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updated: 4/18/2014 12:16 AM

West Aurora's Spagnola sets state record

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Emma Spagnola scripted a new chapter to her track and field adventure Thursday night at Downers Grove North.

The West Aurora senior took only one attempt in the long jump, and the defending Class 3A girls champion in the event set the new outdoor state record with an effort of 18 feet, 9 inches.

Moving to the track, Spagnola, the defending runner-up in both hurdles races, dominated the field at the Ritter Invite by almost 2.5 seconds.

But Spagnola had a first at a major invite, winning the 100-meter dash by two-tenths of a second over Champaign Centennial speedster Dominique Lewis with a time of 12.46 seconds.

When teammate Kyla Walton placed runner-up to Spagnola in the 300 hurdles, West Aurora had 18 invaluable points to hold off stiff challenges from Prospect and Palatine.

Spagnola scored 40 of the Blackhawks' 108 points with her four individual titles as Prospect had to settle for runner-up status for the second straight year to defending champion West Aurora.

Palatine was third, a pair of points shy of the Knights' 100; Lyons Township edged Naperville Central for fourth, followed by York, Glenbard West, Lane Tech, Downers North, Champaign and Wheeling.

Spagnola, who nearly single-handedly brought West Aurora a trophy last year at the state meet, ran the back-to-back 100-meter events for the first time at a major invitational.

"I'm kind of used to doing (the quick turnaround) from practices," said Spagnola, the two-time reigning state runner-up in the 100 hurdles. "I was tired. It wasn't horrible. It was my first time doing anything since Prep Top Times."

Walton, the Blackhawks' Central Michigan-bound sprinter and jumper, scored in four different events for West Aurora.

Marquette recruit Maya Marion scored 14 points in the two throws, including runner-up in the shot put for West Aurora; Samaya Hunt was also runner-up in the discus for West Aurora.

Minnesota-bound Spagnola has one thought this season after Glenbard West denied the Blackhawks' for a point for third place last year at the state meet.

"We know we can definitely get a trophy, if not win state this year," said Spagnola, who jettisoned the high jump this year.

But the 100 dash may not be a permanent addition for Spagnola.

"Not necessarily," West Aurora coach Teresa Towles said. "We're going to be moving her around. I like this meet. It gives you an indication on what you need to improve upon."

Naperville Cental was handicapped without top distance runner Katie Hoffman.

One of three talented triplets for the Redhawks, the squad had to do battle behind its three returning all-state sprint relay members.

D'Jenne Egharevba, Lauren Erickson and Mary Beth Blank teamed with Sam Ward to claim titles at both 400 and 800 meters.

"It's very comforting," Blank said of having Egharevba and Erickson back. "We know each other so well from state (last year), especially with handoffs and stuff like that."

Blank, who edged Centennial senior Bertha Frazier by two one-hundredths of a second at 400 meters, also anchored the 800 relay as well as finishing second in the 200.

"We know how to react to each other," Erickson added. "(As the third leg) you want everyone to see your run. It was good pressure (tonight)."

Stephanie Urbancik, the last remaining link to the Downers North state-championship 3,200 relay quartet from three years ago, outdueled the Redhawks' Rachel Hoffman on the gun lap to give the host Trojans their lone win.

Urbancik was also in second place in the 400 dash.

"I wanted to win it for my team," said Urbancik, who has been all-state in the event all three years. "In my 800s this year I went out too fast and died at the end. I just felt great (tonight)."

Glenbard West was without the services of two-event state champion Madeline Perez as well as fellow all-state distance runner Lisa Luczak.

But the Hilltoppers did have Lindsay Graham in the fold.

The sophomore, fifth as a Glenbard East freshman last season, was essentially running a solitary race at 3,200 meters after breaking away early.

Graham dominated the event by almost 200 meters in winning in 10:47.43.

"I ran kind of alone at Illinois Prep Top Times," Graham said. "My time wasn't as good as I wanted. I want to be at 10:44. When (Perez and Luczak) come back, it will make it easier for me."

Abby Waltz claimed the lone title for York with her 10-foot clearance in the pole vault.

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