The Jacobs 3,200-meter relay team made quite a statement Friday at the Class 3A state girls track and field finals in Charleston.
The quartet of Molly Barnes, Tori Tamburrino, Sam Baran and Lauren VanVlierbergen won its heat and clocked the fastest time of all 3A teams at 9:16.19.
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The Golden Eagles will take a shot at school history in today's finals. No Jacobs girls individual or relay team has won a track state title. LaShawna Canty came the closest taking second in the high jump in 1998 and 1999.
The closest to Jacobs Friday were Palatine (9:16.63) and Prospect (9:19.87).
"We've been tapering the past few weeks and have slowed down our mileage," Tamburrino said. "We've let our legs relax. We all felt good going into the race."
"We had a lot of determination," said Barnes, who like Tamburrino is a senior. Baran and VanVlierbergen are sophomores. "Everyone was really focused. We all were ready."
Barnes said things really kicked into high gear when Baran and VanVlierbergen took the baton on the third and fourth 800 legs.
"When Sam and Lauren had their legs we saw something happening," she said.
Tamburrino and company are looking forward to today's finals.
"We know there is a lot of good competition," she said. "We're going to do the best we can. If we ended up winning, that would be awesome."
VanVlierbergen won her heat of the 1,600 in 4:55.40 and advanced to today's finals. Her time trailed only Glenbard West standout Madeline Perez (4:52.21). Prospect's Christina Santiago was a close third overall at 4:55.72.
The roll call of Fox Valley area finals qualifiers didn't stop with Jacobs.
Cary-Grove had three individuals qualify with Faith Furio finishing fourth in her heat of the long jump at 17 feet, 7 ½ inches and advancing.
"I wasn't expecting to make finals," she said. "It was a nice surprise. I was focused on getting my PR and not focused on the finals and that put me at ease. I wasn't stressed out about it. My first jump I was a little off, but by the third one I felt like I was at full speed."
The Trojans' discus tandem of freshman Nikki Freeman and Olivia Roehri advanced with Freeman placing fifth in Flight 4 at 122-4 and Roehri taking seventh in the same flight at 120-03. All seven Flight 4 competitors advanced.
"I stayed calm even though it was the state meet," Roehri said. "I tried to act like it was a regular meet and I was going to walk in and do what I needed to do to qualify for the finals."
Roehri said Eastern Illinois University's new throwing ring presented challenges for throwers.
"It hasn't been thrown on much. It was very slick," she said. "I tried to focus on my technique and I slowed down a little bit."
Freeman said nerves were only a factor for her Thursday night.
"The nervousness hit me the night before," she said. "During the meet I didn't feel it."
Joslyn Nicholson is Cary-Grove's other finals qualifier. She took fifth in Flight 4 of the triple jump with a qualifying mark of 36-9 ¼.
"I was a little nervous," she said. "I scratched my first jump and got down on myself a little. One thing I need to work on a little is my landing and holding my phases a little bit. Now that I'm in the finals I have a lot of confidence and I'll be looser than I was. Being around all these girls and this competition pushes me a lot more. It will make me want to do even better."
Huntley will have senior Omo Tseumah in the high jump finals and Anthonia Moore in the 400 finale. Teseumah tied for the top height on the day at 5-4, while Moore qualified in the 400 with a third-place 56.95 in Heat 3.
Tseumah said the actual qualifying height was lowered down to 5-2 during the competition after a dearth of jumpers made the higher 5-4 mark.
"There are a lot of girls going to the finals," Tseumah said. "I felt really good going into (Friday). I didn't let my nerves get to me. I calmed myself and told myself I could go up to the bar like it was any regular Monday meet. My approach was good and my knee drive wasn't messy. My jumps felt right."
Huntley's Delaney Lyman tied for sixth in her flight of the pole vault at 10-0 and did not advance. Teammate Macy Tramblay was fourth in her heat of the 100 high hurdles at 15.28.
Cary-Grove's Erika Sternard went 5-0 in the high jump and did not qualify. The Trojans' 800 relay team was fifth in its flight at 1:44.44. A 1:44.23 qualified out of its heat.
In Class 2A, both Burlington Central and Hampshire will be well accounted for in today's finals.
Central's Kayla Wolf finished second overall in the 800 with a finals-qualifying time of 2:15.86. She trailed only Marengo's Allie Sprague (2:15.85). Wolf came in seeded third in the event.
Teammate and three-time state-qualifier Katie Trupp advanced in both the pole vault (10-3) and high jump (5-2). She finished tied for first in her flight in both events.
"I had some lazy jumps," Trupp admitted. "I was kind of conserving energy. I didn't go all out like I could have. My main focus was getting myself in the finals. The pole vault was kind of the same. I felt good in warm-ups and felt good vaulting."
Trupp, who has multiple state medals to her credit, said her intensity level will kick up a few levels today.
"I will definitely be working a lot harder," she said. "I can't wait for (the finals). We'll see who can get those higher heights."
Trupp's pole-vaulting teammate Natalie Overstreet also reached 10-3 and advanced.
"I did really well," said Overstreet. "I'm very happy with it. I didn't know if I was going to be able to get up on the bigger pole, but it helped me clear 10-3."
Overstreet would like to get in the 10-3 to 10-6 range today.
"I'm going to go as high as I can go," she said. "If I can get a medal, that would be cool, too."
Hampshire's Ashley Fouch was second in her heat of the 400 at 56.87 and had the third-fastest time in the event on the day.
Teammate Jenny Dumoulin will compete in the shot-put finals after taking seventh in Flight 4 with a throw of 38-6. All eight competitors from her flight advanced.
Hampshire's 1,600 relay team was the only of the team's four quartets in Charleston to move on to today's competition. The team of Elizabeth Evans, Nikki Dumoulin, Elizabeth Pagan and Fouch ran 3:59.01 finishing only behind Galesburg (3:58.77) in the flight. Evans and Nikki Dumoulin are freshmen. Pagan is a junior.
Hampshire's 3,200 relay was eighth in its flight at 9:59.71, while the 400 team was seventh at 50.09. The 800 relay team was eighth in its flight at 1:48.53.
Central's Jasmine Castillo was fourth in her flight of the 300 hurdles at 46.86. The Rockets' 3,200 relay team placed 10th in its heat at 10:25.69.
Harvest Christian freshman Hannah Nelson will compete in the Class 1 A 1,600-meter finals today. Nelson is Harvest's first state finals qualifier.