Girls Track & Field State Finals

Byard ties for 18th at State Finals


BLOOMINGTON — Crawfordsville junior Na’arah Byard was one of the 27 individuals who got to compete in the long jump at the IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals in Bloomington on Friday afternoon. Just by stepping onto the track, Byard was making a little history for the Athenians. She was the first state finalist since 2010 and the first female state finalist since 2006 for CHS. While it wasn’t the outcome the she wanted as the junior tied for 18th with a distance of 16 ft 8 1/4 in, it was still a great learning experience as Byard was one of the top long jumpers in the state.

“She now has the experience and knows what this environment is like and the competition is like,” Crawfordsville coach Amanda Elizondo said. “I told her that we were all still very proud of her and that she shouldn’t be hanging her head. There’s nothing to be ashamed of for her and I hope the she brings this experience back next year.”

Byard did improve on all three of her first round jumps. She was also the second jumper of the very first flight so there was very little down time to watch and get acclimated with the environment.

Another positive for Byard was not that many individuals improved off of their seed jumps. If Byard would have broken the school record that she set earlier this year of 17ft 101/2 in, she would’ve placed on the podium in eighth place.

“It’s normal to feel a little frustrated because she’s a competitor,” Elizondo added. “The great thing about her is that she’s a junior and she gets the chance to come back here net year and have an even better showing. The hope and goal is she gets to bring a few of her teammate along with her.”

Byard’s appearance at the State Finals puts a very nice bow on top of what’s been a great season for the Crawfordsville girls program. Whether it was breaking school records, dominating at the county meet, finishing second at the Sagamore Conference meet and sending a record seven girls to the Regional, it was a year to remember for the Athenian girls team. The best part of it all is that they will bring back nearly every single one of those girls for next season. Elizondo took a moment to reflect on the overall season that her girls team had.

“We’re already excited about next year,” she said. “Us coaches have been talking already about who we might move around and put in some spots. This year was so much fun with all of these girls and when you have most of them coming back it’s hard to not think about what we could do next year. We had a great showing at the sectional and look forward to having more of those girls join Na’arah here next year at the state meet.”

Byard concludes her junior season with school records in the long jump and 100 meter dash. It was a great season for the blazing fast, energetic junior who looks forward to having even more success her senior season.