IHSA Girls State Track Meet - 3A Prelims Recap
By Michael Newman
Charleston, Ill --- Lincoln-Way East was one step closer to their first state championship after they qualified 11 too Saturday’s final. Aaliyah Brown led the way with top qualifying times in the 100 & 200 along with anchoring their leading 4x1 and 4x2 relays.
It could be a battle for second. Belleville West, Edwardsville, and Evanston Township will look to battle for the final two spots…or maybe the top one if something drastically goes wrong with the Lady Griffins. History shows that the probability of that happening is slim.
There were some great qualifying performances on Friday that should make Saturday even more special. Here is a brief look at each of the events.
Defending champion Emma Haugen (Lyons Township, LaGrange) led a field of eleven to the finals of the High Jump on Saturday. All qualifiers cleared 5-4.
12 athletes qualified for the finals on Saturday in the Pole Vault. Pre-meet favorite Carly Schmidt (Lake Forest HS) led nine athletes in clearing 11-0. The other qualifiers cleared 10-9.
Emma Spagnola (West Aurora HS) jumped in flight three of four in the Long Jump. It did not matter to her. The Aurora junior had the longest jump (18-9 ¼) to lead after the preliminary rounds. The biggest news was the pre-meet favorite Savannah Carson (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville) failed to advance to Saturday’s finals after only jumping 17-2 ¼. Jasmine Brown (DeKalb HS, DeKalb) is currently in second (18-6 ½).
Jasmine Brown just missed the 40 foot barrier (39-11 ¾), but has almost a foot lead over Chardae Greenlee (Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor) after the preliminary round.
Emmonie Henderson (Edwardsville HS) has been breaking records all season it seems. Friday afternoon, she broke the 3A record in the Shot Put with a performance of 49-7 ¾. She has a commanding six foot lead over Morgan Keller (Rolling Meadows HS) and teammate Aaliyah Covington.
The Discus put Henderson in a different situation that she has not experienced this season. Henderson currently is in 2nd place after the prelims with a 146-1 throw. She is three feet behind Morgan Keller’s leading throw of 149-7.
4 x 800 Meter Relay
It could be a close final as Jacobs and Palatine enters the finals with the two fastest times in the event that they ran in Heat 2 (9:16.19-9:16.63). Jacobs moved up to second after the final exchange. Sophomore Lauren Van Vlierbergen ran a 2:11.9 split to give Jacobs the win in that heat. Prospect looked strong in winning their heat by five seconds (9:19.87) ahead of St. Charles East. Yorkville will have a decision to make about Skyler Bollinger heading into Saturday’s final. When the freshman got the baton, she was in fourth place. Her split of 2:14 gave the Lady Foxes the win in heat 3 (9:23.72) over Lane Tech.
4 x 100 Meter Relay
It was business as usual for Lincoln-Way East as they recorded the fastest time in the preliminaries of 46.45. It is almost one second faster than the second qualifying team from Rock Island. The exchanges that the Lady Griffins made were somewhat safe, yet they ran a blazing time. It could be possible for this team to flirt with a sub 46 second time in Saturday’s final.
100 Meter Hurdles
It should be a great final. Alexus Jimison Miller (Danville HS) ran the fastest preliminary time in the event (14.43) when she won Heat 2 ahead of Claudette Day (Belleville West HS). Emma Spagnola (West Aurora HS) won heat 3 with the second fastest time of the day (14.55). In Heat 1, Jasmine Berry (Belleville West ran 14.68 to win. Put these athletes together in the final and we could see a time in the 14 teens.
100 Meter Dash
It was all Aaliyah Brown again. She dominated the 100 Meter Dash by running 11.99 into a headwind. The next closest competitor is teammate Alexis Hyshaw. The junior ran 12.34 to win Heat 1. In the second heat, Shayna Nwokenkwo (Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor) held off Mystique Thompson (Rock Island HS) for the win (12.36-12.37). If there is no wind, we could see Brown go in the 11.50 range in the finals.
800 Meter Run
If Courtney Clayton (Hononegah HS, Rockton) was trying to make a statement in Heat 3 of this event, I think she made it perfectly loud and clear. The defending 3A champion went by the 400 in 63.3, then cruised to a 2:10.67 time that is the fastest among all qualifiers by five seconds. Shianne Baggett (Whitney Young HS, Chicago) took the same approach as Clayton when she won Heat 1. Baggett went out in 63.7, then held on to run 2:15.56 to win by three seconds over Kathryn Adelman (Geneva HS). McKenna Kiple (Wheaton-Warrenville-South HS) took a tactical approach. She sat in Lane two and made her move with 200 Meters to go. The 33 second last 200 was good enough to give Kiple the win (2:17.11).
4 x 200 Meter Relay
Disaster almost hit Lincoln-Way East again and in almost the same manner in this event. The handoff on exchange two between Asia Brown and Alexis Pierre-Antoine was almost made out of the zone. They did get it in legally. Their time is the fastest of the day (1:38.83). If they get that ironed out, we could see a new record on Saturday. The closest team to them is Homewood-Flossmoor who ran 1:41.23 to win Heat 1.
400 Meter Dash
Parker English (Evanston Township HS) won heat 2 running the fastest time of the day (54.80) in winning Heat 2. Cameron Pettigrew (Payton College Prep, Chicago) had the second fastest time (55.14) in winning Heat 1. The other heat winner was defending state champion Brittny Ellis (Warren Township HS, Gurnee). She ran 55.18 to win by more than a second. This should be a great final.
300 Meter Hurdles
Brenna Detra (Richwoods HS, Peoria) set the tone in this event in the very first heat. Her winning time of 43.45 was the fastest of the day and the only time under 44 seconds. Alexus Jimison-Miller (44.01) and Emma Spagnola (44.02) have the next two fastest times.
1600 Meter Run
The distance events in this year’s 3A state final should be magical. The fans got a glimpse of what could happen on Saturday during the 1600 Meter prelims. Maddie Perez (Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn) broke away from the Heat 2 runners early and cruised to a 4:52.21 leading time for the win. Lauren Van Vlierbergen (Jacobs HS, Algonquin) kicked down Christina Santiago in the final 50 meters to win Heat 1 (4:55.40-4:55.72). The third heat was special as well. Courtney Ackerman (New Trier HS, Winnetka) held off Emma Fisher (York) for a narrow win (4:55.94-4:56.06). Skyler Bollinger finished third (4:58.90). To show how tough distance running is on the girls side this year, 5:03.63 was the 12th fastest time. 8 runners were under 5 minutes. The winning time will be below 4:0 on Saturday.
200 Meter Dash
Aaliyah Brown made the double that she is trying to achieve a little more in focus after she dominated the final heat (24.28) with the event’s fastest time. Keep a close eye on Parker English. The junior ran the fastest time in the 400 Friday, then came back and had the second fastest time (24.51) in this event.
4 x 400 Meter Relay
It took 3:58.62 to make it to Saturday’s final. Wow. St. Charles East leads all team s with the 3:51.93 that they ran to win Heat 2. Lincoln-Way East was sort of a surprise by winning Heat 3 with the event’s second fastest time (3:53.49).