In her varsity track and field debut Faith Allen didn’t disappoint.
The Southmont sophomore took a pair of successful cross country seasons and replicated the same winning mentality on the track this spring.
Allen, a natural distance runner, swept four individual events at the county meet, was a Sagamore Conference champion and an IHSAA Regional qualifier.
She is the 2021 Journal Review Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
In the fall Allen, who was a standout cross country runner as a freshman, stepped up even more and budded into a star. Winning races, including the county meet, an all-conference finish at the SAC meet and qualified for the semi-state. And this spring she had no trouble carrying the success onto the track after missing her freshman season due to COVID-19.
“It was unfortunate that Faith had to miss her freshman season,” Southmont coach Desson Hannum said. “As a sophomore this season, she was able to capitalize on a great cross country season with even more success in track. I believe the success during cross country gave her confidence going into track this season.”
Allen said the biggest adjustment from cross country to track came in the new distances in races, running on an asphalt track, and preserving energy between races — but that all came through quickly.
“Running three or four events each meet wasn’t super difficult just because I have a lot of endurance built up from practices and cross country,” Allen said. “It became more difficult toward the end of the season where I had to push harder each race if I wanted to win because I was running against better competition in bigger meets.”
Allen settled into the high jump, 800, 1600, and 3200 meter runs. A load that can be difficult at times, but she rarely missed a step from one event to the next.
“I think Faith is very consistent,” Hannum said. “You know what you are going to get meet in and meet out. For her, she trains to be able to run multiple events throughout the season, so it is not a big shock to her system when she runs multiple events in one meet. I think she also knows when she can conserve energy in a race, but she also knows when she will have to run at a faster pace.”
The Montgomery County meet was total dominance by the Mountie.
Allen won the high jump with a mark of 4-feet-6-inches, the 800 in 2:42.3, the mile in 5:58.23 and the two mile in 12:33.29.
She also took home the win in the mile at the Sagamore Conference meet with a time of 5:36.03 and was second in the two mile in 11:40.1. Her time of 11:42.94 was good enough for third at the IHSAA Sectional, to advance to the regional round.
“Overall, I was pretty satisfied with this season,” Allen said. “I placed well in most of my meets and I made it out of sectionals, which was a big goal for me. I didn’t drop as much time as I would have liked in either of my events but otherwise I feel like I did really well. Next year, I hope to make it to state in at least one event, as well as taking home more than one conference title and maybe a sectional title.”
Allen’s junior track season will come, but cross country season is just a few weeks ago, and she’s ready to take her running career to the next level.
“I think that this spring helped build some confidence going into cross country,” she said. “There were a few girls I had not beat before that I was able to beat in track. Now that I have beat them once, I am more confident that I will be able to at least level the playing field in cross country, and hopefully beat them again. It also gives me a good base that I can carry through the summer into cross country season, by just maintaining and building up my endurance and speed. And as always, each season, each race, gives me more experience for the next. I didn’t run very well at regional in track but now that I have been there once I have that experience so that I will be better prepared next year.”
The state goal dangles out there for both cross country and track — but it’s one easily within reach over the final two years of Allen’s career.
“Faith knows she can compete at a high level in both track and cross country,” Hannum said. “but she also understands what it is going to take to reach her goals at the state level. I believe the success this season, will drive her to continue to improve for next season.”