By GREG MENGELT
Alyssa Moore won four events and the Floyd Central girls’ track and field team won the two-day Jeffersonville Inferno.
“We’re happy, but we’re definitely not satisfied,” Moore said. “It’s a solid start, but we still have a lot of work to do. It’s a great starting point for everybody, but we’re all hungry to get better. We’re not at the top of our game yet, but it’s still early and there’s time.”
Floyd coach Kyle Weigleb saw a lot that he liked.
“We’re going in the right direction,” he said. “Our goal is to peak at sectional and regional.”
The Highlanders held off defending champion New Albany by 22 points, thanks largely to Moore’s performance.
The senior won the 800-meter run by nearly eight seconds over Jeffersonville’s Taylor Hines and anchored the winning 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay, and the distance relay.
“I came in expecting to put in a good, hard effort and to leave in a lot of pain — in a good way,” Moore said.
“I thought Alyssa Moore did an unbelievable job,” Weigleb said. “If they would have handed out an MVP, she got it.”
Madison Barney won the 1,600 and Rachael Kavgazoff cleared 10-feet, 6-inches to win the pole vault.
The Highlanders also proved to have the most depth at the meet.
“We got a lot of good performances from several people,” Weigleb said.
New Albany was inhibited in its effort to repeat with senior star Phoebe Bauer, who won four events at the Inferno a year ago, still out with an injury.
“I wish she was here,” Moore said. “I love those [New Albany] girls. We’re supposed to be rivals, but we’re really allies. We all cheer for each other.”
New Albany scored a ton of points in the sprints with Jayla Bethel, Courtney Palmer and Aaliyah Bell all scoring in the 100 and Bethel and Bell take third and fifth, respectively, in the 200.
Bell, Bethel, Lauren Kessinger and Blake Mayfield also combined to win the 400 relay.
The host Red Devils finished third behind the performances of freshman Hailey Lacy and sophomore Chelsea Lewis.
“We always want to win, but our goal was really to finish in the top three,” Jeff coach Ericka Herd said. “We achieved that goal.”
Lacy won the long jump and was runner-up in the 400. She also finished eighth in the 200 and was a member of the Devils’ second-place 1,600 relay.
“She had a phenomenal weekend,” Herd said of Lacy. She scored a lot of vital points. Not a lot of freshmen do that.”
Henryville’s Sadie Spears continued her rise among area distance runners. The junior pulled away from Floyd freshman Lydia Kotowski — the News and Tribune Cross County Runner of the Year — on the final two laps to win the 3,200 in 12:29.
“It’s always good to come in first,” Spears said. “My time was disappointing, but [Coach Jason Conrad] said it was all right. My time’s improved a lot already [from last year].”
Scottsburg’s Morgan McNeeley swept the sprinting events and Jennings County’s Keri Ertel dominated the hurdle events.
Evansville Harrison repeated as boys’ Inferno champions with 159 1/2 points, well ahead of runner-up Evansville Memorial.
Floyd Central finished third with a pair of wins from thrower Codie Hamsley and by scoring in every event except the long jump.
Hamsley — the state runner-up in the discus a year ago — appeared to be in mid-season form with a throw of 188-1. He also won the shot put with a toss of 51-7.
Jeffersonville finished fourth and senior Tyrell Dowdell stole the show for the Red Devils.
Dowdell easily won the 400, ran a 49.9 split in the 1,600 relay and upset New Albany’s Jermaine Parrish by .12 seconds.
“My day went very good,” Dowdell said. “I’m very excited. I’d like to run the 400 a little faster, but beating Jermaine Parrish was the highlight of my day.”
Parrish is the defending state 100-meter champion and finished second in the 200. Dowdell, who has gone back and forth between sprints and middle distance, now believes he’s found his event in the 200 after beating his rival.
“It gives me a little confidence,” Dowdell said. “But I have to keep working hard on it. There’s a lot of stuff I can get better at. I’m definitely going to try to go to state in the 200.”
“Tyrell can run anything he wants to run and do well at it,” Jeff coach Mark Felix said. “He’s a very special talent. We’ve always known he’s had 200 speed, but he’s never been crazy about running it. Beating Jermaine, I think he realizes now [he’s a state contender]. It will motivate Jermaine, too.”
Chase Scott won the long jump for the Red Devils with a leap of just over 22 feet.
“He’s already jumping better than he did last year,” Felix said of the 2012 state finalist. “He seems a lot more focused.”
Teammate Guy Oliver, who was seventh in the high jump, finished three spots behind Scott.
About an hour after returning from a Spring Break trip to Washington D.C. and New York City, Borden senior Brian Eurton showed up at Jeff to run the 1,600.
After spending 14 hours on a bus overnight, Eurton went out and won the 1,600 in 4:37, over two seconds faster than runner-up Jonah Woods of Jennings.
“The pace went out slow,” Eurton observed. “The last lap I kicked it in and it was actually a pretty fast time. I definitely gained confidence gauging myself against a lot of [the athletes] in the sectional. Borden doesn’t get to run in very many big meets, so it was pretty nice.”