CHARLESTON — Fraternal twins never looked so identical, with state championship medals providing the final accent pieces for Lakes’ sparkling sophomore duo of Brittani and Danielle Griesbaum.
There they posed proudly atop the awards podium Saturday morning, each sister with an arm wrapped around the other’s waist.
“We are actually dressed 100 percent alike today,” Danielle said on a hot day at O’Brien Stadium. “Same spikes and everything.”
Note the Griesbaums’ identical red-sequin headbands. Even their brown hair was braided similarly.
“She just felt comfortable last week in my spikes in practice, so she decided to take my old spikes,” Danielle said of Brittani.
“I had to hijack hers,” Brittani acknowledged. “They feel better than mine did.”
Saturday morning, the Griesbaum twins couldn’t have felt better after they along with junior Heather Hurlbut and freshman Kortney Schardt helped Lakes successfully defend its state title in the Class 2A 3,200-meter relay. Lakes, with Danielle anchoring, won going away, as the Eagles’ time of 9:27.08 easily bettered that of runner-up Montini (9:30.62).
Not that it looked easy, especially when Brittani, not long after grabbing the baton from third-leg Schardt, soon slid to the back of the pack.
In fact, by the time Brittani completed her first of two laps, she was in second-to-last place.
“(Danielle) thought that I was giving up,” Brittani said. “But I was like, ‘No, that’s my strategy.’
“When everybody sprinted by me, I was like, ‘Typical.’ ”
With Lakes coach Matt Rife and Eagles fans wondering when Brittani was finally going to make her move, she finally did with 250 meters to go. And when she placed the baton in her twin’s hand, Lakes was suddenly second. Brittani had employed similar strategy in Friday’s preliminaries, which saw Lakes secure the day’s top time.
“I told myself I was going to do the same as (Friday),” Brittani said. “Just basically go out, get in position, jog and if people pass me, don’t try to stay up with them because I don’t want to tire myself out.”
The strategy made sense.
“We’re sprinters,” Danielle said.
True enough. While runners in front of Brittani started tiring — just as she did in the prelims — she turned it on and started passing as if her competitors were stationary.
Danielle then took it home in a dominating final 800 meters.
And the fun was just starting for Lake County girls in the Class 2A competition.
A year after missing the entire outdoor season due to mono, Grayslake Central’s Claire Haggerty gave herself an early graduation present. A state qualifier as a sophomore, she earned the fourth-place medal in the 1,600 run (5:09.64).
“It feels good,” said a smiling Haggerty, who graduates today and in the fall will head to Illinois State, where she will swim competitively. “It’s a great way to finish off senior year. It’s been one heck of a year.”
Not that it was entirely injury-free for her, however.
“Sophomore year I had shin splints, so I was in the water most of the season,” Haggerty said. “Then this year I had some calf problems, and I had plantar fasciitis, but everything came together for this meet.”
Haggerty’s teammate Elsie Rehberg placed 11th in the 1,600 run (5:25.59).
Vernon Hills two-sport star Alli Tran completed her great prep career by finishing eighth in the 300 hurdles (45.22). She will attend the University of Wisconsin but will not compete track or gymnastics.
The pole vault results included Grayslake Central senior Cara Engel tying for eighth and Vernon Hills senior Taryn Rawles tying for 10th.
While Brittani Griesbaum also medaled in the long jump (fifth, 17-10.5), Lakes had one more significant highlight before the meet ended.
Competing in the 100 and 200 wheelchair dashes — a first-time endeavor by the IHSA — Eagles freshman Evelyn Felipez won a couple of state medals. She captured the 100 and took second in the 200, competing both races against Chicago Curie freshman Stella McMillan.
Springfield Southest rang up 66 points to easily outdistance runners-up Carbondale (39) and Walther Lutheran (39) for the Class 2A state championship.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.