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updated: 3/29/2014 11:36 PM

Van Vlierbergen breaks meet record in 800

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By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON -- Even after her race was over at the Illinois Prep Top Times meet at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, the full meaning wasn't quite sinking in.

The 800-meter run for Jacobs junior Lauren Van Vlierbergen was just that good.

As the race began to evolve, Van Vlierbergen pulled further and further away from the pack. The only thing left to resolve wasn't whether she would win the race, but by how much, and just how fast.

Moments later the time of 2:11.80 flashed on the scoreboard. Van Vlierbergen had won in an all-class meet record time, erasing the mark set by McKinzie Schulz of Benet Academy of 2:12.36 from 2009.

"I just wanted to take it out as fast as I could," VanVlierbergen said. "I couldn't believe (the time). I was shocked and it was way better than what I would have expected."

Record-breaking efforts weren't limited to the track. Wisconsin-bound Hoffman Estates senior Banke Oginni dominated the shot put, leaving little doubt as to who the favorite in Class 3A will be at the state meet in May.

Oginni tossed the shot 48-0, besting the Class 3A mark set by Daniella Bunch of Mahomet Seymour in 2008 and the all-class record set by Kelsey Card of Carlinville in 2011 of 47-9.

"I was having so much fun today," Oginni said. "I talked with my coach about getting my first throw out there to set things up. After I did that, it calmed my nerves."

Oginni had company on the medal stand from the Hawks' 3,200 relay. The team of Alondra Aguirre, Elsabet and Solome Haile set the table for sophomore Meagan Biddle to bring it home. Into the final 55 meters of the race, Biddle caught and passed the Yorkville runner to give the Hawks an event win in 9:30.51.

"I knew it was going to be a tough race the whole time," Biddle said. "I really had to push it there at the end. The girl from Yorkville ran a great race."

One of the top individual performances of the afternoon came from Aurora Central Catholic sophomore Karina Liz. She won the 400 (58.87) and the 800 (2:17.48) in personal-best efforts in both races.

Another dominant individual performance came from Glenbard West sophomore Lindsay Graham. Running alongside one of the best distance runners in the state in Madeline Perez, Graham ran away from the field in the 3,200 to win comfortably in 10:44.98.

Add to that dominating performance was the effort from St. Charles East to close out the meet in the 1,600-relay. Casey McNichols, Corrin Adams, Jordan Shead, and Allison Chmelick ran a solid 3:59.72 to win the event by nearly 4 seconds.

Other individual winners included Chmelick winning the triple jump with a best effort of 37-5.25 and Prospect's Jes Skudlarek winning the high jump with a best mark of 5-6.

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