Expectations were high at the beginning of the season for the Zionsville girls’ track and field team.
“Knowing that we had three strong seniors and several juniors coming back, I knew with these upperclassmen, that it was going to be a very strong season,” Zionsville coach Liz Sackers said.
And she was not disappointed. The Eagles season produced several highlights throughout the season, including champion of the 10-team Zionsville Invitational meet and trip to the state meet for senior Mariah Davis in three events; the long jump, the 200 dash and anchor of the 4x100 relay with juniors Keila Bouwkamp and Kristen Duffey and sophomore Keegan Kollias.
“I was extremely pleased with the season, not only having Mariah going to state, but having our 4x100 relay team going to the state meet,” Sackers said. “It’s the first time as far back as I could even find in the record books that a 4x100 relay team from Zionsville qualified for the state meet.
“I told them (4x100 relay team) from the very first meet they would be going to state and we were able to accomplish that this year, that is something I am very proud of and proud of the girls.”
The Eagles finished the season with a meet record of 14-1-1; finished sixth in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference meet, fifth at sectionals and ninth in the regional.
Several school records fell in the spring as well.
Davis set new school records in both the long jump (indoor and outdoor) and the 200 dash (indoor), Bouwcamp set the new record for the 400 (indoor), junior Julie Coval set the new record for the 60 hurdles (indoor) and freshman Cally Sampson set the new outdoor record in the 1600.
“Just an incredible time for a freshman and I have a feeling putting it on the record board would be too soon,” Sackers said of Sampson’s breakout this season. “Because she’s probably going to break her record a few times over in the next three years.”
The Eagles will only lose three seniors to graduation, including Davis (who will continue her career on scholarship at Vincennes University), Randi Ulmer and Jessica Banks.
The Eagles return a solid core of juniors Coval, Laura McLaughlin and Christina Ebenroth (hurdlers), Bouwkamp, Duffey, Stephanie Kuznetsov, Emily Peters and MacKenzie Sinclair (sprinters), Suzie Hoops, Courtney Sampson, Lauren Munley and Cristina Guerra (distance), Alisa Stachler, Becca Sheehan and Sarah Wilson (field events).
Sophomore athletes expecting to be relied upon more next season will be Kollias and Maddie Mann, distance runner Becca Uebele and field event participant, Carlie Vannatta; and sophomore hurdlers Erin Stuff and Courtney Geitl, sprinter Aleni Zarvos, distance runners Sampson and Sydney Meyers and field event participants, Paige Harder and Emma Bleakman.
With several underclassmen returning, the outlook for the Eagles is very bright.
“We have very little turnover on our team. That is a great reflection on the coaches, being able to keep them on the team all four years and to mold them into great track and cross country runners” Sackers said. “We have three strong sprinters returning (Bouwkamp, Kollias, Duffey). Those three girls are going to make up a lot of ground after losing Mariah (Davis), and I know that they are going to help pick up points.
“I am already really excited about next year.”