Hoffman Estates senior Banke Oginni made quite an opening statement at the Mid-Suburban West girls track triangular at Palatine on Tuesday.
Oginni has already earned three state medals the past two seasons in the shot put and discus, and she added to her accomplishments by taking first in the shot put at the Illinois Prep Top Times Meet on March 29 with a meet record throw of 47-09.5. The IPTT meet is considered an unofficial indoor state meet.
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The Wisconsin-bound senior didn't have a letdown in her first outdoor meet, taking first in both shot put (45-8) and discus (118-3), setting herself up for a big final high school season.
"It's a really good place to start," said Oginni, who also holds the Hawks' school outdoor shot put record (47-6). "I don't feel any pressure; indoor state was a good showing. I think everything is going to come together and now it's just a waiting game."
Palatine also jumped out to a good start, taking first in 12 of the 18 events to earn the MSL West triangular victory with 93 points under mild conditions at Chic Anderson Stadium.
Hoffman Estates took second with 59 points, followed by Schaumburg with 14 points.
Palatine earned victories in the 400 relay (51.1), 1,600 relay (4:18.3), and 3,200 relay (10:25.2), and sophomore Katie O'Brien opened a few eyes with an impressive victory in the 800 (2:16.4) to lead the MSL indoor champions.
"It was nice to get back at it," said Palatine coach Joe Parks. "Everyone is looking to come together at the right time and obviously looking for pieces throughout the season."
One of those pieces is O'Brien, who capped a breakout cross country season with a sixth-place finish in Class 3A. The Pirates sophomore came on strong in the final lap to earn the victory in the 800, setting the stage for bigger things as the season progresses.
"Cross country season definitely gave me confidence," said O'Brien. "It gave me new goals to set. Today was a good learning experience."
Junior Ashley Proska also stepped up for the Pirates, taking first in the long jump (16-1) and 200 (27.0). Junior Megan Thabuteau took first in the triple jump (33-5) and high jump (5-0).
"We're strong in the jumps," Proska said. "The team is strong and we're coming together."
Senior Liz Cox added a first-place finish in the 3,200 (11:37.7), while junior Basiret Iginla took first the 400 (1:02.4) and junior Caitlin Reidy added a first-place finish in the 300 low hurdles (48.0).
Hoffman Estates sophomore Meagan Biddle gave the Hawks a big lift in the 1,600, winning in 5:07.6. She turned it on in the final lap, passing Schaumburg junior Erin Falsey (5:08.5) and Palatine senior Cassidy McPherson (5:13.8) to take the title.
Biddle also finished second in the 800 (2:20) in an impressive season opener.
"It was a good race and I just wanted to see what I could do in that final lap," said Biddle, who is emerging as one of the top distance runners in the MSL. "I feel like I'm improving and the team has really helped me a lot."
Senior Shayan Dussard took first in the 100 (12.6), added a second-place finish in the 200 (27.1) and helped lead the Hawks to a victory in the 800 relay (1:50.6). Senior Esther Cho added a first-place finish in the pole vault.
Falsey led a less-than-full-strength Schaumburg squad that is missing senior Darniesha Spann. She is out with a leg injury but is hoping to return by late April.
Falsey's previous best mark in the 1,600 was 5:25, but the junior found an extra gear on Wednesday, briefly taking the lead in the final lap before finishing in second place while shaving 17 seconds from her previous personal record.
"I felt really strong," said Falsey who is primed for a big season. "I really surprised myself."