With 17 seniors on his team, Glenbard South coach Mark Tacchi knows the Raiders might struggle a little next year.
But he's enjoying this group too much to worry about that.
The Raiders won their fourth consecutive Class 2A sectional, scoring 149 points to run away with the team title Friday in Glen Ellyn.
"We're peaking at the right time," Tacchi said. "There were times this season where I didn't know if we'd make it. But they keep battling. My girls battle. They're not always the most athletic looking, but they find a way to get the job done, and that's what's exciting around here. I just love watching them compete."
Walther Lutheran was second, 40 points behind the Raiders. Montini took third with 64 points, with Fenwick fourth at 50 points and St. Francis fifth with 41.
Two of the seniors Tacchi will be hard-pressed to replace next year, Samantha Howard and Tierra Wilson, finished 1-2 in the discus and then again in the shot put, Wilson passing Montini's Alex Sikora by a quarter of an inch with her final toss in the shot to earn the trip to Charleston next weekend.
"It's all I had, a quarter-inch," Wilson said. "It was so scary. I'm so proud of myself."
Howard had to overcome a sore back, winning the shot put despite a subpar distance, applying a heating pad between tosses.
"My back started hurting," said Howard, a four-year state qualifier. "It doesn't really happen often, but when it does you just have to fight through it."
"I know she really wants to be a state champion," Tacchi said. "I get chills thinking about it. I just hope it happens for her."
Howard and Wilson benefit from having a teammate to push and support them all the way.
"We're best-friend throwers," Wilson said. "A big bond, a good connection. She's a really good thrower. She inspires me, and we like to go against each other in practice so we can get better. And now we're just ready for state."
They'll have plenty of company in Charleston.
Raiders freshman Diane Lipa, another athlete Tacchi believes has state-title potential, won the 3,200 meters and qualified in the 1,600 with a third-place finish.
Katelyn Hill won the 100 dash and took second in the 300 hurdles.
Nicole Jordan's second-place finish in the high jump earned her a spot downstate, and Theresa Scheet cleared 9-foot-3 in the pole vault to qualify for Glenbard South.
The Raiders won the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays, and their third-place finish in the 3,200 relay was good enough to advance.
Montini coach Pete Connelly was disappointed with the Broncos' performance despite the third-place finish. The 3,200 relay team advanced with its second-place finish, Theresa Connelly made it in the 800 and Gianna Salzbrunn qualified in the 300 hurdles.
Theresa Connelly just missed advancing in the 300 hurdles.
"She didn't make it in the hurdles, and two weeks ago it looked like that was going to be her best event," her coach and father said.
St. Francis coach Scott Nelson saw the positives in his Spartans' fifth-place finish.
"We were like 16th out of 18 last year," Nelson said. "Now we're moving up. Now we're heading back north, we're back where we're supposed to be. We outperformed where we're supposed to be."
The Spartans registered 15 personal bests despite the frigid weather.
"You can't ask for much more than this," Nelson said.
The Spartans had two qualifiers: Meghan McShea was second in the 3,200 run, and Amanda Nunley took second in the 100 hurdles.