PELLA — Creston girls track coach Clay Arnold said the 2014 season debut at the Central College indoor meet Saturday was a success, despite only a partial squad available because of spring break.
“We had a very good first meet at Central,” Arnold said. “We took 16 girls — seven of whom were not on the team last year. We saw a ton of great things and we were very encouraged at where we are right now.”
Arnold had to mix and match some lineups without standouts Maria and Natalie Mostek, and with versatile middle-distance runner Taylor Briley still hampered by a hamstring injury.
Freshman Lexie Little showed potential in several events, running a team-best carry of 2:43.57 on the 4x800 relay team that placed 17th among 32 entries. Jami Sickels anchored that unit in 2:47.81.
Little also ran a 30.3 anchor on the 4x200 relay that ran 29th out of 60 in 2:05.75, and placed 73rd among 176 entries in the 200 meters in 31.38. Little also had a team-best time of 10.0 in the 55-meter hurdles.
Senior Chelcee Downing had a good day in the sprints, taking 45th among 215 entries in the 55 meters in 7.95 and 18th among 79 entries in the 400 meters in 1:08.51. Jami Sickels was 25th in 1:10.48.
“Downing had a good day,” Arnold said. “She has had her best preseason of her career so far, and it showed Saturday. I was really pleased with the versatility of our girls. They can do a lot of different things, which allows us to move people around as needed. Jami Sickels ran her first 800 in place of Briley in the 4x800 and did a nice job running 2:47.”
Another good showing at the 800 distance was turned in by Jessica Beatty, going 2:55.23 in the open 800 for first in her heat and 40th overall among 88 entries, as well as running 2:57.55 on the 17th-place 4x800 relay. Freshman Rachel Shepherd rounded out that unit at 2:58.79.
Creston’s depth in the 200 meters was evident in two relay teams placing in the top 30 among 60 entries.
The weight events suffered a blow when state eighth-grade champion Hannah Hood was lost for her freshman season with an upcoming shoulder surgery (torn labrum) from a volleyball injury. However, her sister Marie made a strong debut in the shot put Saturday with a throw of 26 feet.
“It was tough losing Hannah for the season,” Arnold said. “But we’ve been working with Marie, who decided to come out for track this year, and she’s been real receptive to learning. To throw 26 feet in her very first try, that’s pretty good. When we go to these indoor meets we like to find out what we’ve got, and Marie’s effort was an example of how we came away impressed with some things.”
Originally, Creston was scheduled for a second indoor meet next weekend at Graceland University, but that meet was scheduled the same day as Central’s this year and eventually cancelled.
The Panthers debut outdoors by hosting the preseason Hawkeye 10 southern division meet April 1.
Central Indoor Meet
Long jump (64 entries) — 32. Amber Castillo, 13-2.5.
Shot put (88 entries) — 53. Marie Hood, 26-0.
55 meters (215 entries) — 45. Chelcee Downing, 7.95; 87. Josie Sickels, 8.23; 137. Jessica Drey, 8.6; 160. Marie Hood, 8.8; 184. Brooke Thelen, 9.12.
55-meter hurdles (117 entries) — 36. Lexie Little, 10.00; 51. Madison Hance, 10.16; 56. Castillo, 10.23; 81. Leah Schuler, 10.94; 91. Angela Drey, 11.27; 107. Nicole Haley, 11.73; 109. Thelen, 11.79.
4x800 relay (32 entries) — 17. Creston A (Little, Jessica Beatty, Rachel Shepherd, Jami Sickels), 11:27.05; 27. Creston B (Haley, Madison Callahan, J. Drey, A. Drey), 12:42.01.
4x200 relay (60 entries) — 29. Creston A (Downing, Shepherd, Hance, Little), 2:05.75; 54. Creston B (Haley, Hood, Schuler, Thelen), 2:17.59; 28. Creston C (Josie Sickels, Jami Sickels, Beatty, Castillo), 2:05.57.
400 meters (79 entries) — 18. Downing, 1:08.51; 25. Jami Sickels, 1:10.48; 40. Shepherd, 1:12.96; 46. Hance, 1:14.94; 49. Josie Sickels, 1:15.36; 51. Castillo, 1:16.09.
200 meters (176 entries) — 73. Little, 31.38; 129. Hood, 33.66; 131. J. Drey, 33.93; 154. Thelen, 35.50; 165. Schuler, 36.25.
800 meters (88 entries) — 40. Beatty, 2:55.23; 55. Hance, 3:02.0; 56. A. Drey, 3:02.31; 64. Callahan, 3:05.91; 71. Haley, 3:12.63.