Wiley makes history, Lady Vikes tie for 11th at State Finals

Wiley makes history, Lady Vikes tie for 11th at State Finals
Posted on 06/07/2021
Addison Wiley became the first runner in the history of the IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals to win both the 800 and 1600 meter runs at the same State Finals meetThe Huntington North High School girls track and field program enjoyed a wealth of success at Saturday’s IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, headlined by a pair of state titles for junior Addison Wiley, who claimed the crowns in the 800 and 1600 meter runs.

Wiley’s victories proved to be monumental, as the combination of wins in the 800 and 1600 had never been achieved in the history of the State Finals prior to Wiley’s double dominance on Saturday.

Wiley began her schedule with the 1600, entering the event as the seventh seed. However, that seeding proved to be purely just a number, as the defending state champion was once again crowned as queen of the event after a convincing performance.

Opting to feel out the pace of the race in the event’s early going, Wiley sat in second place behind Delta freshman Nicki Southerland before moving into first place during the third lap. Wiley then called checkmate during the final lap, upping the pace and leaving the pack behind, cruising to the tune of a 62.68-second final 400 meters to stop the clock at 4:45.27, nearly five seconds ahead of Halle Hill of Hamilton Southeastern, who finished second with a time of 4:49.87. Wiley’s winning pace bested her 2019 state championship time of 4:46.93 and was the second-fastest time in the event in the history of the State Finals, less than two seconds off the state meet record time of 4:43.46.

Just over an hour later, Wiley toed the line in the 800, this time holding the No. 1 seed in the event. Wiley again utilized the same strategy, this time sitting in third place after the first lap before making her move and blitzing the field during the final 300 meters, clocking in at 2:08.62 to capture her second title of the day to complete the double and reach previously uncharted territory.

“Making history by winning the 1600 and 800 double has given me confidence, but also help set the standard for me in the future,” Wiley said. “I plan on enjoying this accomplishment for now, but in the long term, I have to think about next year and the fact this will be extremely hard to do again, although it is a goal of mine. I knew I was physically ready for the challenge, and luckily all the other cards fell into place to make it possible.”

Wiley’s victorious time was the third-fastest winning time in the 800 in State Finals history and was nearly five seconds better than her showing at the 2019 State Finals, where she placed seventh with a time of 2:13.26.

Both of Wiley's winning times on Saturday set new personal and school records. Wiley now holds the fourth-fastest 1600 meter time, fifth-fastest 800 meter time and sixth-fastest 3200 meter time in state history for girls track. No other girl has ever ranked in the top 25 all-time in all three events.

Huntington North assistant coach Matt Ditzler noted the main goal for the State Finals was for Wiley to defend her crown in the 1600, and from there, to put Wiley in the best positions to succeed in other events.

“Defending the 1600 meter title was always the No. 1 goal, and then we had to decide on trying to come back in the 800 meters or 3200 meters or try all three,” Ditzler said. “In about mid-April, our 4x400 relay started to emerge, and we decided that the 1600/800/4x400 was the best option for training and staying fresh through the state tournament. The double win was historic, but the magnitude is expanded when you see that she ran the second-fastest 1600 meters and third-fastest 800 meter-winning times ever at the State Finals. Neither race was won easily, and her closing 400s were very likely the fastest ever for either race. We have been planning for this meet since the summer of 2019, so to have it all come together like it did makes it feel good. But, as good as pulling off the double was, I’m most proud of her for the journey she took to get here. She worked really hard and earned this moment in the spotlight.”

The Lady Vikes’ State Finals showing was bookended by a pair of relay events. Freshmen Johanna Bragg, Ella Colclesser and Gracie Fields and senior Hanna Whitney kicked things off in the 4x800 meter relay. The quartet was seeded 17th following their second-place finish at the Marion Regional, but surpassed the seeding by finishing in 15th place with a time of 9:39.59. The time placed fifth in the first of two heats for the event.

Colclesser, Fields, Wiley and junior Regan Slagel capped the meet for Huntington North in the evening’s final event, the 4x400 meter relay. The event offered a chance at redemption for the Lady Vikes and Slagel in particular, as she was part of the Lady Vikes’ 4x400 team in 2019 that missed out on qualifying for the state meet after she rolled her ankle on the rail around the inside of lane 1 in the regional meet, which effectively took Huntington North out of the race after being on track to advance to the State Finals.

This time around, all went as planned at the Marion Regional, as the squad finished second to successfully advance to the State Finals. The group’s regional time gave them the 17th seed on Saturday, placing them in the second of three heats for the event. The Lady Vikes raced to a final time of 4:03.98, good for sixth in the heat and 16th overall in the event. Of note was Wiley’s anchor leg of the relay, as her split of 56.06 seconds was the fourth-fastest 400-meter split at the State Finals across all events.

Freshman Elle McDonald and sophomore Adrianna Nightenhelser served as alternates for the Vikings in the 4x800 and 4x400, respectively, but did not compete.

Huntington North’s 20 team points, all earned by Wiley, was the most in program history at the State Finals and tied the Lady Vikes for 11th place at the meet. The total surpassed the previous school record of 18 points earned at the 1994 State Finals.

“As a team, we did outstanding since seven of the eight members had never been to state to compete,” said Huntington North head coach Brian Milton. “As a group, I think this was a great experience for them now that they have been there and can see their performance as a stepping stone to return next year. I can see how this young team can share their experiences at this meet and encourage other members to reach their goal of going down to the state meet next year and beyond.”

The overall team state championship competition came down to the wire, as Indianapolis Cathedral eked out a victory by the narrowest of margins with 39 points, besting Warren Central by just one point after winning the 4x400.

    Addison Wiley became the first runner in the history of the IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals to win both the 800 and 1600 meter runs at the same State Finals meet
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