Wiley dominates at State Finals to cement historic legacy

Wiley dominates at State Finals to cement historic legacy
Posted on 06/06/2022
Huntington North senior Addy Wiley made history at the 2022 IHSAA Girls Track and Field State Finals to cement her legacy as one of the state's best athletesOn June 1, 2019, a relatively unknown freshman from Huntington North High School seemingly shocked the state, upsetting Abigail Lynch of Brownsburg to win the 1600 meter run state championship with a time of 4:46.93, an incredible improvement over the 5:20.35 she posted at the sectional meet two weeks prior and 4:55.19 posted at the regional meet one week prior.

Fast forward three years to Friday night in Bloomington, and Huntington North senior Addy Wiley was anything but an unknown this time around. Featured on the cover of the official meet program and other promotional materials for the meet, Wiley put a resounding exclamation point on her historic high school career to cement herself as one of the greatest runners in Indiana high school history.

Making history at last year’s State Finals, held at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, by becoming the first girl in state history to ever win both the 1600 and 800 meter runs at the same State Finals, Wiley set out to defend her crowns and left no question in anyone’s mind who Indiana’s middle distance queen is.

Wiley came into the 1600 as the heavy favorite, having posted a blistering 4:37.98 at the Marion Regional on May 24, the fastest 1600 time ever posted by a female high school runner on Indiana soil.

Wiley wasted no time asserting her dominance, immediately jumping to the front of the pack before eventually stretching her lead to over five seconds, stopping the clock at 4:38.69. The mark smashed the previous State Finals meet record time of 4:43.46, set in 2011 by Waverly Neer of Culver Academies.

“Before the 1600, I was really nervous because that’s my race, that’s the one I’ve won the most, so I was really nervous going into it,” Wiley said. “I was going to contain, let some other girls take it out and then the last 800 just drive it home. But nobody went with me like I expected, and once I had the lead, I was feeling confident. I didn’t really want to let it up at that point because when you let people in the mix with 800 left, anything can happen. So, I just closed the race out, had a good one, felt a lot more confident once that race was over.”

The win gave Wiley a perfect 3-for-3 mark in the event at the State Finals during her high school career and made her just the second girl in state history to win the event in each of her possible State Finals meets.

“Even though I have lost (in the 1600) before, this is the one place I can always count on me performing my best, being a big-meet performer,” Wiley said. “So, it just means a lot to me, especially because I know there are very few girls who have repeated their wins. A lot of girls win, but very few repeat. It’s just something really hard to comprehend how special it is because I look at my freshman year, after I won, I looked at all the other girls who had been repeat champions and that’s something I’ve been striving for since 2019, so it’s just crazy that it finally came true.”

Just over an hour later, Wiley returned to the track to defend her 800 meter run state title. Wiley opted for a more conservative approach during the first lap before making her move at the midway point of the race. Once in front, Wiley turned on the afterburners, putting away another state title with a winning time of 2:06.26.

Like the 1600, Wiley’s time in the 800 set another State Finals record, besting the previous mark of 2:06.62, set by Elizabeth Stanhope of Pike in 2019, a race Wiley also competed in.

“Going into the 800, I was a lot less nervous; got those nerves out,” Wiley said with a laugh, referencing a stomach bug she battled between the events. “I felt a lot more under control in that race. I went out really conservative and didn’t get out as fast as I thought I would, which I think was a good thing to then run it even and feel under control.”

Wiley’s victories gave her a career total of five individual track state titles, putting her in the elite company of 14 other athletes who have achieved the milestone in girls track and field, only one of which having earned those titles in exclusively middle or long distance events. Additionally, with all five of Wiley’s state titles coming in the 800 and 1600 meter runs, Wiley became the state’s all-time leader in middle distance state crowns, with the previous record standing at four, held by two runners.

Of course, Wiley’s career achievements on the track are impressive regardless of the context, but it is important to note Wiley’s sophomore season was canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, eliminating the potential for additional state titles in at least the 800 and 1600.

However, Wiley did not only successfully defend her two crowns on Friday. That was not enough of a challenge. She instead raised the bar and did something no other girl in Indiana high school history had ever done: Attempt the daunting triple of the 1600, 800 and 3200 meter runs at the State Finals.

Why had it never been done before? It is one thing doubling in the 1600 and 800, but then adding another 3200 meters on top of those, and on extremely short recovery time? That is a ridiculously tall task, and one that had been too tall for any female runner in state history. Until Friday.

Fresh off her two record-setting state titles in the 1600 and 800, Wiley toed the line for the 3200 with less than 30 minutes of rest time. In a very strong field, with the other runners all being fresher than Wiley having ran, at most, only one of the 1600 and 800, Wiley still threw down an impressive performance, stopping the clock at 10:38.57 for a third-place finish behind Delta’s Nicki Southerland (10:22.82) and Park Tudor’s Sophia Kennedy (10:25.02), who finished first and second, respectively.

“That one was a little more stressful just because it took such a long time to get it started, and standing, wasting a little bit more energy than I wanted to,” Wiley said. “So, I was just content going into that one. Really wanted to place as high as possible, but the mental fatigue of anticipating the race starting I think really weighed on me. But I’m happy with how I finished it, especially getting caught in no-man’s land for a while running by myself.”

The outcome, in combination with her five state titles and a seventh-place finish in the 800 as a freshman, gave the future University of Colorado Buffalo a career total of seven all-state podium finishes at the State Finals in just three years, a truly remarkable feat.

But that wasn’t all, either. Just 19 minutes later, Wiley anchored the Lady Vikes’ 4x400 relay, dropping a 57.03-second split to cap her 6,000-meter night, all of which being ran in a span of just 138 minutes.

