The annual Big Four meet for high school track and field started 1 hour and 20 minutes later than scheduled because of steady showers in the late afternoon Thursday at Terre Haute North’s Carl S. Riddle Stadium.
When the action finally concluded under dark skies Thursday night, the team results showed Terre Haute South’s boys and girls emerging first over the runner-up Patriots.
The girls’ margin was close after North freshman Cali Wuesterfeld won the long jump and pole vault, but South held on — largely behind three individual triumphs and a relay win anchored by junior Courtney Jones — to win 76-71.5.
Jones placed first in the 100 meters and both hurdles and helped considerably with the 400-meter relay.
Another double winner for the Patriots’ girls was senior Tyresha Clark in the shot put and discus.
"On paper, we seeded out to be a slight favorite," South girls coach Josh Lee told the Tribune-Star afterward. "The girls stayed focused through a weather delay, then came back outside and competed very hard.
"A handful of season bests scattered all over the track and in the field allowed us to win the Big Four for the sixth time in a row [not competed in 2019 and 2020]. Hopefully, this is a promising indication of what will happen the next time we come to North to compete. Past meets and seed times don’t matter when it comes to the postseason, though.
"I’m excited to see how the girls attack the next week and a half of training as the sectional approaches. A good mix of youth and experience makes this a very fun team to coach. I’m proud of all our efforts this evening."
Boys double winners were West Vigo sophomore Eli Roach in the 100 and 200 and South senior Brayden Bender in the 110 hurdles and long jump. Roach also helped the Vikings take the 400 relay and Bender helped the Braves take the 1,600 relay.
Team-wise, South outpointed North 96-70.
In the boys 3,200 relay, there was a baton drop on the exchange between South’s first and second legs. But the Braves still jumped into the lead until the last lap when North’s Patrick O’Connor passed Cael Light to win by slightly more than one second.
Later, Light won the 800.
"I was excited to see the boys continue to compete hard in their home town," South boys coach Jon Lee said. "We try to come in and compete hard but also have our eyes focused to two weeks from now when we return for the sectional.
"We were helped out in scoring from big days by event winners Nick Bement, Brayden Bender, Cael Light, Trenton Tuberosa and the 4x400 relay of Bement, Eric Haworth, Light and Bender.
"Those guys were helped by a core of second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes from our other upperclassmen. Our youth on the team certainly have some great role models that they have gotten to learn and grow with this year and that experience will pay off for them as they come back next year."