The Noblesville High School girls track and field team made program history June 3 in Bloomington.
The Millers finished second in the IHSAA state finals with 40 points, the highest finish and most points the girls have ever achieved. The program’s previous highs were sixth place and 23 points in 2014. North Central won with 55 points.
“I know it sounds strange to say this, we had a slightly above average day,” Millers coach James Pearce said. “We had other meets this season with stronger sets of performances. One thing that gets lost in all of what we do is the age of our team. We had 71 kids total, varsity and JV, this year. Only six were seniors and 11 were juniors. Fifty-four were sophomores and freshmen. We have some absolutely incredible athletes on this team but being young and competing against older competition is tough to do consistently for young people.
“I always tried to set each of our meet lineups in ways that allowed athletes to develop their skills and still allow us to win.”
Pearce said last year the team had an outside chance to make top three in at the state meet.
“But we were very young, and nerves got us,” said Pearce, who is in his second year as head girls track coach. “It wasn’t our turn yet. We used last year’s experiences to help us this year. In terms of scoring, I like to look at it as trying to score a particular number of points average per event. We were in 12 events and my plan and hope was to average five per to put us at 60. I thought the winning team would need at least 50 points.
“One goal we’ll set next year is to see if we can qualify at least one athlete in all 16 events. We’ll have some other goals, too, but those are ones we can discuss next year in the spring.”
Senior Kiana Siefert finished second in the 300-meter hurdles, fourth in the long jump and anchored the Millers’ fifth-place 1,600 relay team.
“Until the 2021 season, Kiana had only hurdled 100-meter hurdles,” Pearce said. “She’d never tried 300-meter hurdles. I had a feeling that with her athleticism and speed, she could be a challenger for the state championship in 300-meter hurdles.”
After she was convinced, it was just a matter of getting her the speed work to get ready.
“Her experience gives her an advantage because her hurdling technique is so good,” Pearce said. “At most in the past two years, we’ve only worked over hurdles once per week. She also plays club soccer, so we’ve always tried to balance the total workload. Last year at state, she didn’t really work the curve as hard as she should and that kept her from the front. We knew Reese Sanders of Cathedral would be the challenge, so this year she went out faster, built up a bit more in the curve.
“Her final three hurdles are always so good because her technique helps when she’s tired and she just plain hates to lose.”
Siefert, who won two state titles as a member of the Millers soccer team, will compete in soccer and track and field at Taylor University.
Noblesville sophomore Summer Rempe, freshman Brinkley Cooper, freshman Riley Flynn and junior Paige Hazelrigg finished third in the 3,200 relay.
“We ran a time that was only four seconds off our school record of 9:05.78 set by the 2016 team that won the championship in (the 3,200 relay) that year,” Pearce said.
Rempe placed seventh in the 800-meter run.
Other top finishers for Noblesville were sophomore Hannah Alexander, fifth in discus; junior Malina Miller, sixth in high jump; and junior Laina Lillge, ninth in pole vault.