The Cary-Grove girls track team's strong depth was on full display recently.
The Trojans won the eight-team Buffalo Grove invitational last weekend and also competed well in a Fox Valley Conference triangular with Woodstock North and Huntley before running in the Gus Scott Invitational at Naperville North Thursday night.
"We have had many athletes hit or come close to the state-qualifying marks in many events in our first two meets," said Cary-Grove coach Mark Anderson.
In the Huntley-Woodstock North meet, Nikki Freeman (127 feet) and Olivia Roehri (118-0) both surpassed the state cut in the discus.
At Buffalo Grove, Morgan Schulz (15.0) and Eva Burk (15.1) were strong in the 100 hurdles, while Schulz ran 45.9 in the 300 low hurdles. Erika Sternard cleared 5-4 in the high jump. All of those efforts exceeded minimum state standards.
The Cary-Grove 800 relay team of Faith Furio, Nicole Robins, Burk and Schulz ran 1:47.0, about a second away from state-qualifying time. In the jumps, Delaney Perrone went 35-7 in the triple (1 inch away from state standard) and Furio went 17-0 in the long jump, just a half-foot away from the state standard.
"The girls are hard workers and show up ready to compete hard at all of our meets," said Anderson. "While many athletes on the team have shown state-level ability, there have been a number of athletes who have really stepped up their performances and been big point-scorers for us."
Anderson pointed to sophomore Nicole Robins as one of those point-earners in the high jump during the indoor season. Sabrina Mishall and Sarah Kramer have made progress in the pole vault, "even though we've really had no way to vault during the winter outside of our indoor meets," Anderson noted.
Senior Lauren Schoepke and junior Bridget Lauritsen have only added to the team's depth in the 400, along with sophomore Allie Renner. The trio finished 1, 2 and 3 at Buffalo Grove.
"That gives us some strength in an even t that has been weak for us for a few years," said Anderson.
Maggie Cherveny, a sophomore, was cited for improvement in the triple jump. She hit the high 33s at Buffalo Grove.
Streamwood update: Streamwood junior Gabby Juarez recently ran 11:07 in the 3,200.
"She was virtually by herself the entire race," said Streamwood coach Nicole Osolin.
Juarez also ran 5:03 in the 1,600 indoors this season, which lowered the Streamwood school record by 17 seconds.
"She'll look to bring it down even further at our meet Saturday in Schaumburg," said Osolin.
Dundee-Crown update: Sophomore Kayla Lawrence had a strong start to the outdoor season by posting a 15.7 in the 100 hurdles, a 49.2 in the 300 hurdles and a 16-6 in the long jump.
"She is picking up in the hurdles right where she left off last season," said D-C coach Christine Hopkins-Muehl. "Long jumping is new for her this year."
Senior Emily Michalski has earned a personal best in both the long jump (15-9½) and triple jump (31-7½) early in the season, while freshman Kayla Leal notched a PR in the triple jump at 29-2¼. Junior Anette Woolf had a PR 87-10 in the discus.
Jacobs update: The Golden Eagles recently placed second at the Riverside-Brookfield Bulldogs Relay invitational.
At R-B, senior Megan Jameson won the triple jump at 32-6. Senior Erin Jameson was third in the triple jump at 31-9.
Other notables thus far this season for the Golden Eagles include: sophomore Caliegh Walsh going 16-11 in the long jump and 46-2 in the 300 hurdles.
The Jacobs 3,200 relay team of Molly Barnes, Kayla Giuliano, Taylor Bona and Lauren Van Vlierbergen has clocked in at 9:44.1, while Van Vlierbergen has gone 2:14.13 in the 800 and 4:55.2 in the 1,600.
"Lauren was able to run a 2:14.3 at the Prep Top Times indoor meet and then a 4:58 in the 1,600 with 30 minutes of rest between," said Jacobs coach Ryan Lemanski.
Sophomore sprinter Holly Alessio went 13.1 in the 100 filling in for Taylor Bradford at an invite.
"Holly just solidified her spot on the 400 varsity relay team," said Lemanski, who noted Alessio normally competes at the junior-varsity level.
Sophomore Kristina Diana went 79-0 recently in the discus after just learning how to throw in the event.
Additionally, Walsh is only two seconds away from the state standard in the 300 hurdles, while Giuliano impressed recently with a 59.7 split in the 1,600 relay after coming back from a big injury. Bona has reduced her 1,600 time from 6:10 last year to 5:40 this year.
"Taylor is telling me she is afraid of no one this year," said Lemanski.
