Class 2A Girls State Championship Preview: It Could Be Dunlap's Turn For Glory

Madison Diercks won the FTTF 2A Race in early September (Steve Bugarin photo)

On paper, this looks like a four girl race between Madison Diercks of Belvidere North, Campbell Petersen of Dunlap, Shanice Garbutt of Danville, and Jenna Schwartz of Waterloo. Diercks, Petersen, and Schwartz all won their sectionals while Garbutt was just a few steps behind Schwartz at Decatur.

Diercks might have the edge if it comes down to a sprint at the end. She has run 5:01 on the track to go along with her 4th place finish at last year's state meet. We may see something different from Dierks a portion through the race.

Petersen has already run 17:19 and has won every race but two that she has contested. Will she lay back and assist her team or will she gun for the win? Remember this will be her first state championship.

Garbutt has the fastest time in 2A this year with a 17:08 at the Peoria Invitational in late September. Although she has ran great all season, Garbutt has been a bit too conservative in races. She cannot spot a great cast too much slack and expect to come back for the win.

Schwartz finished 6th at last year's state meet and is coming on strong. While I expect one of these four to claim the individual title, there are a number of other competitors to keep an eye on.  But let's see if she can close out the race.

Belvidere North's Gianna Sagona was 11th last year and will likely be in the mix.

Freshman Marianne Mihas of Latin has some serious wheels as evidenced by her 5:03 mile as an 8th grader.  Mihas is a talent of course and will be the wildcard here. She has raced against some of the top girls at the FTTF and faired well. Saturday will present a new challenge for her and it will be interesting to see how she handles it.

Kayla Schiera of Sandwich was a close 2nd to Diercks at the Kaneland Sectional and was 9th at state last year.  

Franny Verville of Dunlap, Lauren Katz of Vernon Hills, and Urbana's Olivia Rosenstein were all in the top 15 last year and have had very good seasons.  In addition to Mihas, there are two other freshman to keep an eye on in Lyndsey Wolters of Normal University and Chelsea Gale of Prairie Ridge.  

Urbana U High's Arielle Summitt ran 17:46 at Detweiler in September and has a state title in the 800 on her resume. Speaking of girls with an 800 title to her name, Rachel Hickey ran 17:48 at last year's state meet.

Rachel Richtman of Kaneland will try and be the first one in her family to get a title first. Her older brother Matthew Richtman is a favorite in the 2A race. Rachel has been running well and could be battling for a spot in the top 10. It should be a fantastic race! If only the great Grace McLaughlin of Rockford Boylan had been able to lace them up...

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