By Steve Williams
Freshman star Chloe Truss led the way, but it took a supporting cast for Knoxville Catholic to capture its first Knoxville Interscholastic League Track and Field girls’ championship in school history.
After sweeping the three sprint races (100, 200 and 400), Truss anchored the Lady Irish’s victorious 4×400 relay in the meet’s last event to take the title by a two-point margin (121 to 119) over 11-time KIL champion and host Hardin Valley May 2.
As it turned out, Catholic not only needed all the points it could get from its team; it needed a helping hand from West in the final event, the 4×400 relay. Had the Lady Rebels not taken second place, third-place finisher Hardin Valley would have scored two more points and tied the Lady Irish for the crown. But West nosed out HVA by 37 hundredths of a second (4:06.34 to 4:06.71). Catholic won the race in 4:04.15 with the quartet of Elly Jones, Payton Sipos, Julia Zabek and Truss.
“Everything just came together,” said Catholic Coach Sean O’Neil. “Everyone did their parts and it was a real team effort.”
Farragut (90 points), Webb (82) and Karns (58) rounded out the Top 5.
Ten points were awarded for first place, 8 for second, 6 for third, 5 for fourth, 4 for fifth, 3 for sixth, 2 for seventh and 1 for eighth in each event.
Truss’ winning times were 12.33 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 24.99 in the 200 and 56.89 in the 400.
Asked how she felt about helping lead the team to the school’s first-ever girls title, Chloe said: “I think it’s great and I couldn’t have done it without the rest of my teammates. I was really happy with our 4 by 4 and winning the meet and all is great.”
The Catholic girls racked up 81 points to go with the 40 points awarded for their four victories on the track.
Sipos and Caroline Hilliard, both freshmen, were second and fourth, respectively, in the 100 hurdles. The same two came in third and seventh in the 300 hurdles.
Jones, a senior, placed third in the 200 and fourth in the 100.
Senior Kaylee Estridge finished eighth in the 800 run, sixth in the 1600 and fifth in the 3200. Sophomore Eileen Loebner placed sixth in the 3200.
Catholic was runner-up in the 4×100 relay, with Maeva Cox, Evai Mitchell, Sharon Wilson and Jones passing the baton. Its 4×200 relay of Cox, Mitchell, Wilson and Zabek placed fourth. The Lady Irish’s 4×800 relay, which included Jenna Clements, Sydney Clements, Brianna Cisneros and Loebner, also finished fourth.
In the field events, Catholic got valuable points from sophomore Maggie Frana, who threw a school record 101 feet for second place in the discus event, and was third in the shot put. Sipos exceeded expectations in the high jump with a third place showing.
Hardin Valley junior distance standout Maddie Archdale won the 800 (2:17.87) in a very close finish with Farragut’s Parker Willis (2:17.93).
With a headwind blowing against her on half of the track, Archdale posted a winning time of 5:11.93 in the 1600. Karns’ Rylee Gifford took first place in the 3200 with an 11:32.54.
Grace Christian senior Brianna Baker skimmed over the 100 hurdles in 14.94, but had a battle in the 300 hurdles with Bearden junior Lydia Lively. Baker was clocked in 45.63 seconds and Lively in 45.65.
South-Doyle (49.83) edged Catholic (49.88) in the 4×100 relay. The same foursome of Lariah Cozart, Aubrey Hubbs, Amani Martin and Ka’Shauna Dyer also won the 4×200 in 1:46.25.
On a cool, breezy night in the field events, Webb’s Lennox Langham and Hardin Valley’s Gracie Waite were double winners. Langham leaped 16-11 in the long jump and 36-5.75 in the triple jump. Waite had a 34-10.70 mark in the shot put and hurled the discus 122-3.
Farragut’s Callie Lefler cleared five feet to win the high jump event and Concord Christian sophomore Liliane Helton sailed over the pole vault bar, which was set at 10-6, for her victory.