Megan Jameson is jumping near state-qualifying marks in the triple jump.
"Megan walked onto the team this year," said Lemanski. "She used to be an Irish dancer and now is jumping almost state-qualifying marks."
Freshman Rachel Holstein has gone 5-2 in the high jump and 15-4 in the long jump.
South Elgin update: The Storm placed eighth out of 14 teams at the Upstate Eight Conference indoor meet and also won its first outdoor meet against the other U-46 schools and West Chicago. South Elgin recently took 10th at the Plainfield North relay meet.
Key performers of late for South Elgin include sophomore Bridgette Williams (35-7 in shot put and 12.94 in the 100), Caroline Muller (5-0 in high jump), Emalee Smith (32-7½ in triple jump), and the 400 relay team of Taylor Withers, Imani Ward, Kennedy Wells and Williams. Janese Bibbs has run 1:03.8 in the 400.
"I am really impressed at the variety of talent we have on the team," said South Elgin coach Jorie Bartholomew. "We have multiple girls on the team that are great all-around athletes that can do almost any event. We try to make sure we get them in events that highlight their strengths. We have some impressive field-event athletes that work really hard, but also are fast on the track."
Bibbs and Wells have impressed early on in the season.
"Janese has really come on as a strong 400 runner," said Bartholomew. "She does the 400 and the 1,600 relay and she runs with such great form and strength. Kennedy is a freshman and has fresh legs with great speed. She does well in the 200, 400 relay and 800 relay, but can do almost any sprinting event well."
During the indoor season, Williams broke the school indoor shot-put record and the 55 dash record. Bibbs broke the 400 indoor school record.
Burlington Central update: The Rockets had four indoor state qualifiers in Karli Chmelik (high jump), Katie Bush (3,200), Bryce Weinrich (60 hurdles) and Jasmine Castillo (60 hurdles). Weinrich took third in the state in the 60 hurdles. Bush was 12th in the 3,200. Castillo took 17th in the 60 hurdles and Chmelik was ninth in the high jump.
"Our athletes are working very hard and several relays are running very strong," said Central coach Vince Neil.
Neil noted the 400 and 800 relays in particular are making good progress. Those alternating members include Liz Spencer, Weinrich, Castillo, Emily Westergaard and Megan Goehrke.
The 1,600 and 3,200 relays also are progressing with the 1,600 featuring Spencer, Weinrich, Castillo, Westergaard, Goehrke along with Jaden Hodges and Hannah Zipoy. The 3,200 relay has Zipoy, Liz Brake, Nayely Valenciano and Melissa Leone.
Neil added Weinrich has been a key threat in the hurdles, while Ali DeTamble and Allie Mueller are improving in the pole vault, while Brake and Bush have made major strides since last season.
Neil also likes the depth the program is showing.
"The coaching staff is very excited that our frosh-soph team is stepping up and challenging the varsity girls in multiple events," he said. "Our focus is to develop a complete team."
Crystal Lake South update: South senior Taylor Schau is a quick learner in the 300 hurdles.
"Taylor has only run the race twice ever and both times she ran under 48 seconds," said South coach Matt Dunker. "She's still learning to hurdle. We're expecting her times to continue to drop."
Other top early-season performances for the Gators include junior Natalie Boorom (48.0 in the 300 hurdles), the 400 relay team of Gaby DeJesus, Kiana Clark, Kathleen Pencak and Schau running 51.2, as well as Clark throwing the shot put 37-0 (she increased her PR by more than a foot in the team's last meet).
"The times for almost every event and most of our varsity runners are way under what we were expecting at this time of the year," said Dunker. "We are extremely excited to see how these times drop when we peak at the end of the year. This group has really stepped it up and not let the weather affect them."
Malgorzata Waz and Andie Kobrick have been two additional key components.
"Malgorzata and Andie have been running like machines," said Dunker. "Both have been under their projected times all year with workouts and meets. Both are leading the team by example of how to train and how to race no matter what the conditions are."
Harvest Christian Academy update: Valerie Richter, who finished 8th in the state at the Class 1A Prep Top Times indoor meet, is running both the 800 and 400 during the outdoor season.
"That's a pretty hard combo," noted Harvest coach Steve Bland. "She's starting to run really well in the 400."
Junior Kylie Knox is excelling in the long jump and triple jump, as well as the 100 hurdles.
Harvest won the NAC indoor meet, won a meet at Christian Liberty Academy and took second in a recent meet at Timothy Christian.