Cary-Grove junior Morgan Schulz said one of her shins has been giving her trouble. We should all hope to do as well with our own health problems.
Schulz won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, the 800-meter run and ran a split time of 24.97 seconds in her anchor leg of the Trojans' victorious 800 relay, earning female athlete of the meet honors at Naperville North's coed Gus Scott Invitational on Thursday.
Sweeping the three heats of girls 100-meter hurdles along with Nicole Robins and Eva Burk, and adding a high jump sweep with Erika Sternard, Robins and Bobbie Buerer plus a first-place A-flight long jump win by Faith Furio, Cary-Grove won the girls portion of the meet for the fourth time in five years. The Trojans outlasted distance queens Naperville North, 349-313.
Running her second 800 race -- her first was at Buffalo Grove's 160-yard indoor track this winter -- Schulz approached a school record with her time of 2 minutes, 17.62 seconds.
"It was really fun," she said. "I was just going in with no expectations, which was kind of nice, just to run it to have fun and see what I could do. And it turned out well."
It was the first time she'd competed in four events, she said.
"The first couple meets my coach (Mark Anderson) has been putting me in maybe like two or three events just because I've had shin problems," Schulz said after her relay run. "So he wanted to keep the load light at the beginning. And now, this is the first meet where I've actually ran four. It's catching up to me. The hard part was going right from the (800) to the four-by-two. That was really rough."
Jacobs junior Josh Walker made it really tough on Waubonsie Valley's Tony Durns in the 100-meter dash of the boys meet, which was won by Oak Park with 306 points.
Walker just barely got beat out at the wire, trailing Durns' 11.13 seconds by just .05. Walker got the upper hand on the field later, winning the 200 in 22.40. It took awhile for Golden Eagles coach Jason Borhart to come up with a better Jacobs sprinter in recent years, before he came up with J.M. Saucedo, in 2008.
On the girls' side, Jacobs senior Kala Giuliano was the only female to break a minute in the 400 meters, winning in 59.75 seconds.
Jacobs' Lauren Van Vlierbergen entered the meet with the fastest seed time in the 1,600 run. She left the meet the fastest as well, going out in 1:10 and finishing in 1:14 with a complete time of 4:56.94.
Van Vlierbergen had St. Charles East's Toree Scull two meters behind her the first 1,200 meters, then found another gear that had her winning by more than eight seconds.
"I didn't save anything," she said. "I was kind of going and then on the 400 I just, like, went all-out. I started my kick really early. Normally I don't start it at the 400, but I decided to go."
St. Charles East competed without the services of star sprinter Jordan Shead, home sick according to Saints coach Tim Wolf, and Elizabeth Chmelik, regrouping from hip trouble.
So in came Elizabeth's identical twin sister, Allison, to sub for Shead in the 200 and provide one of St. Charles East's highlights with a win at 25.89 seconds. It was unconfirmed in Naperville, but that fully-automated time may have broken the Saints' school record of 25.7 seconds recorded on a stopwatch. Chemlik also won the triple jump at 36 feet, 7 inches, and ran on second-place 400 and 800 relays.
"I was going to do long jump instead, but now I replaced it with the 200, which I actually was glad about," she said. "I didn't really know what to expect. My coach just told me to get out of the curve fast like a 100 and the other 100 just give the rest that you have. So, I tried to do that."
A real treat for St. Charles East, which placed third among girls teams, was the capping 1,600-meter relay. The foursome of Casey McNichols, Lauren Towne, Anastasia Honea and Corrin Adams -- none of whom were on the Saints' Class 3A 1,600 relay champion in 2013 -- won in a crackling time of 4:03.75, 10 seconds faster than runner-up Naperville North. St. Charles East's time is the second fastest in Illinois this season, according to Dyestat, following only O'Fallon's 4:02.05.
The Gus Scott Invitational started a lot like the past couple girls state cross country meets have gone -- a lot of Naperville North runners near the front.
It began with a victorious run by the Huskies' 3,200-meter relay team of Jenny Gibson, Emory Griffin, Ella Guppy and Maria McDaniel -- who showed she's got fast-twitch fibers as well with a second-place long jump finish in the three-level coed meet.
Then came the three heats of the girls' open 3,200 -- claimed by Naperville North's Judy Pendergast and the Hamilton sisters, Claire and Emily. The hits kept on coming until finally, after Jenny Smith and Griffin won their heats of the 800, four-event winner Morgan Schulz of Cary-Grove ended the Huskies' distance brigade in the A-level of the 800.
Emily Hamilton, who helped Naperville North's girls team to a second-place finish behind Cary-Grove, 349 points to 313, said there's not much deviation between cross country and track in Husky land.
"The main goal is just to make sure that you're running you're best and doing your best to always improve," she said. "Obviously it's different from cross country to indoor track and outdoor track, but it's still generally the same -- just always focus on what you can do to improve and how you can run your best."
That was mirrored on the boys side when Naperville North's Jake Pecorin won the A-level of the 3,200 in 9 minutes, 31.83 seconds, with Kerry Gshwedntner running the third-fastest overall time, 9:35.53.
"He's had a huge (personal record)," Huskies boys distance coach Dave Racey said of Pecorin. "Last year as a junior we were kind of struggling in the high 9:40s and couldn't get through that barrier. That's kind of how distance running goes, when you just kind of hammer away, hammer away, hammer away and eventually it breaks through."
Another Naperville North girl, Stephanie Mueller, continued her hot spring. She matched Cary-Grove's Erika Sternard in high jump at 5 feet, 2 inches, and blasted the opposition in pole vault at 11-6 -- three feet higher than any other girl and just six inches shy of the winning boy.
"Everything's coming together," said the 5-foot-4 senior. "I'm starting to grip up higher on my poles, getting on to bigger poles, my form's coming together. It's just really nice that everything clicks because now I'm getting to new heights."
Waubonsie Valley's identical 400- and 800-meter relay teams of Tatianna Moore, Alyssa Post, Dana Dwyer and anchor Brion Hughes broke through twice, winning both events. Sweeping the three 100 dashes with Moore, Hughes and Post, and also sweeping discus with a huge 133-foot throw by Ajah Hughes, Waubonsie's girls followed St. Charles East for fourth place.
The Warrior boys saw Tony Durns win the 100 and his heat of the 200, Durns winning the short sprint out of lane 7 in a time of 11.13 seconds.
"Honestly, my thoughts going in, just run my race and I'll be fine," Durns said. "Because I know I was fast, but I didn't have a good time since I didn't run a meet last week. So I was just thinking to myself, run my race and I'll be fine."
Waubonsie, third among boys team standings behind Oak Park and New Trier, got wins in the 110 hurdles by sophomore Tyler Kirkwood, by James Travis in triple jump and by Jon Harris in shot put. It was nice revenge by Harris, who entered discus as the top seed, but came up five inches behind Benet's Stephen Hubona, the winner at 163 feet, 6 inches.
Wheaton Academy had never been to the Gus Scott before. The Warriors got off to a good start with Brandon Lach sixth overall in the 3,200, and had state-qualifier Matt Ruff going in the 400. The senior got chased down by Oak Park's Chris Wright-Madison, named the outstanding male athlete of the meet.
"I knew there'd be a couple fast guys, I just wanted to prepare for that," Ruff said. "Also my hamstring's been bothering me, so I knew I had to give it my all, but I didn't want to pull anything. But you sort of don't realize that in the middle of the race, so I think that was good, because I ran really well I thought."