The St. Charles East girls track team watched helplessly two weeks as West Aurora garnered its fourth consecutive Kane County championship by more than 30 points.
But the Saints more than returned the favor Thursday night at the Blackhawks’ Class 3A sectional, winning all four relays and qualifying nine individuals to deny West Aurora its third postseason crown in the last four years.
The Saints’ Jordan Shead, who earlier won the open 400 meters, held off a late charge by West Aurora all-state sprinter Anita Saffa to capture the meet-closing 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 58.74 seconds.
The fourth relay championship enabled St. Charles East to hold off the Blackhawks by less than 2 points, 94-92.333, Thursday in Aurora under a near-incessant rain.
“We figured we would lose to (West Aurora) by 30 points,” St. Charles East coach Tim Wolf said of the Saints’ second straight team sectional championship. “They have been shooting for (a dominating relay performance) all year. I don’t have a lot of words.”
Running in various combinations all evening, the Saints’ Shead, Britney Williams, Kimberly Abels, Allison and Elizabeth Chmelik, Lauren Towne and Monika Stoskute won the three sprint relays.
“We had faith in one another,” Abels said. “We knew we could go out there and make it to state.”
Torree Scull and Corrin Adams powered the Saints’ 3,200 quartet to victory in 9:22.75 as St. Charles East headlined all six placing teams qualifying for the state meet at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston next weekend.
Banke Oginni has only one place she can possibly finish higher in the state shot put.
The Hoffman Estates junior, the reigning state runner-up, is primed to go after two-time defending state champion Emmonnie Henderson (Edwardsville) after unleashing a career-best.
In her third throw of the preliminaries, Banke uncorked the eight-pound shot 47-6.5 to better her previous career best by almost 11 inches.
The junior was runner-up in the discus to become Hoffman Estates’ sole two-event qualifier.
“I felt confident,” Oginni said. “I just went after it. The mental aspect of the shot is really good right now. The discus, it was hard to throw in the rain.”
The Hawks, who finished fifth with 50 totals points at the 17-team sectional, had to look the other side of the physical spectrum to locate its other champion.
Diminutive distance runner Meagan Biddle had the best seed time in the 1,600 run; the freshman did not show her older competitors any slack with a powerful kick over the last 220-plus meters.
Biddle overpowered Metea Valley junior Taylor Majher down the stretch to win the Hawks’ other title in 5:10.35.
“I was just thinking of (qualifying for) state,” Biddle said. “I wanted to make it for my team and make my coach, Dan Andersen, proud.”
Biddle also ran a leg on the Hawks’ third-place 3,200 relay team — joined by Reena Prabhu, Alondra Aguirre and anchor Elsabet Haile — for another state berth.
Hoffman Estates’ fifth-place team result was one better than Schaumburg.
The Saxons’ strength in recent years — the 3,200 relay — also proved fruitful as the quartet of Ali Gutt, Tori Capozziello, Maika Kumamoto and Erin Falsey was second only to St. Charles East with its 9:26.75 showing.
Gutt, a sophomore, became a two-event qualifier by making the time at 1,600 meters; classmate Caroline Kurdej doubled the distance in doing likewise with an 11:16.85 posting for Schaumburg.
But the most promising development for Schaumburg was the return of Darneisha Spann in both hurdles races.
The Saxons’ junior finished second to Emma Spagnola in both distances, the reigning state runner-up, and qualified to state in both.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.