SPRING FLING: Warren’s Beneke Wins High Jump Title; 4 Lady Cavs Make Podium

by Rusty Ellis

Coverage of the Spring Fling is presented by Steel Technologies

Warren County’s Ally Beneke headlined another successful day for Upper Cumberland track and field athletes, as she won the Class AAA Girls High Jump State Championship.

Beneke won with a personal record jump of 5-8, as she says she’s proud to be bringing home another title to Warren County.

“It feels good, it was pretty nerve-racking,” Beneke said. “All the girls were jumping 5-6, they just kept clearing it…it was a really fun environment, all of the girls were really nice and I thank God because I’ve really been praying for it.”

It was also a good day for the Cookeville Lady Cavs track and field team as well, as all four of their participants made the podium. Sarah Smith led the way with a second-place finish in the Girls Pole Vault, with a personal record of 10-6.

Cassie Gallagher and Cheri Savage each took home seventh place in Shot Put and Discus, respectively, as Gallagher winds down a successful career in her time at Cookeville High School.

“It feels great, I started eight weeks ago so I didn’t expect to be here,” Gallagher said. “It’s been a lot of fun, it’s very different from any of the sports I’ve played because you just compete with yourself…I had a couple people tell me that I’d probably be good at it, so I thought I’d give it a try.”

Savage says she enjoyed having a teammate there to compete with, though she did say that added a few nerves.

“It’s very nerve-racking, especially competing with my own teammate,” Savage said. “It’s really great, because it’s like I have a teammate to support me, but also to be my rival.”

Katie Hetzel rounded out the day with a sixth-place finish in the Girls 3200m run, a good finish for the sophomore’s first appearance at State.

“It’s been amazing, I’ve loved it so much,” Hetzel said. “Now getting a medal, it feels like all my hard work has paid off…all the days I just didn’t want to go outside because it was too cold or too wet, it’s amazing now.”

Mason Nelson also took part in the State Meet, as he finished in 15th place in the Boys Pole Vault with a personal record of 10-6.