Pats Beat Field of 41 Schools
The Pinecrest girls didn't compete in last weekend's Durham Striders Invitational indoor track meet thinking about winning a team title. But after learning they finished in first place, one point in front of defending 4A state outdoor champion Southeast Raleigh, they were feeling pretty good about it.
Senior Lexie Schustrom won the 3,200-meter run and was third in the 1,600 for the Patriots. Freshman Hannah Hensley won the high jump with a school record-tying effort of 5-foot-6 and came in third in the long jump.
The 3,200-meter relay team made up of Ashley Brock, Haley Germain, Jennie Cunningham and Schustrom earned points with a third-place finish.
"I think it was more of a big deal just because none of us were really expecting it, so it was a surprise," Schustrom said before a workout on Tuesday of the team championship. "It's just exciting that we're not going to be playing catch-up for the outdoor season. We're already becoming strong in our relay events and becoming strong in our individual events, which is really promising."
The two-day meet with a large field was held at Eddie Smith Field House on the campus of UNC, also the site of the 2010 state indoor championships on Feb. 13. A meet at Union Pines on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. and one a week a later at Pinecrest will provide area athletes who have not met qualifying marks for the state event two more opportunities.
Schustrom in the 3,200 and Hensley in the high jump have posted the best results in the state since indoor qualifying began with indoor and outdoor competitions in December. Schustrom's time of 10:59 on a cold Saturday in December broke her own school record. Hensley's 5-6 high jump tied the Patriot record set by Shaneika McRae in 2008.
The Patriot 3,200-meter relay quartet also has an eye on the school record of 9:46.7 set in 2007 by Lauren Bishop, Amanda McKinney, Jacklyn McElligott and Schustrom after posting a 10:10 on Saturday. Germain dropped seven seconds and Cunningham six from their previous best 800 legs at UNC.
"We're trying to get each of our times down to about 2:30," Germain said. "We really want to do that so we can all break the record. I'm pretty sure we can do it."
Pinecrest athletes who have qualified for the state indoor championships include Schustrom (1,000, 1,600, 3,200), Hensley (300, high jump, long jump, triple jump), Brock (1,600), Germain (1,000) and Cunningham (1,000), and the 3,200- and 1,600-meter relay teams.
Other Patriot girls who competed in the Durham Striders meet who have come close to achieving the qualifying standards are Sarah Pressley (1,600), Courtney Rainey (500) and Ceci Weibert (pole vault).
"They're excited that they can see some progress," Pinecrest coach John Buchholz said of his team. "If they can pick up a point or two here and there, they can win a state indoor championship."
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