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Article updated: 5/4/2013 12:12 AM

Glenbard West goes the distance for 2nd place

By Kevin McGavin

The West Suburban Silver has a distance pedigree few, if any, conferences can equal in girls track and field.

Friday night in Western Springs, York senior Emma Fisher, a Stanford recruit, and Hinsdale Central returning all-state 1,600-meter runner Jill Hardies, bound for North Carolina, expected to give reigning Class 3A cross country champion Madeline Perez a run for her money.

But the Glenbard West junior ended all the suspense by the 800-meter mark, creating an insurmountable gap between the two seniors in breaking the 29-year-old conference record in the event.

"I am extremely honored," said Perez, who was timed in 4:57.15. "Kudos to (Fisher). I know what it's like. It's never easy to run the 1- and the 2-(mile) the same night. The big focus at conference is to get as many points as you can for the team."

Host Lyons Township, behind its powerhouse field-event lineup headlined by reigning state-champion high jumper Emma Haugen, defended its championship with a 134.75-122.75 victory over the Hilltoppers.

Downers North was third, followed by York, Hinsdale Central, Proviso West and Oak Park-River Forest.

Perez reteamed with reigning state runner-up relay members Emma Reifel and Julia Sakach to prevail against Downers North, which has two remaining links of its 3,200 state championship from two years in Gaby Hesslau and Stephanie Urbancik.

Reifel returned to her specialty, the 800 meters, and broke free from a congested pack over the last 200 meters to remain undefeated on the season at the distance.

The Wisconsin-bound Reifel was also runner-up at 400 meters; she and Perez also ran legs on the Hilltoppers' 1,600 relay, which was denied by Downers North for first.

"In meets like this, when I know I'm going to be doing four events, it's going to be challenging," said Reifel, who ran a 2:14.6 split on the anchor of the 3,200 relay. "I was going more for place and not worrying about time."

Sophomore Emma Gambol swept the fields at both 100 and 200 meters to earn the status of fastest girl in the conference.

"That's talent there," Glenbard West coach Kelly Hass said of Gambol, who was runner-up in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the triple jump. "She scored 30 points for us."

Downers Grove North crowned two individual champions as Urbancik turned back Reifel for the 400-meter crown; Rebecca Ridderhoff was well ahead of Gambol to win the 300 hurdles in 46.53 seconds.

Fisher won the 3,200 in 10:38.54 for York, which secured its other championship from its 800 relay.

Hinsdale Central senior Cara Tenerelli won the 100 hurdles.

Hardies is returning from a stress fracture in her left foot.

"People will say, 'You were third in the conference (in the 1,600)?'" said Hardies, the last scoring link to the Red Devils' 2010 state championship team. "But (Perez and Fisher) are among the tops in the nation."

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