Wheaton Warrenville South won its second DuPage Valley Conference title last week, and the Tigers had no letdown in the Class 3A Lake Park sectional on Thursday.
Wheaton South won four events including a jaw-dropping victory in the 3,200 relay (9:06.25) in cruising to its second consecutive sectional title with 101 points at Lake Park's East campus in Roselle.
Emily Schwartz took first in the pole vault (11 feet, 3 inches) and Kasey Gassensmith took first in high jump (5-5) to ignite the WW South effort. Jessica Spera also added a first in the 100 high hurdles (15.61), but it was the 3,200 relay that set the tone for Wheaton Warrenville South.
Amy Yong, Kayla Kightlinger, Hope Schmelzle and McKenna Kiple combined to light up the track in leading the Tigers to an impressive 3,200 relay victory.
Wheaton Warrenville South qualified to state in 12 events, including all four relays in dominating the 15 team sectional on crisp spring night.
Prospect took second with 83 points, followed by Willowbrook (55 points), York (54 points) and host Lake Park (52 points).
"Very few times in my career have I had the talent and the team, and this is it," said WW South coach Rob Harvey. "We're so balanced and so deep. We slowly have been putting the pieces together for the 3,200 relay, and it was special tonight."
"We've been working on this for a long time," said Yong of the Tigers' team performance. "And the pieces are finally falling into place."
Kiple added a fifth-place finish in qualifying in the 800 (2:17.81), while Schmelzle was firing on all cylinders in taking an impressive second in the 1,600 (4:59).
Yong, Kiple, and Schmelzle then powered WW South's 1,600 (4:00.39) to state qualification with a third-place finish.
"I knew I was in the perfect setting to run well," said Schmelzle, who was one of 10 runners to qualify in the 1,600. "I wanted to use everything I had."
Defending Class 3A 800 champion Lindsey Rakosnik showed she is ready for more. The Glenbard East senior cruised to the 800 victory in 2:12.78, then came back to win the 1,600 (4:57.79).
Rakosnik led the loaded 1,600 from start to finish, and now is primed to add another state title to her accomplishments. The Glenbard East senior, who won has won two state medals in the 400, also helped qualify the Rams 1,600 relay (4:01.23)
"It would be awesome to add the 1,600 to the resume," said Rakosnik who has won three state medals including last year 800 title. "I keep moving up as a runner, and it has come naturally. The mile is my next big goal."
Willowbrook senior Cherise Porter has already earned five state medals, including consecutive runner-up finishes in the 200, but she's far from satisfied.
Porter took first in the 100 (12.74), the 200 (24.51) and helped the Warriors win the 400 relay (49.11) and take second in the 800 relay (1:44.11).
"It's been egging me on to do better this year," said Porter of her back-to-back second place state finishes in the 200. "I'm aiming for it this year."
Colleen Krawczykowski also added a victory for Willowbrook in the long jump (17-04.5).
Junior Lauren Poplawski anchored Prospect to a third-place finish in the 3,200 relay (9:18.87), and then used strong final lap to secure second in the 800 (2:14.55). Junior Brooke Wolfe (4:59.8) and sophomore Christina Santiago (5:03.04) took third and fifth in the 1,600 for Prospect; both were members of the 3,200 relay.
"I've been working hard for it all season and I knew it was in my grasp," said Poplawski of her school-record finish in the 800. "It seems like it is all coming together for the team."
Melissa Jones added a first-place finish in the 300 low hurdles (47.17), with Carissa Weis taking second in the triple jump (34-09) and Catherine Sherwood adding a second in the long jump (17-04) for Prospect.
Lake Park junior Kaylee Flanagan made the most of her one event, cruising uncontested to the 3,200 title (10:25.98).
"I just wanted to run and not think about anything," said Flanagan who hit the first mile in 5:04. "I just kind of went with it."
Maya Golliday took second in the pole vault (11-03), Shayna Clark took second in both the shot put (41-08) and discus (135-04), and Tyshai Freeman took third in the high jump (5-3) to support the Lancers in the field.
Rolling Meadows junior Morgan Keller continued her dominance in the throws by taking first in both the shot put (41-10) and discus (140-04), with sophomore Mia Harper adding a first-place finish for the Mustangs in the 400 (58.82).
"I've been hitting 140 consistently," said Keller of her impressive performance in the discus. "I think I have figured out what to do -- it has all been technique."
Madeline Perez helped Glenbard West take second in the 3,200 relay (9:13.67). The sophomore then came back to take fourth in the 1,600 (5:01.17).
The Hilltoppers hit an impressive 9:06 in the 3,200 relay last week, and Perez feels they can get that number next week.
"I know we're not satisfied with how we ran tonight," said Perez, who was battling a cold. "I think we all have a little drive going into state, and it's going to a great battle with all the competition. I have confidence in all of us."
Michelle Frigo took third in the 800 (2:15.12) and then came back to help York win the meet-ending 1,600 relay (3:57.87). Emma Fisher also added a second-place finish for the Dukes in the 3,200 (10:46.45).
"We all did what we were supposed to do," said Frigo of the Dukes' 1,600 relay victory.
Senior Angela Herrmann powered Conant by taking second in both the 100 (12.74) and 200 (25.63).
"I was pretty confident coming in," said Herrmann. "I was ready to go -- now I'm ready to take it to state."