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updated: 4/13/2012 11:37 PM

Janulis finally has his day

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By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent

Lake Forest junior Helen Schlachtenhaufen needed 5:25.42 to win the 1600-meter run at Friday's Vernon Hills girls track and field invite.

Or slightly more time than it takes her to sign her name.

"Sometime I just scribble it," Schlachtenhaufen admitted.

But the name of the meet belonged to former Vernon Hills athletic director Al Janulis. The inaugural invite was named after him, and the man himself did another stellar job serving as the PA announcer.

Janulis originally was to be honored at last year's VH invite. But rain doused that plan.

"So this is the second inaugural Al Janulis invite," cracked Cougars coach Jason Rush.

Rush's squad was second to none at the eight-team meet, totaling 105 points behind freshman discus champion Kasey Firnbach (90-feet-4) and its victorious 1600 relay (4:10.02) of seniors Taylor Pearson and Taylor Krue and juniors Ali Peacock and Alli Tran.

Tran sang the national anthem before the start of Friday's finals and ran the anchor leg of the last event (1600 relay).

Libertyville (87.5 points) edged Lake Forest (86) for runner-up honors on a gusty night. Merrillville (Ind.) placed fourth. Waukegan (62), Stevenson (59), Glenbrook North (28.5) and St. Viator (16) finished fifth through eighth.

"It's getting to that point in the season when you have to grind," said Rush. "Our girls performed well while grinding.

"The real performances will come in May," he added.

Lake Forest senior Carolina Carmichael cleared a May-like 12-6 to beat a highly competitive field in the pole vault Friday. The launch also was a meet- and stadium-record. She later zipped to gold in 100 hurdles (15.83).

Libertyville got championship efforts from Katie Sackett (300 hurdles, 50.24), Haley Becker (high jump, 5-4) and its 3200 relay (10:01.93).

Firnbach's first-place fling (90-4) in the discus stunned her.

"I was hoping to reach 90 feet by the end of the season," said Firnbach, also a volleyball and basketball player at VH. "I guess it came quicker."

Nobody was faster than St. Viator's Hanna Winter (2:24.25) was in the 800 run Friday, but Libertyville's Carly Stewart (2:24.62) certainly came close. Winter's spring teammate, sophomore and first-year trackster Meghan Carroll, took third in the 1600 (5:31.97).

Stevenson's Shannon Legge used an arm to win the shot-put segment with a 32-10 . Patriots senior Nia Johnson finished runner-up (1:03.24) to Lake Forest's Elliotte Pomerich (1:01.7) in the 400 dash. A stiff wind in the final 150 meters forced Johnson to focus on her form.

"I sprinted in the first 200 (meters)," Johnson said. "After that I had to crank it out and make sure I was also using my arms there at the end."

Senior Molly Moon contributed 14 team points for Libertyville by silvering in the discus (85-11) and taking the bronze in the shot put (30-2). A bout with the flu had kept her out of school and practice four days this week and one day last week.

She also missed two meets.

"It's good to be back," Moon said. "My release (shot put) was good and I tried hard to concentrate on fundamentals."

Libertyville's Sackett turned it on as she approached the last obstacle in the 300 hurdles. Going turbo late helped. Runner-up Erin Malles of Lake Forest was only 0.05 slower than Sackett.

"We have a very good coach," Sackett said of Wildcats hurdles coach Dawn Shanahan, who also serves as Sackett's guidance counselor. "She connects well with us and she reads me well."

Waukegan's Ebony Smith was a two-time winner Friday (100, 12.67; long jump, 15-10 ). Teammate Maria Pettis landed a first-place 34-7 in the triple jump. Other winners were Merrillville's Airrica Harper (200, 27.64); Glenbrook North's Valerie Bobart (3200, 11:51.73); and Merrillville's 400 (50.14) and 800 (1:47.08) relays

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