Not when Brittny Ellis ran like Brittny Ellis can, not when his team had so many other highlights, including a 1-2 finish in the 100-meter dash, was Warren girls track coach Ryan Dunn going to lament a botched relay exchange.
Never mind that the error potentially could cost the Blue Devils the North Suburban Conference championship.
A frustrating night for Warren, which was disqualified in the 400 relay in which it was seeded first, extended to other teams as well at Round Lake on Thursday night. With only the final heat of the 1,600 relay and the triple-jump finals remaining, the meet was stopped due to lightning in the area. After nearly 90 minutes, during which time coaches discussed whether to wait out the weather or complete the meet today and athletes hung out in Round Lake's gym, a decision was made.
The games committee sent everyone home. The NSC meet will be resumed at 4 p.m. today at Stevenson, prior to the JV conference invite.
Lake Forest is on the cusp of winning the championship. The Scouts have 83 points, 14 more than Vernon Hills. County-champ Warren (64), Libertyville (57) and Lakes (57) round out the top five, followed by Grant (56), Lake Zurich (29), Stevenson (24) and Wauconda (20).
"I want to remain positive," said Dunn, who during the delay had already decided that he was not going to send triple-jump star Amber Cook back out to compete after sitting for so long.
"We saw a lot of great things tonight," Dunn continued. "We walked into this knowing that if we performed to what we were capable of, we'd be right in the mix. Certainly a couple of things didn't go the way we would have liked them to have gone. As a result, (the conference title) may have come down to that with the point breakdown. But by no means does this define our season. By no means does it define our team."
Ellis did her thing.
The fab freshman set the conference record with her 57.29 clocking in the 400 dash. She also won the 200 (25.24) and 100 (12.31), as she and fellow freshman Autumn Santos (12.47) took the top-two spots in the latter.
Ellis and Santos were scheduled to run the final two legs of the 400 relay. But what Dunn called a "mistimed" exchange between Warren's first two runners resulted in a DQ, as the two girls couldn't correct the handoff before they got out of the exchange zone.
Lake Zurich (50.41) wound up winning the relay, with Lakes (51.60) second. The disqualification cost Warren a likely 10 points.
Junior Lindsey Moritz led off for Lake Zurich, followed by sophomore Shelby Peshek, senior Kelly Tufano and junior anchor Teagan Hough.
"Every single person who was running fourth was standing there jumping up and down (after Warren was DQ'ed and stopped racing)," Hough said. "I was talking to the Vernon Hills girl standing next to me and she's like, 'You guys got this.' "
"I had no idea what was going on," a smiling Peshek added.
Lakes was all smiles after opening the finals by winning the 3,200 relay in a meet-record 9:32.13. Hannah Wittman led off, followed by Grace Dean and freshman twins Brittani and Danielle Griesbaum.
"We were shooting for 9:35," Lakes coach Matt Rife said. "We talked last week about getting out hard, as we did at county, but knowing that big schools were definitely going to load up at conference. It's hard to tell with those big schools. We're just a small enough team where we can't hide anybody."
Brittani Griesbaum won the long jump (17-10), while her identical twin Danielle finished first in the high jump (5-3).
"Brittani is much more serious -- (that's) probably the best way to put it," Rife said. "Danielle is pretty carefree and just, 'Let's go have fun.' "
Grant's Melissa Dunham dominated the shot put (40-10) and discus (139-2) again. Other winners included Libertyville's Carly Stewart in the 800 (2:21.37), Mundelein's Ellie Palacios in the 3,200 run (11:47.05) and Wauconda's Andrea Lichterman in the 300 hurdles (47.24). Lake Forest got first-place efforts from Helen Schlachtenhaufen in the 1,600 run (5:14.48), Carly Schmidt in the pole vault (12-6, held Wednesday at Lake Zurich) and Carolina Carmichael in the 100 hurdles (15.81).
Vernon Hills got a pair of runner-up efforts from Alli Tran in the 200 (26.19) and long jump (17-9).