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.
Scull, all-state in the open 800, and Adams returned to qualify in the 800 run with their second- and third-place finishes.
“It was hard (deciding between the open 800 and 1,600 runs for the state series),” said Scull. “I love them both. We’re super excited.”
Towne was a surprise runner-up in the 200 dash for the Saints.
Williams earned another shot at an all-state bid at 400 meters, while Amanda Passaglia (shot put), Allison Chmelik (triple jump) and Gabrielle Pearce (pole vault) qualified in the field for St. Charles East.
Maddie Westerhoff hit the state-qualifying mark on the number to advance at 1,600 meters for the Saints.
For West Aurora, which dropped its second straight heartbreaker in as many weeks, Emma Spagnola is staking claims for program eternity.
The junior four-time state medal-winner pulverized the field in winning the 100 and 300 hurdle crowns in 14.2 and 44.28 seconds.
Spagnola used only one attempt in the long jump to place second in her third reigning all-state discipline as classmate Kyla Walton soared past the junior on her final attempt to help West Aurora sweep the event.
Skipping the high jump for the first time in her career, Spagnola run a blistering opening leg on the Blackhawks’ 1,600 relay to earn a ninth career state berth.
“I knew it would be better for the (relay) team,” Spagnola said. “I reached my goal of 14.2 (in the 100 hurdles). I want to be sub-14 at state.”
Saffa had little competition in cruising to the title in the 100 dash for the Blackhawks.
Maya Marion punched a return ticket for West Aurora in the shot put, as did its 400 relay.
Kaylee Raucci appeared to exorcise a season of nagging shin injuries when she took the lead in the triple jump for St. Charles North.
But the Wisconsin-Whitewater-bound senior had her sectional championship dashed by freshman teammate Hannah Schilb, who passed Raucci 36 feet, .75 inches to 35-9.75.
“I beat (Schilb) out by three inches, and then did the same to me,” said Raucci, the North Stars’ only returning individual state qualifier. “I’m glad that it was (Schilb). It was a (sense of both relief and excitement to qualify again).”
“It was my final attempt,” a beaming Schilb said.
The seventh-place North Stars also qualified Ashley England in the 3,200 run and their 3,200 relay.
Geneva junior Kathryn Adelman turned in one of the surprise triumphs of the night with her stunning win at 800 meters over the Saints’ Scull and Adams.
Adelman turned in one of the top times of the season with her 2:15.99 posting.
“They’re both great competitors,” Adelman said of her conference rivals. “I really went out to go for it.”
Geneva was slightly ahead of archrival Batavia with its three totals qualifiers as the Bulldogs settled for 10th.
But Batavia did have the last local champion in senior pole vaulter Skylar Schoen, who eclipsed 11-3 to win by a foot over four competitors.
Senior classmate Amy Gladis also qualified in the discipline for Batavia.
Rosary, for the second straight year — its last in Class 3A — was able only to qualify one relay.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.