Connor King, who won the 800.

It was also a two-win night for 2022 state finalist Tremayne Brown. He took the long jump at 19-foot and cleared 6-6 to win the high jump, just one inch shy of his school record.

Austin French (discus), Hunter Cook (shot put), Trenton Coles (100), Zarion Turner (400), D'Jion Whiteside (200) and Liam Innes (3,200) helped complete the Anderson sweep.

It is also a group of seniors Holder values in his first season at the helm.

"It started off slow, and they had to see the structure and the plan," Holder said. "It's like any other program. Rome wasn't built in a day. They've got to see the foundation and believe in what they're doing. The fact that I preached every day to peak at the right time and when they started seeing that happen, they knew 'coach is on to something.'"

While overwhelmed in terms of overall numbers, there were a couple bright spots for the Panthers, and both were from the girls side of the dual.

One was Emma Vanover, who doubled by winning the 1,600 in 7:03 and taking the 3,200 with a personal-best time of 15:40.

The second was Elwood's own hurdler with big postseason hopes in senior Savannah Garcia. Although she trailed Cambre'Anna Austin early, the Madison County champ stormed back to win the 100 hurdles by a comfortable margin.

"We all kind of noticed that she had a third or fourth gear that kicked in halfway through, and she just lit it up," Elwood coach Tom Prince said. "She doesn't surprise us (anymore), but it's one of those things that she keeps firing up on us. She's finishing exactly how we all expect her to."

But the rest of the girls meet belonged to the home team.

De'Mani Kirksey (100), Austin (300 hurdles), Kayla Donald (800), Maileyonna Johnson (200), Meah Beachem (long jump), Zharia Hampton (shot put), Tamia White (discus) and Jamiya Foster (high jump) also scored victories for a balanced Anderson team, which also swept the relay races.

Elwood has already celebrated its seniors earlier this season but has one more home meet when it hosts Wes-Del and Monroe Central on Tuesday as it prepares for the postseason. Both Panthers' squads head to Marion for next week's sectionals. The girls will run Tuesday and the boys Thursday.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.