FORTVILLE — On the evening of Tuesday, May 11, the New Castle High School girls track & field team traveled to Mt. Vernon (Fortville) High School to compete in the Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet.

The skies were clear, but the air was brisk as there were steady winds from the north and temperatures in the low 50s.

The Trojan girls knew they had to put forth their best efforts of the season to place high against the top-quality competition in the very competitive Hoosier Heritage Conference.

Ultimately, New Castle rose to the occasion with a total team effort, ramping up the intensity and focus, to achieve the Trojan girls’ highest-ever finish in the HHC for girls track & field.

New Castle placed fourth as a team with 82 points, which is the most points the Trojan girls ever have scored since joining the HHC in 2013. This was accomplished by the team peaking at the right time with 11 personal-best or very close to personal-best performances.

New Castle junior Anyssa Hall was conference champion in three events (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and long jump).

Hall was on a mission from the start of the meet. Hall ran solid races in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash trials to convincingly advance to the finals in both events.

Before and after the sprint trials, Hall focused on the long jump. Hall’s leap of 17-1.75 earned her the title of conference champion in the event, dusting the nearest competitor by almost eight inches and just an inch and a quarter off her school record of 17-3.

After the long jump, Hall turned her attention back to the sprints. The 100-meter dash finals was Hall’s next test where, from the starting gun, she made it clear she was in it to win it. Hall edged the 100-meter dash competition by 0.2 seconds to earn her second conference champion title of the evening with a time of 12.76 seconds.

Toward the end of the meet came the 200-meter dash finals where Hall ran a personal best, by more than 0.6 seconds, breaking the tape in 26.78 seconds to secure her third conference champion medal for the night.

Trojan sophomore Ella Garvin scored in all four of her events and was conference runner-up in two events. Garvin started off the meet in the 100-meter hurdle trials by securing the sixth qualifying position to advance to the finals.

In the 100-meter hurdle finals, Garvin did that one better by placing fifth in the event with a personal-best time of 17.63 seconds.

Juggling multiple events, Garvin got her initial jumps completed in the high jump before, during, and after the hurdle trials and finals.

After the 100-meter hurdle finals were complete, Garvin then could focus solely on the high jump bar, advancing higher with each leap.

As the high-jump bar was raised incrementally from 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 3 inches, Garvin cleared the bar on the first attempt seven leaps in a row without a miss. Equaling her personal-best jump of 5 feet 3 inches, Garvin secured second place and conference runner-up honors in the high jump.

Garvin was not done yet, as she had her sights on a conference championship in the 300-meter hurdles. As soon as the starting gun was fired, Garvin attacked the hurdles with precision as her closest competitor was in the lane next to her.

As they rounded the last turn to the final straightaway, it was only Garvin and a Greenfield-Central rival neck-and-neck barreling toward the finish line with each leap over the final hurdles.

Garvin, giving it everything she had, finished with a personal-best time of 47.96 seconds, earning the second-place runner-up spot as the Cougar runner nipped Garvin by just 0.14 seconds for the 300-meter hurdle race win.

Senior Eliza Madden was the lone New Castle representative in the throwing events for the evening. Madden, the only senior on this young Trojan girls track & field team, was competing in her last HHC meet and had something to prove in her last appearance.

Despite steady winds out of the north, Madden threw her personal-best distance in the discus directly into the wind. Madden threw 8.5 inches farther than she had ever thrown before with a toss of 109 feet 7.5 inches, which was good for third place.

Madden followed with a solid performance in the shot put, earning fourth place with a toss of 33-4, which was just two inches off of her personal best.

Sophomore Lydia Harvey started her evening with the 1600-meter run. Harvey ran comfortably in the lead pack for the first three laps of the four-lap race as the pace and intensity increased going into the bell lap.

Rounding the final turn, Harvey secured herself firmly in sixth place and finished with a time of 5:34.84 which was just 3.5 seconds off her personal-best time.

Later in the meet, Harvey entered the eight-lap 3200-meter run with high goals, knowing she had her work cut out for her as the competition was stiff.

In the midst of the lead pack, with still a mile and a half to go, Harvey eclipsed the first 800 meters of the race with the same swift clip as she had run earlier in the shorter 1600 race.

Halfway through the race, Harvey had established herself firmly in third place as the two frontrunners battled for the lead and a pack of three competitors were behind her in pursuit.

As the race entered the last lap, Harvey’s pursuers started to close the gap as Harvey dug deep to respond with her final kick to the finish. Rounding the final turn, Harvey gave it everything she had to keep the pursuers at bay.

At the tape, Harvey had succeeded in holding her position to secure third place and running the 3200-meter distance ten seconds faster than she ever had before with a finishing time of 11:58.56.

Junior Maggie Lewis had an exceptional night in her two events. As the lone pole vaulter for the Trojans, Lewis has been improving all season. Lewis earned fifth place in the pole vault, with a vault six inches higher than any previous performance, clearing the height of 8 feet 6 inches.

In the high jump, Lewis equaled her personal-best height of 4 feet 10 inches to earn a seventh-place ribbon.

In the 800-meter run, freshman Sydney Mathews knew she needed to stay in the midst of the lead pack in order to have any chance of scoring in the two-lap race.

Mathews did just that as she tucked into the tail end of the lead pack after the first turn break-mark as she hung on through the remainder of the first lap.

After the 400-meter mark, the pack surged and Mathews went with them. Rounding the final turn, Mathews surged from eighth place into seventh and held her position to the finish.

Mathews’ seventh-place time of 2:41.00 was almost two seconds faster than she had ever run the 800 before.

Also scoring for the Trojans was the seventh-place 4x400-meter relay squad consisting of Ava Bell, Sydney Mathews, Mireya Guerrero, and Ella Garvin.

Sports editor’s note: This story about the New Castle High School girls track & field team’s performance in the Hoosier Heritage Conference Meet on Tuesday, May 11 has been ready for some time, but the sports pages have lacked adequate space to run it in its entirety until today. Here it is.