FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Northrop’s girls track & field team returns to to the state finals this weekend with confidence, consistency and dominance that dates back over a decade.
The Lady Bruins captured their 11th straight Summit Athletic Conference championship, 10th straight sectional title and 10th straight regional title this postseason. Now, they look are looking for a podium finish Friday night in Bloomington.
“Each year brings on new challenges,” head coach Terry Milton says. “It really seemed it took half of the season or three-quarters of the season to really come around and buy in our team concept.”
Northrop is led by its thowers, Milton says. Purdue University recruit Alicia Tiney-Williams is the No. 1 seed statewide in the shotput. Her 47 feet, ½ inch regional championship throw not only broke the meet record, but pushed her to the best mark in the state this year. Junior Markalah won the discus at regionals (126 feet, 4 inches), was runner-up in the shotput to Tiney-Williams.
Sprinting and hurdling will, as usual, could go a long way for Northrop’s attempt to get on the medal stand. At regionals, Aniya Harvin won the 100-meter dash and Dylan Kirkwood won the 300-meter hurdles. Harvin and Kirkwood joined Jo’Deci Irby and Aliyah Jones on the winning 4x100-meter relay team.
“They’re like my sisters I’ve never had,” Barnes says. “We’re a team. We go hard and we hustle. And that’s our success.”
With victory comes experience, too. All 6 girls who will represent Northrop competed at the state finals a year ago.
“I’m just as excited to go down this year as I was last year,” Kirkwood says. “Going out there and knowing I can do it. I made it this far. One last race.”
In track & field, individual scores go a long way in determining overall team success. In his 19 seasons at Northrop, Milton has worked to build a program that develops young athletes to counter yearly turnover.
“We have a system and very high standards,” Milton adds. “We don’t compromise on those standards. ”We’re developing our girls to the point they have options. If they want to compete at the next level then they’re definitely prepared for it.
The IHSAA Girls Track & Field State Championships begin at 3 p.m. Friday at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex at IU. A webstream of the event is available here.
Northrop is one of 25 high schools that partners with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training and other medical services for its student-athletes.