BLOOMINGTON -- The IHSAA Track and Field State Finals are a place of victory and a place of heartbreak. For the three Putnam County athletes at Friday's girls' track finals, there was a bit of both.
Gannaway's third throw was the county's highlight of the meet. Coming in with a seed throw of 39-5.75, the junior could not break 39 for her first two throws. That was when GHS throwing coach Bob Whitlow had a talk with her.
"She responded well. On her last throw, we had a little chat. She wasn't getting across, exploding, and I said, 'It's time to go. We're done fooling around here.' And she did," Whitlow said.
She did, indeed. As soon as the attempt landed, the Greencastle crowd cheered loudly and Gannaway exited the back of the ring obviously happy.
Not only had she thrown her best attempt of the year, she also shattered the old GHS record of 39-10.5. With the throw, Gannaway got her second major goal of the year.
"I had two goals. One was to get here and also to get the school record, which I got, and I'm really excited about that," Gannaway said. "I love having Krista Ness, the girl who had the record before me, here watching and cheering."
As for Gannaway coming through on a big stage and in her final throw, Whitlow was not surprised. He's seen it before.
"She did the same thing at regional, she had her best throw on her last throw and finished second. She's becoming a money thrower; that's hard to do," Whitlow said.
The one downside to Gannaway's day was that the top 10 finishers went on to the finals, a place she missed by just 0.25 inches. Coach Garry Anderson said now Gannaway has more to aim for.
"She knows now what it's going to take. It's not going to be new. There'll be a target on her back," Anderson said. "Caitlin has to really buckle down now."
Gannaway was confident she will not disappoint.
"Next year, I'll be out there throwing in finals, getting a medal," she said.
For Cloverdale's Koosman, her day had less to do with her placing and more to do with improving on past performance.
"We're definitely very proud of her. One of her goals coming in was to clear opening height. She did that, so we're really proud of her for that," Clover coach Kristin Crabtree said.
"I felt good about clearing the opening height," Koosman said. "That was mainly my goal because I didn't get over it sophomore year. It was fun."
Koosman's high jump appearance, along with Raine Young's long jump at today's boys' meet, concludes a season Crabtree sees as a building point for CHS track.
"Not since I've been coaching have we had a girl and a boy come the same year, so that's pretty exciting for us," Crabtree said. "I think it's going to be good for our program for these kids to see that you can get somewhere with track."
Appearing in her third straight state finals, Weatherford had a disappointing evening. Her 12th-place performance in the 200 was a nice improvement on her 20th seed.
But she came in seeded in a tie for fifth, but ran more than a second slower than her seed to finish 16th.
Anderson certainly saw a mixed batch in his girls' performances.
"We anticipated doing quite well. When you get up here to state finals, you always want to do your very best," Anderson said.
"And I think the girls tried very hard and I was very pleased with the outcome we got," he added. "We had Laura in two events. It's hard to get girls in even one event, let alone two. Caitlin got a personal record and a school record."
Looking a Weatherford's day, the coach felt bad for his senior, but he also reflected on a great career.
"Laura fell a bit short, but, by golly, she's had four great years," Anderson said. "She's done fantastic. I feel sorry for Laura. I wanted her to walk out of here as a school record holder, at least, in the 400 and it just didn't happen."
Weatherford has appeared in five state finals events over the last three years. She appeared in the 400 relay twice, in the 200 twice and in the 400 once.
A visibly upset Weatherford also tried to reflect on her career after the 400. While she was disappointed at that moment, she also knew she has accomplished much.
"I'm happy to be here, and it was an accomplishment. I did run times that I like, although I wanted to keep getting lower. I did my best, but sometimes you just don't have it," Weatherford said.
"I wish I went off on a better note, but I worked hard to get there. I'm pretty happy, overall," she said.
But for Gannaway and her GHS teammates, next year is approaching already. Anderson will look for leadership from her as she approaches her senior year.
"Now Laura's going to hand the baton over to Caitlin and the rest of the team and see what they can do next year," he concluded.
At Indiana University
IHSAA Girls' Track State Finals
200 -- 1. Candyce McGrone (Warren Central) 24.18, 2. Hannah Farley (Park Tudor) 25.02, 3. Erica Campbell (Pike) 25.46.
12. Laura Weatherford (Greencastle) 26.19.
400 -- 1. Hannah Farley (Park Tudor) 54.31, 2. Devin Gosberry (Munster) 55.39, 3. Elese Daniel (South Bend Clay) 56.05.
16. Laura Weatherfod (Greencastle) 58.85.
High jump -- 1. Ellie Tidman (Batesville) 5-9.5, 2. Tiffany Fisher (Westview) 5-6, 3. Megan Shubert (Northwestern) J5-6.
17 (tie) -- Ashley Koosman (Cloverdale) 5-2.
Shot put -- 1. Felisha Johnson (Lawrence North) 47-6.25, 2. Kyla Buckley (North Central Indianapolis) 47-3.5, 3. Meghan Kessler (Crown Point) 45-5.75.
11. Caitlin Gannaway (Greencastle) 41-1.75.