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updated: 5/15/2013 7:17 PM

Spagnola seeks a hurdle sweep

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Emma Spagnola is seeking to do this weekend at the girls Class 3A state track and field championship what it took two former local athletes collectively to accomplish three years ago.

The West Aurora junior has had a sensational spring in going undefeated on the track in the two hurdle events.

Shanice Andrews captured the first state championship in program history for West Aurora with her triumph in the 100-meter hurdles in 2010.

Kathryn Warner became the second Batavia athlete in three years to capture the 300 hurdles later that afternoon at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Stadium in Charleston.

Spagnola, the top seed (14.2 seconds) in the shorter variety, is vying to sweep the two obstacle races after posting blistering times at the Blackhawks' sectional last week.

The four-time all-state performer has lost only once at 100 meters the last two years -- in the finals last spring by two one-hundredths of a second.

Spagnola has certainly caught the attention of several area coaches for her blend of athleticism, technical skill and inexorable drive.

"Spagnola is at another level," Aurora Central Catholic coach Troy Kerber said. "She is arguably one of the best athletes in the state."

West Chicago coach Bob Maxson has witnessed Spagnola capture 11 DuPage Valley Conference individual championships the last three years.

"(Spagnola) is a special athlete," Maxson said at the sectional last week. "The only other person in the state you can compare her to in the hurdles is (Lindbloom Texas A&M-bound state champion Shamier Little). And (Little) is in (Class) 2A."

"She is a coach's dream," West Aurora coach Teresa Towles said of her prized pupil. "She is so easy-going, so free-spirited. I know there are a lot of coaches who say if only they had her. But I have her."

West Aurora has high ambitions behind fellow all-state returnee Anita Saffa in the 100 dash as well as junior state veterans Kyla Walton (long jump) and Maya Marion (shot put).

"My expectations for all of them is to move down to the next day," Towles said. "I would like to finish in the top five (as a team)."

St. Charles East stunned West Aurora for the sectional crown, and the Saints enter the two-day state tournament with a viable opportunity of qualifying all four of its relays for the finals on Saturday.

"Right now, the goal is to qualify all four relays with the girls who ran at the sectional," St. Charles East coach Tim Wolf said of the Saints' four sectional-championship quartets. "(The 3,200 relay) is open for anyone to take (with defending champion and runner-up Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard West dismantling their lineups). You have to run on Friday like it's the last time you are going to run for the year."

Jordan Shead, Britney Williams and Torree Scull are past all-state performers for the Saints; the trio, with contributions from Corrin Adams, Kimberly Abels, Allison Chmelik, Elizabeth Chmelik and Lauren Towne, figure to be prominently featured.

Kathryn Adelman is the top bet for Geneva; the junior stunned Scull and Adams in the open 800 meters at West Aurora last week.

"Girls track has come a long way," Geneva coach Peter Raak said. "Magic happens at Eastern. (Adelman) is a tough cookie. She does not like to lose."

Batavia senior Skylar Schoen is one of the top seeds in the pole vault after clearing 11 feet, 3 inches at West Aurora.

St. Charles North freshman Hannah Schilb bested teammate Kaylee Raucci on the final attempt as the North Stars swept the triple jump at West Aurora.

"It was one of the great moments of my coaching career," St. Charles North coach John Osmanski said. "It was absolutely fabulous."

In Class 2A, Aurora Central Catholic runners Lisa Rodriguez (100, 200 dashes) and Karina Liz (400, 800) are in ideal positions.

"They're both running very well at this time of the year," Kerber said.

The Class 1A preliminaries start today as Lisle sectional champion Aurora Christian boasts three relays and nine individuals in eight events.

Burlington Central senior Katie Trupp is no stranger to the girls track and field state finals podium.

As a freshman she took fifth in the state in high jump and followed that up with a pair of medals sophomore year in the pole vault (sixth) and high jump (seventh).

Trupp will look to make it a 3-peat at this weekend's Class 2A state finals.

Trupp again qualified in the pole vault and high jump. She's seeded second in the pole vault after an 11-10 sectional showing. Bloomington Central Catholic's Sarah Bell is first at 13-0. She's tied for the third seed in the high jump at 5-4 (top seed is 5-6).

"I've been on the podium and now I want to go higher," she said. "I really want to get up there. I know I can do it. Now, it's just a matter of doing it. I have to stay with it, stay focused and keep my eye on the ball."

Trupp said things have come together nicely for her in the pole vault this season. She's gone 12-feet in the event and would like to go in the 12-3 to 12-6 range at state.

"Things are starting to click," she said. "I'm starting to get my technique down. Technique is important because you're inverted and you have to deal with the runway. I like training it. I like how the technique is something you have to learn and understand. It's fun to get out there and vault every day."

Trupp, who will continue her track and field career next season at Southern Illinois University (pole vault and high jump there), has gone as high as 5-6 in the high jump this year.

Trupp's event-mate Natalie Overstreet also qualified after clearing 9-9 at sectionals. She's tied for the eighth seed in that event.

Kayla Wolf is the third seed in the 800 in Class 2A after running 2:17.08 at the sectional. Wolf also is part of Central's 3,200 state relay team with Hannah Zipoy, Jane Crocetti and Liz Brake. Central sophomore Jasmine Castillo will run the 300 hurdles in Charleston.

-- Mike Miazga contributed to this story

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