|Fri, Aug 01, 2014 10:34 PM
June 11, 2014 | 09:09 AM
It was a bittersweet day for Floyd Central's Rachel Kavgazoff and the entire Lady Highlanders track team Friday afternoon as the senior put herself on the podium in the pole vault but suffered a knee injury that kept her from continuing the competition. Meanwhile, Corydon Central's Sidney Capelle met her goal of finishing in the top 15 in the 300-meter hurdles, and the Lady Panthers' 1,600 relay team was just glad to be running in the final track event of the season.
In the 300 hurdles, Corydon Central's Capelle had a goal of making the top 15. It was the Lady Panther sophomore's first trip to the state finals as either a spectator or competitor.
Corydon Central senior Jordan Dagenhart takes the baton from sophomore Sidney Capelle to start the anchor leg of the 1,600-meter relay at the girls' state track final. Photo by Wade Bell
"I was so nervous," Capelle said.
The sophomore ran the second heat of the event and also in lane two, allowing her to see the competition in front of her. Capelle said that combination helped settle the butterflies.
"I think it kind of helped, because I could see everyone and I knew how much speed I needed to gain to catch up," she said.
Capelle finished fourth in her heat with a time of 46.19 seconds, good enough to put the sophomore inside her goal of top 15 with a 13th-place finish.
"Since I was in the first few lanes, I knew I had to give it a good kick-start over there at the turn," Capelle said. "I tried, but I ran out. ... My knee started hurting after the hundred start. I kind of died from there."
Capelle said she would learn from her first state finals and use it as incentive to return.
"I'll just use it as a learning experience, to build on to that," she said. "At least I've got my first one under my belt. I think it was a good experience. I liked it. I'll definitely try hard to come back."
Corydon Central's 1,600 relay team's regional time of 4:07.88 ranked the Lady Panthers at the bottom of the list of 27 teams going into the event. Corydon Central senior Kaitlin Salomon said the squad set a goal before the race of not finishing in that same position.
"We talked about the splits we wanted to run and trying to get our best split," Salomon said of a team meeting with coach Meghan Bussabarger, a state finals veteran. "We wanted to PR, which we didn't. We ran a 4:07 at regionals, but, really, we didn't want to come in last. We were seeded 27th, so basically our goal was not to get 27th, and we did that."
Keeley Martin ran the first leg followed by Salomon. Capelle came back from her hurdles race for the third leg, and senior Jordan Dagenhart finished the race as anchor. The squad ran a second slower than its regional time, finishing the state finals in 4:08.4, good enough for 25th of the 27 teams. Salomon said it was a good way to finish off what had been a great season.
"When the new coaches came in, it was really nice, because they were so supportive," Salomon said. "They really pushed us, and we got so much better. I never could have imagined that we would have been at state at a running event like this and we did, so I'm really happy about that."
"Sidney has PRed three times this year, and she's only going to get better," Salomon added. "She has two more years to be with those coaches. It feels awesome. I've never made it to state before so it was a great way to end my senior year, going out and going to state and going with a group of girls that I couldn't love them more. I've been close the past two years in long jump, but it never really panned out. So, I'm really happy that we made it."
Kavgazoff stayed clean in her vaults through 11 feet, 3 inches with no misses. At 11-6, the Floyd Central senior missed on her first attempt but cleared the bar on her second try. The bar then went up to 11-9 with 10 competitors still in the field. Kavgazoff needed all three tries before clearing the bar on her final attempt.
"I've never seen a field of 10 people at 11-9 and keep going," Floyd Central girls' track coach Kyle Weglieb said. "That's just unreal. So, it's a very good field."
"That was kind of nerve-wracking (at 11-9), but I just had to get the right pole and get it down right," Kavgazoff said. "After that, it was a breeze."
The breeze was more like a hurricane as Kavgazoff stormed over the bar at 12 feet on her first attempt, a height the senior has set as a goal through her career. Kavgazoff then added some gravy when she cleared the bar at 12-3 on her second attempt, moving her into the top five.
"After she got that 11-9, she flipped a switch and then, 'Let's have some fun right now. I'm All-State. Let's go', " Weglieb said. "Then, 12 foot and 12-3, and I thought, 'She might have a chance to win this thing'. "
"She really rocked back and she put her elbow where she needed to be," vaulting coach Mitch Moutoux said. "She trained so long and something fits together like clockwork. Then, you can hit it and hit it again so you know how it feels. She just kept running with it. It was incredibly impressive. She was overwhelmed. She was so happy. We all were just ecstatic."
"I just gave it my all, getting what I wanted," Kavgazoff said. "My whole high school career, that's all I ever wanted."
Then came disaster on her first attempt at 12-6. Kavgazoff came up short of the bar and landed on the mat with both feet. The Floyd Central senior collapsed on the mat with pain in her left knee. After about 15 minutes of being treated by medical officials, Kavgazoff was carried to the medical tent for further evaluation.
"I think it was how she came down and her knee locked," Weglieb said. "It locked and probably collapsed. I don't know how severe it is, but it's very unfortunate. She's worked so hard to get here. We're proud of her."
"She just came down on both feet, and a lot of times, when you're coming down from that high in the air, it's something you want to try to avoid but can't always," Moutoux said. "It happens a lot in pole vaulting, so it's unfortunate. She did very well today, so we're just trying to focus on the positive for her, a double PR, school record. She's going home with a medal."
"I just felt it snap and then I couldn't straighten it by myself," Kavgazoff said. "They said maybe I tore my ACL and MCL."
The injury did not keep the senior from getting on the podium to receive her medal, being carried to the awards ceremony with an air splint on her leg.
"We always preach you want to perform above your level," Weglieb said. "Rachel competes at a high level. ... She definitely got everything out what she was capable of doing."
The Floyd Central 3,200-meter relay team of Madison Barney, Gabrielle Rodriguez, Melanie Combs and Jamie Bierman ended its season with a 17th-place finish in the event, registering a time of 9:50.59. In the 400-meter dash, Providence's Charmaine Solis finished 17th at 59.12 seconds with Southridge's Aubrey Main 20th at 59.44.
Borden's Casey Carson finished 13th in the discus with a distance of 129-5. Northeast Dubois senior Kateland Bailey struggled in the pole vault, missing the open height of 10-3.