Becker joins Phipps, Taylor in 100 hurdles at Drake
Both Kelsi Phipps and Leslie Taylor have qualified for the Drake Relays in the 100-meter hurdles — but even more remarkably, for the second year in a row, they’re not the only Panthers who have.
You can’t talk about Mt. Pleasant hurdles without mentioning Hannah Becker.
Becker, a junior, has been part of the state-winning shuttle hurdle team the last two years, and would be another big scoring threat in the 100 hurdles at each meet — if it was allowed. Most meets, however, limit schools to just two entries in each individual event.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Becker from making her mark on the state leaderboard and qualifying for Drake. This year, she is fourth in Class 3A and 16th in the state with her 100-meter hurdle time of 15.84 — a time she ran in a Class B race for the Mt. Pleasant JV team.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have those three,” Hutchcroft said.
Most coaches would be happy to have one Drake qualifier competing in the 100 hurdles and running a leg of the shuttle. Hutchcroft has so many, he didn’t know what to do with them at first.
“We had to find a niche for (Becker),” Hutchcroft said. “She’s got a lot of talent in her own right.”
Instead of the 100 hurdles, she gave 400 hurdles a shot, and that’s been working out pretty well — for her and for the Panthers.
She scored in the event at the state meet last season, and has scored plenty more points at meets so far this season.
“She just missed qualifying for Drake in the 400 hurdles,” Hutchcroft said.
That’s an extremely difficult race to make it into; Drake takes only the top eight from the state. Becker is currently 14th, less than two seconds away from the last qualifying spot. She’s third in Class 3A.
Unlike the other meets the Panthers participate in, Drake doesn’t put limits on a team’s entries — the best in the state qualify, period. And that will give Mt. Pleasant a chance to demonstrate the talent it has.
“It would be nice even if the three of us could get in the top 10,” Phipps said.
“It shows off our town; it shows off the Mt. Pleasant hurdle team,” Taylor added.
The top eight hurdlers from the prelim (Friday morning at 8 a.m.) will compete in the finals, which are scheduled for Friday at 11:36 a.m.
“Both (Taylor and Phipps) have an extremely good chance to make finals,” Hutchcroft said. “Hannah (Becker) will have a harder time, but she has been there before and is used to running in that atmosphere, which will be an advantage. I just want them to be healthy and run a clean race. Whoever wins, wins.”