“I’m really happy that I got to end tonight with the team event,” Wiley said. “I think that was the perfect way to end my high school career, so I’m really happy with that. Really proud of the girls all together.”

Huntington North’s quartet of Gracie Fields, Ella Colclesser, Emma Holzinger and Wiley clocked in at 4:04.20, good for a 14th-place outcome in the event, surpassing their seeding time rank of 16th, which they earned at the Marion Regional.

“The 4x400 team did fantastic,” said Huntington North girls track and field head coach Brian Milton. “Gracie had a great start and ran her PR split when we needed it, Ella put down one of her fastest splits of the season and looked strong on the last 100, Emma, who ran the 4x400 for the first time this season, started at a 69 at the beginning of the season, dropped to a 62 at conference and still ran a 63 after tearing up the first 250 of her leg, did great and, of course, Addy running a 57 after everything she ran before, just awesome! Could not be happier with these girls. Total team effort after waiting the entire meet to run this event!”

In all, Huntington North posted a total of 27 team points, all earned by Wiley, which placed the Vikings fifth in the overall team standings. The outcome was Huntington North’s second highest ever at a State Finals, trailing only a fourth-place finish in 1976. The 27 points scored was a new program record at the State Finals, blowing away the previous program high of 20 earned at last year’s State Finals thanks to Wiley’s then-unprecedented double.

“This is the third straight year that Huntington North has had a state champion at state (and) the second straight year of qualifying our 4x400 to state,” Milton said. “The success speaks for itself. I have amazing coaches that put their heart and soul into this team and the results are showing! Losing Addy is going to be felt next season, but she has led and encouraged many athletes on our team. I feel confident this team (is) set up for success in many areas for the future.”

Following an abundance of media interviews and connecting with dozens of friends and family members who made the trip to watch Wiley’s final meet as a Viking, Wiley celebrated with her teammates in perhaps the most fitting way possible: Running one final lap around the track as a team.

“Addy is an amazing talent,” Milton said. “She has studied hard on what she needs to do to prepare her body and mind for her events. When she decided on trying to run all three events, I was concerned, not that she could not do it, but concerned about injury and overworking herself, and with the 4x400 right after the 3200, that concerned me even more. However, this is what she wanted to do, and I was not going to get in the way of the goals she set for herself. She was outstanding! To win the 1600 and the 800 was amazing. To run the 3200 and place third with short rest between the 800 and 3200 and run a 57 split for the 4x400 with only one heat to rest before her next race, phenomenal! Could not be prouder of her and her efforts, and because of this, we finished fifth in the state as a team due to her achievements and goals!”

Wiley's season is not yet finished though, as she plans to run the 800 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field on June 19 before running in the 1500 meter run at the USA Track and Field U20 Outdoor Championships on June 24 and 25, also at Hayward Field. Wiley's goal is to earn a spot on the U.S. national team for the World Athletics U20 Championships in Colombia the first week of August.

Less than 24 hours later, Huntington North had more to celebrate, as senior Harrison Niswander competed in the 1600 meter run on the boys side. Niswander qualified for the State Finals after winning the 1600 at both the sectional and regional meets last month.

The State Finals field of 27 runners featured two standouts at the top followed by a mass of runners all within a handful of seconds of each other’s seeding times. Despite the stiff competition, Niswander raced to a 22nd-place finish, posting a time of 4:24.36.

Niswander, who will run track and cross country in college at Purdue Fort Wayne, was grateful for the opportunity to finish his high school career in the State Finals at Indiana University, arguably the state’s mecca for track and field.

“It means a lot being here,” Niswander said. “Cross country state, it was a lot of fun, but here, it just felt like the energy was just there the whole time. There’s people lining the whole track, and especially with the last lap, you could just hear the crowd yelling, and that just gave me a bunch of extra energy. It means the world. The last four years, my goal was to get to cross country state and I got that, and then after indoor, my main goal was to get here.”

Huntington North boys track and field head coach Scott Bower largely echoed Niswander’s sentiments and believes Niswander’s example can provide motivation for other Viking runners to compete on the state’s biggest stage in the future.

“It’s just a terrific accomplishment,” Bower said. “When he looks back later on in life, he’s going to be really thrilled to tell people that he was a state qualifier and everything else he’s done in his career. We have three things you can qualify for as a distance runner, really, and he did it. … When your program is getting kids to the state meet, then it’s not a fantasy that, ‘That’s what other teams and other schools do.’ It’s like, ‘This is what we do. We get individuals and relays to the state meet and it could be me or it should be me.’ We have some kids returning to our team next year that you just get used to the fact that, okay, who’s going to go to the state meet this year? Like I said, it’s not a pipe dream, it’s a goal that you can shoot for. You know it’s achievable because somebody did it. And Harrison just sets a great example on how to do it. You just constantly tell kids about is that something Harrison Niswander would do? Yes, then you should do it. Is that something Harrison Niswander would do? No, then why are you doing it? So not just showing that it’s possible, but showing a path for whoever you are. … An outstanding student-athlete, just everything you want to set examples for kids in your program, so it’s awesome that a kid who’s that great (made it to state).”

Carmel’s Kole Mathison won the event with a time of 4:04.82.

In the team competitions, North Central, led by sprinting star Ramiah Elliott, took home the state championship on the girls side with 55 points, while Plainfield claimed the boys team state title with 61 points.
Addy Wiley 1600 State Champion     Addy Wiley 800 State Champion

Addy Wiley 3200 Third Place     4x400 14th Place

Harrison Niswander 1600 22nd Place
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