CHARLESTON -- Kaylee Raucci had grander expectations for her final high school track and field meet.
The St. Charles North triple jumper, making her second consecutive appearance in the Class 3A state preliminaries on Friday, had designs on making the finals.
"Coming into this year, the pressure wasn't on my shoulders like it was last year," Raucci said.
There is little forgiveness in a field event with such high stakes.
"Only getting three jumps (in the preliminaries) makes it that much tougher," Raucci said.
Raucci ultimately would need to better her runner-up status from the West Aurora sectional by a manageable margin to advance, but the Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit fell short of her goal.
"It was my last chance," Raucci said. "I knew I could do better than I actually did. I guess I didn't run as fast (on the runway) as I needed to."
Raucci had as many head coaches as she had years under her belt on the North Stars' team the first three years in the program.
"It has been different every year," Raucci said. "I have always looked up to the seniors. This year I felt it was most important because I was a senior, and I could be a role model for the younger girls."
Raucci undoubtedly played a role in the development of her chief understudy: Hannah Schilb.
The North Stars' freshman cost her senior teammate a sectional championship on her final attempt at West Aurora last week.
"(Schilb) was scared to do the triple jump (initially)," Raucci said. "(The event) is kind of a weird movement to do. It's good that there is somebody who is going to be taking my place (in the triple jump)."
Schilb also failed to advance for St. Charles North.
West Aurora four-year stalwart Anita Saffa was given an early introduction to her collegiate destination in Charleston over the weekend.
"I committed (to Eastern Illinois) over spring break," said Saffa, who earned all-state recognition for the second straight year in the 100 dash.
But the Blackhawks' multiple county and DuPage Valley Conference sprint champion could only wonder what nagging injuries to her right Achilles' heel could have potentially meant for West Aurora.
The squad missed a state trophy by a point as Saffa was not able to run the 200 or 400 meters at the sectional.
"If I am healthy I would have done better," Saffa said after finishing sixth in the 100 dash. "There is nothing I can do about it."
Aurora Central Catholic freshman Karina Liz was denied becoming the third individual state champion in program history in the Class 2A 800 run on Saturday.
Rochelle senior Michelle Dobbs' state-record time of 2 minutes, 10.78 seconds sabotaged the Chargers' ninth-grader by slightly more than three seconds.
Liz had the unenviable task of trying to complete the 400-800 double this weekend, unquestionably one of the toughest twin events in the sport.
The 800 relay is the lone event between the sequence.
"The eight-four double, I would never advise to any athlete (attempting)," ACC coach Troy Kerber said. "Only a few (athletes) have ever done it successfully."
Liz, the Princeton sectional champion in both races, failed to qualify in the shorter version only minutes after winning her Friday preliminary at 800 meters.
"(Liz) ended up running a career best (2:13.93 in the finals)," Kerber said. "(The coaches) were real pleased with how she progressed from the beginning of the year until the end of the year."
The results from the unofficial indoor state championships can often be misleading as elite athletes skipping the event are commonplace.
But Aurora Christian senior Taylor Knauf bucked the trend when she added the Class 1A outdoor crown in the pole vault to her title in Bloomington in March.
"I was a little shaky at the beginning, but I pulled it together," Knauf said of her triumph over Reed-Custer sophomore Morgan Zacharias by seven inches. "It's my first time placing here."
The Illinois State-bound Knauf was limited by injuries for much of the outdoor season, only to round into shape with a sectional championship at Lisle that she parlayed into one of the Eagles' four state championships with her 12-foot-1 clearance in the finals.
Sarah Landau remains ensconced as the lone area state-record-holder in a girls track-and-field event.
But not before Lake Forest senior Carly Schmidt made three legitimate attempts to unseat the former two-time Geneva pole-vault state champion in the largest class.
The Auburn-bound Schmidt cleared 13 feet without a miss to dominate the Class 3A pole vault on Saturday, but her three attempts at 13-4 went unrewarded.
"I could never get it right," said Schmidt, who was trying to top the mark the former Miami of Ohio and Arkansas competitor set at the Class AA state meet in 2003 by an inch. "It was fun trying, though."