IHSA Girls State 2015: Festive Day Brings Out Best

It was a great day for track and field inside the fabled O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University (Sabrina Mendoza photo)


The first day of track and field action was exactly what the experts had predicted in terms of dropping great performances and action packed excitement throughout the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning started with 2A Lombard Montini winning the opening heat of the 4x800 relay in 9:36.16. That time stood up as the top mark of the three sections. St. Charles East ended the long day in the 3A 4x400 relay clocking a tremendous 3:52.99. All in all the 73 degree day was filled with sunshine, smiles, laughter and of course disappointment and sadness.

Class 2A-

-The action took off fast and furious-

  • Lombard Montini as stated before won the first heat of the 4x8 in a season best 9:36.16- season best for a team that won the Illinois Top Times Indoor Championship. All 12 qualifying teams hit 9:50 and under.
  • Chicago Morgan Park enjoyed a super day in the speed relays in earning of the events in boss like times: 4x100 (48.25- #1), 4x200 (1:42.93- #2), and 4x400 (3:58.87- #3). The Mustangs used several different combinations in producing stout efforts over the course of the meet. Hall of fame coach Derrick Calhoun showed his brillance throughout the day.
  • Dominique Lewis (Sr., Champaign Centennial) came in with the fastest time in the 100m, but faced heavy criticism because of not running fast or boss-like in the pundits eyes. Well, Lewis stepped in the blocks of the 100m and dashed down the track with ease taking heat 2 in a swift 12.10. Although Anna Sloan (Sr., River Forest Trinity) won the penultimate heat in 12.06, Lewis was not phased. "I came out and did what I had to do," she said with her hands on her hip. Lewis completed her day running 24.88 to top Sloan (24.94) who was not cruising.
  • Mariya Hudson (So., Cahokia) did not show any signs of a sophomore slump despite running a light indoor track and field season. Hudson led her team with on point performances in the 100 (12.28), 400 (55.56), and 200 (24.56). She also qualified in the long jump with a solid 17-11.75. Her in synch teammate Rayneshia Lewis (Jr.) did her part too. Lewis rocked the competition in the 100HH running 14.81 to edge Imani Carothers (Fr., Chicago Brooks) by a nose (14.82). Lewis also earned berths in the long and triple jumps.
  • Sophomore Jaimie Robinson of Chicago De La Salle did not play with the competition as he earned the top spot in the triple jump and a personal best 39-10.5. Actually her mark was the best of any Illinois girl on the weekend.
  • Karina Liz (Jr., Aurora Central Catholic) was in serious business mode as she took to the track without a smile. Liz blitzed the first lap in a solid 64 and change before shutting it down on the homestretch and topping things off in 2:15.94. Liz quickly ushered off the track, "I got to warm up for the 400- I will talk to you all later," she said moving fast to the tent in preparation for the 400. Liz earned a spot in the l-lapper with a solid personal best 56.18.

Class 3A-

  • The event showstarter is and will always be the 4x800 relay. It did not disappoint as Naperville North set a school record 9:15.95 in winning the first heat. The Huskies turned back Lincoln-Way East who also ran a school record 9:20.36 in enroute to advancing on Saturday... the 4x8 in Illinois is dangerous year after year as the cut-off was stopped at 9:26.43 by Geneva. The state's two top teams Palatine and Palatine Fremd ran 9:16.25 and 9:18.43 respectively. Defending champion St. Charles blazed 9:16.59 to win heat two. Remember this is a team that graduated a monster runner in Jordan Shead who is now running at Notre Dame University. Downers Grove North blazed 9:16.60 to advance to Saturday's final. Sophomore Emma Moravec clocked 2:13.3 to propel her team on the anchor leg.
  • The 4x100s kept the relay train going with the cutoff stopping at 48.57- FAST. Chicago Westinghouse showed the serious side of things taking and setting the tempo in heat 1 with a blistering 47.59. Crystal Lindsey (formerly Riley) is the head coach of the Lady Warriors was a multiple state champion of the mighty Morgan Park powerhouse teams of the 1990s. Riley has the same stoic, quiet killer passion as her coach Derrick Calhoun. The no-nonsense approach has paid huge dividends. Lincoln-Way East took heat #4 to close out the action in 47.77.
  • Brittny Ellis (Sr., Warren Gurnee) is enjoying her high school season so much that she can laugh after a good day at the office. "I am having fun in last go around. As a freshman I was a little nervous, but now I am having fun," she said after fulfilling her obligations in the 100 (12.04- #1), 200 (24.66- #1), 400 (54.76- #1).
  • Homewood-Flossmoor did not have a good day. Let's be real honest. They had a terrible day aside from senior Jayla Stewart. If not for her the Lady Vikings would be packing their bags and driving the cavaran back home. It all started in the 4x1 where Aliyah Mickens had to be replaced. Still a sprint corps with two starlets should have stepped up. Instead they ran 48.87- incredibly far from qualifying for the final. The bad dream did not stop there. Senior Antoinette "Angel" Broughton ran 12.56 in her 100 heat. She had been dealing with a sore toe that will require surgery at season's end. The final coffin in the casket was the 4x2 where the Vikings placed third in a distant 1:43.82. The talent level in Illinois has gotten so strong that if you didn't run 1:41.83 you might as well find a seat in the stands for Saturday. Sorry....
  • Jayla Stewart did her best to keep her team above water. She qualified by winning her three individual heats: 100HH (14.07), 100 (12.26), and 200 (24.90). She will stand alone on the podium on Saturday.
  • In the field events, the key figure of note was triple jump ace Lajarvia Brown, the junior from Alton. She did enough to lead all qualifiers with a 39-8. She will have an opportunity to eclipse her state leading 41-6.25.
  • 800: Some have dared to criticize Emma Moravec for being a team player. What kind of world is this?! She assisted her team in earning a final berth in the 4x8 with a 2:13 leg. She did run 17:41 for three miles who shows off her stamina. Anyway, she returned to run a leading 2:12.89.
  • 1600: Sub 5:00s on the docket for all three heats: ht 1- Gabby Juarez (Sr., Streamwood) struck first in ht 1 4:58.48. She overcame a furious run against Audrey Ernst (Fr., St. Charles North)- four girls qualified; ht 2- Torree Scull (Sr., St. Charles East) would eventually pull away for the win in 4:56.38. But in the middle portion of the race, she had company with Claire Hamilton (So., Naperville North) and Charlotte Nawor (Jr., Highland Park). Pre-meet faves Kelly O'Brien (Jr., Palatine) and Lauren Van Vlierbergen (Sr., Jacobs) waged a strong battles and easily qualified for Saturday out of the final heat.
  • 4x4 relays: The qualifying were fast and it has been this way for several years now. It took 3:56.63 to get into the final and it Downers Grove South grabbed the spot.