Trio of all-staters lead St. Charles East
St. Charles East coach Tim Wolf rearranged his girls track and field lineup in an unusual fashion on Saturday.
But the Saints' three returning all-staters — Britney Williams, Jordan Shead and Torree Scull — all showcased versatility in abundance to lead St. Charles East past Glenbard South for supremacy of the eight-team St. Charles North Invitational.
The Raiders bested the Saints in the concluding 1,600-meter relay, but Williams and Shead secured 18 invaluable teams points in the preceding event — the 200 dash — to ensure the Saints' 110-97 victory.
St. Charles North was third behind its consistency; Glenbard East, Libertyville, Conant, Wheaton North and Benet all crowned champions in rounding out the field.
"They can run in different races," Wolf said of his state-seasoned triumvirate abandoning its specialty events. "I think we can have some of the best relays (in the state)."
With the talented Chemlik twins out with nagging injuries, St. Charles East overcame a late Glenbard South lead with Williams, who earlier won the 100 dash in 12.03 seconds, triumphing once again with Shead to finish 1-2 in the 200.
Shead, like Williams, a former all-state 400 runner, also anchored the Saints' 800 relay to victory.
"(Wolf) was trying to give us a break (from longer distances)," Williams said. "I think (the decision) was beneficial."
Scull, doubled her all-state distance from last year, to break free from a congested pack after two laps to win the 1,600 going away.
"It was the first outdoor mile I have ever run," said Scull, who was timed in 5:27.75 to win by nearly 12 seconds. "It was really slow in the beginning. I just tried to gap as fast as I could."
Corrin Adams is yet another St. Charles East athlete ready to make a statement on the state scene.
Adams and teammate Krista Fitzmaurice led the pack in the fast heat of the 800 for much of the race; Adams had enough in reserve in hold off a late push from St. Charles North senior Megan Young to frame her outdoor debut.
Fitzmaurice settled for fourth place.
Jess Glass in the 300 hurdles and Amanda Passaglia in the shot put added runner-up performances for the Saints.
St. Charles North was the lone school without a champion, but the North Stars were comfortably ahead of Glenbard East for third place behind consistency and depth.
Hannah Schilb made her case for one of the top area newcomers; the ninth-grader was second in both horizontal jumps before ending her afternoon with a fourth-place result in the 100 dash.
Schilb was one spot in front of teammate and Wisconsin-Whitewater-bound returning state qualifier Kaylee Raucci in the triple jump.
"I didn't think I could do it (that is, make an immediate impact)," Schilb said. "Kaylee had a bad day (in the triple jump). My coach (John Osmanski) helps a lot; he gives good tips."
"(Schilb) is multitalented," Osmanski said. "The problem right now is deciding what events to put her in."
Brittany Kostrzeski had another eight-point effort for St. Charles North with a runner-up performance in the 100 hurdles.
"I may have gotten a (personal record)," the junior said of her 16.56-second posting.
Sam Howard staked an early regular-season claim to elite status in the Class 2A discus by breaking her own school record to win the event with a throw of 136 feet, 2 inches.
The Western Michigan-bound five-time state qualifier in the two throwing events was also third in the shot put for Glenbard South.
"It was a really smooth throw, and I just kind of exploded at the end," Howard said.
"The wind kind of caught it to help as well."
The Raiders also swept the two hurdles events; Katelyn Hill, who also anchored the Raiders' 1,600 relay to victory, followed the Bailey Reese triumph at 100 meters to capture the 300 variety in 49.38 seconds.
Reese was third at the longer distance. Sarah Johnson was also runner-up at 400 meters for the Raiders.
But the unsung hero for Glenbard South was the relay brilliance of senior Kasia Gniatczyk, who provided Hill with a 20-meter cushion on the third leg of the Raiders' triumphant 1,600 relay.
"Coach (Mark) Tacchi told us that it's all down to this race to see who would win the invitational," said Gniatczyk, who earlier blazed past three teams on the anchor of the 800 relay for a critical third-place result. "We just went all out."
Highly-regarded Glenbard East freshman Lindsay Graham is the logical candidate to fill the considerable void left by the graduation of former state champion Lindsey Rakosnik (Illinois).
Graham made a lasting impression in the meet-opening 3,200 relay, eradicating a 50-meter deficit on the anchor leg to propel the Rams' quartet to first.
Graham also won the open 400.
"Basically, it was just adrenaline at the point," said Graham, whose coach Joe Latala had warned her before the race not to expend too much energy if her disadvantage was insurmountable. "Every time you step on the track you have to give it your all."
Anaiyeh Smith later anchored the Rams' 400 relay to another title.
Wheaton North received its lone championship from Sarah Cassel in the long jump.
Benet senior Audrey Blazek, an Illinois recruit, annihilated the field to win the 3,200 run by 35 seconds.
The Redwings also received a boost from freshman Lucy Zimmerman, who captured the triple jump.
"I was going into (the race) bound for effort," said Blazek, who competing for the first time this year. "When I saw the seeds I knew there weren't going to be a lot of people close to me."
Libertyville edged Conant by a mere point for fifth place.
The Wildcats' Marquette-bound Nicole Jaffke is a most atypical track and field performer.
The reigning state qualifier in the pole vault won her specialty event — despite making only her opening height of 10-6 — while also running the open 1,600 as well a leg of the Wildcats' 1,600 relay.
"I was hoping to score points for the team," said Jaffke. "I was not really happy with the mile (eighth) today. My goal (in the pole vault) was 11-9, which would have been a school record (which she currently owns). I put in a lot of extra time (in the running events during practice)."
Libertyville also had the distinction of sweeping the high jump.
Kelly Waldvogel was slightly better than Haley Becker to win by two inches.
The Wildcats' track mainstay was Carly Stewart.
The senior had a mad dash to finish third in the 800 while also anchoring two relays to respectable finishes.
"It's an improvement," Stewart said of her outdoor opener earlier this week. "I am getting better as the season progresses, so I am happy about that."
Stewart earned an academic scholarship to Vanderbilt University but is unsure if she will continue her running career next year.
Conant junior Jen Donnell has the delicate balancing act of juggling travel volleyball with her throwing regimen.
But the invitational defending champion in the shot put was in midseason form after hurling the shot 40-4 to win with ease.
Kate Prince and Donnell also had state-qualifying distances in the discus, 121-6 and 119-0, respectively, to place second and third in the event.
"I'm going to place at state this year (in the shot)," said Connell. "I was really happy with my performance (in both events) today. It was the first time I've broke 40 feet all season."
Conant sprinters Kyrah Sherrod and Daisy Okpa were runner-up and third in the 100 and 200 dashes for the Cougars.
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