Kankakee Holds Off Minooka In Exciting In Sectional Win

Kankakee's Taniya Munson and Minooka's Natalie Nahs wait for their 4x400 anchor legs.



It was a near-perfect spring day for a track and field championship, with temperatures soaring as high as 83 degrees, according to host and head Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson. "This is going to be an amazing day... we have had nothing but cold and rain this spring," he lamented. 

The field events usually precede the track events by several hours. In this instance, at least three of them went simultaneously. 

The state's leading high jumper, Samantha Yeh (So., Dunlap), was in a battle with herself after winning the competition past beyond 5'2. The 5'8" performer missed her first two attempts at 5'6" before comfortably sailing over the third attempt. However, she bowed out at her PB of 5'8."

Na'Kyrah Cooks (Sr., Kankakee) and Jahnel Bowman (Sr., Plainfield South) waited until the final round of the long jump to unleash fireworks. Cooks connected on the first 18-footer (18'7.25"). The intense competitor Bowman nearly matches Cooks with an 18'3.25. Bowman returned later in the triple jump and produced her season-best 39'6.5" on the first and only attempt.

Nikkel Johnson (senior, Kankakee) and Tytiana Sutton (senior, Kankakee) went 1-2 in the shot put, led by Johnson's season-best 40'7" effort.

The fireworks began after Washington's sophomore Sophia Ramirez used a 2:13.12 anchor leg in the 4x800, which produced a 9:29.54 winning effort. Kankakee's 4x100 scooted around the track seamlessly, and the baton was handed off to junior Naomi Bey-Osborne, who dashed home in 46.90.

Lena Jackson (Jr., Peoria Richwoods) and Ameena Ross (So., Rock Island) produced winning efforts in the 100 (12.21) and 100H (15.05), but Bey-Osborne's superwoman performance in the 400 captured the crowd's attention. Bey-Osborne and Bowman were neck and neck through the opening 200, but NBO's strength outlasted the field, and the spoils were a state-best 55.12.

After Ramirez cruised to victory in the 1600 with a time of 5:05.99, the next event, the 200, was pivotal for Minooka and Kankakee. Bey-Osborne was ready to win her third race of the day... until her hamstring gave out, and she plummeted to last place overall. Bowman took the victory in a personal best 24.92. Trinity Noble (Sr., Kankakee) helped her team's cause with a solid second-place effort 25.15. Overall, a resounding ten girls advanced to state. 

NBO was pulled from the 4x400 finale. A tight tilt between Kankakee and Minooka ensued and the victory went to the home-standing crew in 3:59.01.

Kankakee won 102.5-99.5 over Minooka, but it probably came at a heavy cost. Bey-Osborne could be out for the state championship. Head coach Marques Lowe acknowledged, "Man, we could be in big trouble if we don't have NBO next weekend."