Savannah Carson and Maya Neal were a formidable force Friday night in Batavia.
At the Upstate Eight Conference girls indoor track and field championship, Neuqua Valley was nursing a 1-point lead over St. Charles East heading into the 200-meter dash.
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Carson, the Neuqua Valley defending state champion in the long jump, had already established a new league record in the event by eclipsing 19 feet.
Neal was only an inch and half away from the same elusive barrier to place runner-up, which she later duplicated in the 400 dash after earlier claiming top honors in the 55 hurdles.
Carson was seeking a third championship after dusting the field in the 55 dash.
The two Wildcats were neck and neck in the 200 dash, and Carson had a little too much kick at the end as the senior turned back her sophomore teammate by seven one-hundredths of a second to win the event in 25.63 seconds.
Neuqua Valley needed all 18 points to turn back St. Charles East, which dominated all three relays as part of its seven championship events.
Even with the Saints obliterating the field in the 15-event-closing race, the 1,600 relay, it was not enough as Neuqua Valley defended its team title 109-107.
Lake Park, the only other school to win titles other than the top two teams, was third with 84 points.
St. Charles North was a distant fourth, followed by Metea Valley, Batavia, Geneva, Waubonsie Valley and Bartlett.
Elgin, Larkin, Streamwood, South Elgin and East Aurora all failed to score.
"(Neal and I) knew we needed to get the points (in the 200)," Carson said. "(Neal is) like my baby sister."
Carson won the 55 dash in 7.13 seconds.
"It was different without (Class 3A 100-meter state champion) Morolake (Akinosun of Waubonsie Valley) out there," Carson said. "I was used to chasing after her."
The other notable development for Neuqua Valley was the emergence of freshman Kenna Lonergan.
The ninth-grader cleared 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump to place second on criteria to Lake Park defending champion Tyshai Freeman.
Lonergan was also third in the hurdles, which Neal captured in 8.43 seconds.
"What a great team effort," Neuqua Valley coach Gretchen Parejko said. "The team is healthy. It was very helpful to have that 200 there (in the schedule of events). (Carson) leads by example."
The other reigning state champion in the field, Lark Park 3,200 runner Kaylee Flanagan, was simply on another level.
The University of Washington-bound senior was never remotely threatened in defending both titles at 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
"Times at this point in the year are what are nice," said Flanagan, who claimed both events by a combined 50 seconds. "Indoor is a starting point for our team."
Maya Golliday was the third Lancer to defend her conference title with an 11-6 effort in the pole vault.
Neuqua Valley needed every weapon in its arsenal to hold off St. Charles East.
The Saints demonstrated speed, depth and balance in capturing seven conference titles.
Senior Amanda Passaglia began the Saints' uprising with a winning throw of 38-6 in the shot put.
Allison Chmelik was the breakout performer for St. Charles East, however.
The sophomore denied St. Charles North senior Kaylee Raucci in her bid to defend the triple-jump championship with a 36-3 effort, and turned heads on the track as part of the Saints' dominant relay performances.
Teaming with twin sister Elizabeth Chmelik, Kimberly Abels, and Lauren Towne in the 800 relay, the Saints' quartet was four and half seconds quicker than runner-up Neuqua Valley.
The Chmeliks, Abels and Monika Stoskute were even more dominant at 1,600 meters, denying Metea Valley by more than eight seconds.
"For the four-by-two, it was definitely the handoffs," Allison Chmelik said of the Saints' 1:46.82 time. "We wanted to beat the in-house record.
The Saints' foursome accomplished the feat by three one-hundredths of a second.
The St. Charles East 3,200 relay was nearly 20 seconds ahead of cross-town rival St. Charles North in annihilating the North Stars' 2011 conference record in the event.
Krista Fitzmaurice anchored the Saints' efforts, with Torree Scull, Corrin Adams and Anastasia Honae also participated.
The distance portended awfully well for St. Charles East as Scull and Adams later swept the open 800 run.
"I'm hoping that me and my teammate got 1-2," said Scull, who won in 2:22.49. "We want to get our four-by-eight downstate. I think we have a lot of potential (in the 3,200 relay)."
All-state 400 runners Jordan Shead and Britney Williams were also major contributors.
The duo placed in both the 55 and 200 dashes, and Shead headlined the field at 400 meters with Williams placing third.
There was mixed news for St. Charles North.
Sabrina Rabin was second in the 55 dash, but the junior is leaving the team to join the North Stars' softball squad.
Raucci, the North Stars' senior leader, was second in the triple jump and also placed in the long jump.
"They are my (personal records) for the (indoor) season," Raucci said. "I wish it would have been a little bit better."
Batavia had two runner-up performances to bolster its cause.
Skylar Schoen cleared 11-6 in the pole vault but missed the title on criteria.
Freshman Leah Narup was second to Neal in the 55 hurdles.
Geneva sophomore Kathryn Adelman made a late rally to finish second at 1,600 meters for the Vikings.
Bartlett senior Megan Seidl was the sole Elgin-area athlete to place in an individual event.
Seidl was fifth in the open 400 dash, and combined with Christina Santana, Kayla Gallagher and Juanita Smiley to place fifth in the 1,600 relay.
"I just tried to maintain my pace in the second lap (of the open 400)," Seidl said. "This season I have been feeling a little weak in the second lap, but tonight I felt better."
"That was a nice job for them," Bartlett coach Harvey Braus said of the Hawks' quartet winning the second-fastest heat. "We had a really good night. It didn't show up (in the final standings) because the other teams are so strong."