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COLUMBIA CITY — It’s mid March and spring high school sports are getting underway across Indiana with several track and field teams debuting this week.
However, a home opener for the Columbia City Lady Eagles squad had the feeling of May with 60-degree weather and personal best marks being surpassed.
The Lady Eagles come off a sectional championship last season with much of the same team back.
A near school record performance in the high jump by Carlee Hearld helped Columbia City set the bar high to open the season beating a strong Warsaw team 68-64.
“Unbelievable,” Columbia City head coach Bob Fahl said. “Who would have ever dreamed. We had a nice night, great kids and just competed Saturday.
“Quality win for us.”
Personal bests fell for some of Columbia City top performers of the night.
Following up a strong freshman season, Carlee Hearld came into the season fifth at the indoor state finals Saturday. Her jump of 5-feet, 2-inches over the weekend was topped Monday with her new personal best of 5-5.
Hearld fills the void of state finalist Kinsey Kauffman, who graduated, and topped her personal best from last season by two inches.
The Lady Eagle high jumper’s performance even surprised her own expectations this early in the season.
“I’m just surprised at myself right now,” Hearld said. “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I was hoping to get what I did Saturday.
“Tried for the record but hopefully it will be there next time.”
The school record of 5-7 1/4 was within sight for Hearld. Attempts at a new record of 5-7 1/2 fell short for the sophomore.
Senior Corinna Raypole wasn’t new on the radar when it came to the hurdle events.
Huntington North sectional champion in both the 100 and 300-meter hurdles staked her claim to repeating this season posting personal best times for wins in each event.
Raypole posted 49.65 in the 300 hurdles while setting a new mark of 15.7 earlier in the meet for the 100 hurdles.
“Corinna set PRs in both hurdles,” Fahl noted. “She did outstanding. She’s starting off the season really well.”
Sophomore Megan Deutsch didn’t have personal best but stole the show when it came to wins for Columbia City.
A sectional champion herself, Deutsch picked back up where she left off in a strong end to the 2010 season.
Deutsch took both the 100 and 200 dash race without much trouble. Her times of 12.9 in the 100 and 26.7 for the 200 were far and away ahead of the pack.
“She made it look easy in the sprints,” Fahl commented of Deutsch. “Then she goes 8-6 in the pole vault. Just incredible.”
Deutsch’s third win came in the pole vault where she had only vaulted twice before Monday night.
Columbia City took wins in four out of five field events.
Brianna Whitehead threw 100-3 for her win in the discus.
Freshman Kalisha Goree began a promising career as a Lady Eagle winning the long jump at 15-4.
Goree followed the win up with running in back-to-back races in the 100 dash and 100 hurdles. Goree took second in the 100 hurdles (16.4) while placing third in the 100 dash (13.5).
The win opened up a four-meet homestand to start the season for the Lady Eagles.
The next two of those will come before spring break with Concordia and Fort Wayne South Side coming to town Thursday.