Girls track and field / State meet preview, Northwest
Where: O'Brien Stadium at Eastern Illinois in Charleston
When: Friday preliminary events: Class 2A field events 8:30 a.m., running events 9:00 a.m.; Class 3A field events 12:00 p.m., running events 12:55 p.m. Saturday Class 1A, 2A, 3A finals 10:00 a.m.
Team outlook: Senior Aaliyah Brown will set the tone for heavy Class 3A favorite Lincoln-Way East. Brown will be the favorite in the 100 and 200, while the Griffins will be hard to match in the 400 relay. Lincoln-Way East also will field a strong 800 relay and 1,600 relay squad. But defending Class 3A champion Edwardsville cannot be counted out, especially with senior Emmonnie Henderson leading the way in the shot put and discus.
Prospect: Catherine Sherwood (long jump), Erin Reese (shot put/discus), Alicia Nicolau (shot put), Lauren Poplawski (800), Christina Santiago (1,600), Brooke Wolfe (1,600), 400 relay, 3,200 relay. Poplawski, Santiago, and Wolfe helped lead the Knights to a third-place finish in the 3,200 relay last year. Prospect qualified in 9:41.54, but look for a big drop in time this weekend. Prospect has won seven consecutive state medals in the 3,200 relay; could this be the year for a state title? Poplawski and Santiago will also be in the hunt for individual medals. Reese and Sherwood have set the tone all season in the field events.
Palatine: Meg Jump (long jump/triple jump), Meg O'Brien (shot put/discus), Sabina Yosif (3,200), Jessica Lincoln (3,200), Cassidy McPherson (800), Cailtin Riedy (300 low hurdles), Liz Cox (1,600), Tess Wasowicz (1,600), 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay. The Pirates are also primed for a big 3,200 relay. Cox and Wasowicz led a late surge to push the Pirates to 9:22.65, and that time will definitely drop if McPherson is added to the relay. Palatine also has a lot of history in the 3,200 relay, having earned eight consecutive state medals; count the Pirates among the favorites for a state title. Jump is looking to finish off a strong career, and McPherson, Cox, and Wasowicz will be in the hunt for individual honors.
Barrington: Anna Cossio (high jump), Rachel Simon (3,200), Cary Reynolds (1,600), McCall Braun (100 high hurdles), Samantha Babiuk (400), 800 relay, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay. A young Fillies squad has made quite a push this season. Babiuk and Cossio teamed with Lauren Cropsey and Stephanie Bergren to power the 1,600 relay. Simon and Reynolds have helped pace the distance squad.
Hoffman Estates: Banke Oginni (shot put/discus), Meagan Biddle (1,600), 3,200 relay. Oginni enters with the second-best mark in the shot put (47-06.5). Last year she finished second in Class 3A. Biddle has had an impressive freshman season, including a 5:02.9 in the 1,600.
Schaumburg: Caroline Kurdej (3,200), Ali Gutt (1,600), Darneisha Spann (100 high hurdles/300 low hurdles), 3,200 relay. Both Kurdej and Spann are coming back from injuries for the Saxons. Spann is making up for lost time in qualifying in both hurdle events; she has the sixth-best qualifying mark in the 100 highs (14.91). Keep an eye out for the Saxons' 3,200 relay team that qualified with the sixth-best mark (9:26.75).
Wheeling: Sydney Keith (100/200), 400 relay. Keith has really put it together for her final season qualifying with the fourth-best time in the 100 (12.23). Keith combined with freshman Katherine Kowalski, sophomore Alexa Laureano, and senior Angela Reinhart in setting a school record and qualifying for state in the 400 relay (49.64).
Rolling Meadows: Morgan Keller (shot put/discus). Keller enters with the second-best mark in discus (150-02) and third best mark in shot put (44-02.5). The senior already has five state track medals and she will be looking to add two more this weekend.
Hersey: Erica Hill (long jump), Kelly Hill (pole vault). Erica Hill took won the sectional title in the long jump (16-10.5).
Buffalo Grove: Kaitlyn Ko (3,200). Ko made all-state in cross country with a 22nd place finish. The Bison freshman has had no letdown in track.
Conant: Jennifer Donnell (shot put/discus), Tracy Iroegbulem (200). Donnell qualified for the second consecutive year for shot put and discus and joins a talented group of throwers from the Mid-Suburban League.
St. Viator: Hanna Winter (800, 1,600), Meghan Carroll (1,600). Winter will cap a brilliant running career for the Lions and figures to be a threat in the 800 and 1,600.
-- Michael Eaken