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IHSAA girls track and field: 5 things to watch at state meet

Indiana’s 50th girls track and field state meet will be Friday at Indiana University in Bloomington. Field events start at 3 p.m., 4x800-meter relay at 4:15, track trials at 5 and finals at 6:15.

Five things to watch:

Hadley Lucas throwing her weights around

Bloomington North’s Hadley Lucas celebrates after a regional, school and state record throw of 175-0 in the discus during the IHSAA girls’ track and field regional championship at Bloomington North on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.
Bloomington North’s Hadley Lucas celebrates after a regional, school and state record throw of 175-0 in the discus during the IHSAA girls’ track and field regional championship at Bloomington North on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Bloomington North thrower Hadley Lucas has emerged as a candidate for national athlete of the year in this sport.

She has set state records of 54 feet, 10 ¾ inches in the shot and 175 feet in the discus. She could reach the Olympic Trials with those marks and make the U.S. team for the under-20 World Championships.

Nationally, she ranks first in the shot (tied with Michelle Carter for No. 3 all-time) and is seven inches off first in the discus. Respective state meet records are 50-9 and 168-6.

Two victories would give Lucas five state titles, which would be an Indiana record in field events. Two other throwers — Portage’s Tori Bliss (2009-11) and Castle’s Alisa Raymond (1992-94) — totaled four each.

Warren Central seeks return to top

After twice falling short by one point over three state meets, Warren Central might be poised to become state champion for the first time since 2017.

The Warriors were second to Cathedral 40-39 in 2021 and to Noblesville 45-44 in 2023.

If regional marks were scored as a state meet, Warren Central would have 68 points. After that: Hamilton Southeastern 41, Bloomington North 39, Carmel 27, Noblesville 26.

Coach Le’gretta Smith’s daughters — senior Laila, sophomore Samaya, freshman Kira — make up three-fourths of Warren’s 4x400-meter relay team. From regionals, Laila is first in the 300 hurdles, third in 100 hurdles, second in the long jump. Another Warren senior, Jila Vaden, is first in the long jump and second in the 100 and 200.

In-depth: Warren Central's quest for girls track state title is a family affair.

HSE features freshman Anissa Lammie, who leads the state in the 400 and is scheduled to run 4x800 and 4x400 relays. The Royals won their only team title in 2018.

Carmel, which won the loaded Lafayette Jeff Regional, has not won the state championship since 1999.

Nicki Southerland aiming at trifecta

Delta’s Nicki Southerland, state champion in the 3,200 in 2022 and 1,600 in 2023, could be the first to win at all three distances in a career: 800, 1,600, 3,200. She is coming off two Saturday wins at Huntsville, Ala.,  clocking 2:05.14 in the 800 (third nationally) and 4:40.51 in the mile (4:38.90 for 1,600).

State meet records are 2:04.95 by Park Tudor’s Gretchen Farley in beating Southerland (2:05.06) last year, and 4:38.69 by Huntington North’s Addy Wiley in 2022.

Lyric Steele could complete comeback

At state two years ago, as a Charlestown sophomore, Lyric Steele was fifth in the 100 and fourth in the 200. But, after transferring to Jeffersonville, she was injured last year.

This year, the IU signee has not been beaten by another Indiana sprinter and won an indoor state title at 60 meters. To win a double, she would have to beat Connersville sophomore Ahniyah Bennett, defending champion at 200. They share the state lead at 24.53.

What’s your 20?

Four Indiana girls have ever long jumped 20 feet. Two — Vaden and Laila Smith — will be at this state meet, plus Heritage Christian's Kya Crooke, who jumped 19-10 ¾ to win last year.

Meet record of 20-4 has stood since 1986 by four-time champion Tonya Sedwick of Jeffersonville. Sedwick jumped 21-0 ¼ at IUPUI in 1987, but the distance was wind-aided.

Contact IndyStar correspondent David Woods at dwoods1411@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IHSAA girls track and field: 5 things to watch at state meet