West Aurora reverted to a familiar staple in claiming its fifth consecutive Kane County Girls Track and Field Invitational Friday night in Maple Park.
"Field events are our engine," West Aurora coach Teresa Towles said after the Blackhawks dominated the 14-school field at Kaneland. "Everything we do on the track starts with the field events."
In crowning four separate field-event winners, West Aurora scored 68 of its 137 points in the two throws, the long and triple jump and pole vault.
Kaneland, which had senior Lauren Zick sweep the two shortest sprints, edged illness-addled St. Charles by a point, 92-91, for runner-up status.
Geneva, Aurora Christian, Batavia, Rosary, St. Charles North, Burlington Central, Streamwood, Aurora Central, Catholic, Dundee-Crown, South Elgin and East Aurora rounded out the field.
Emma Spagnola, the Blackhawks' Minnesota-bound superstar, once again put on a clinic at the County Meet.
The senior has 12 career county championships in the two hurdles races and long jump after sweeping the events for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year.
The defending Class 3A long jump state champion neared 19 feet for her first title; the two-time reigning runner-up had few issues in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
The potential showdown with defending Class 1A state champion Peyton Wade of Aurora Christian never materialized as Spagnola destroyed the field in the shorter distance with her 10-meter win in 14.27 seconds. Spagnola won the 300 hurdles by almost two seconds in 44.29.
But she was more excited about the Blackhawks' team success.
"It's really cool that we have had the talent to (win the championship all) four years (of my career)," Spagnola said.
Maya Marion won the shot put with a throw of 41 feet even for West Aurora; teammate SuMaya Hunt captured the discus with a state-qualifying mark of 117 feet and change.
"I'm really excited about going to state (again)," said the Marquette-bound Marion, the county record-holder in the event. "There still work to do, but I know I'm going to get there."
Nadine Dunsing won her second career invitational title on criteria in the pole vault.
The Blackhawks' senior had fewer misses than St. Charles North senior Jessica Grill and Kaneland senior Christina Delach after all three bowed out at 10-6.
Wade, the defending Class 1A state champion in the high jump and a Maryland recruit, won at 5-4.
Zick became the first athlete in program history to win 100 and 200 county titles for the host Knights with her triumphs in 12.81 and 25.95, respectively.
"It definitely means a lot," said Zick, who was runner-up to close friend Spagnola in the long jump and ran a leg on the Knights' second-place 400 relay. "It's definitely a lot more special than it would normally be. We noticed last year that my starts in the 200 were really, really good."
Zick switched to the event from the 400.
For St. Charles East, which had 26 members of its program battling illness this week, the Saints still managed a positive showing.
Allison Chmelik ran winning anchor legs on the Saints' 400 and 800 relays. The junior also won the triple jump.
Twin sister Elizabeth returned to the fold for the Saints' defending state-champion 1,600 relay; Notre Dame-bound all-state 400 runner Jordan Shead anchored the unit in a shade over 4 minutes to another win.
"I was trying to maintain the lead," Allison Chmelik said of the Saints' precarious advantage over Rosary in the 800 relay. "It wasn't my best day. Tonight my form was OK (in the triple jump)."
Geneva crowned two champions on the track as sophomore Foster Ignoffo denied Aurora Central sophomore Karina Liz a second title at 400 meters; Kathryn Adelman displayed a devastating kick over the final 110 meters to overtake Rosary sophomore
Madison Ronzone at 1,600 meters.
"It gets to the point in the race where it's now or never," said Adelman, clocked in 5:20.84. "It's not something I planned."
Ignoffo broke the 59-second barrier for the second time in her young career.
"I try to pace myself in the back stretch and let it go," Ignoffo said.
Liz defended her 800-meter title as Shead, who was attempting to break the St. Charles East program record, was sapped of energy over the final 100 meters due to illness.
"I knew there was going to be a girl from St. Charles East who was going to be neck and neck (with me)," said Liz, the Class 2A state runner-up last year who has the fastest time this outdoor season in the middle division.
"When (Shead) passed me, I was debating whether I should let her go. I just decided I would stay right behind to save that energy to kick."
Liz won in 2:14.69.
Batavia had its lone win from the 3,200 relay quartet of Miranda Rae, Dakota Roman, Jenny Muehlbauer and Hannah Ullberg.
Gabbi Juarez has Paulina Garcia in her sights.
The Streamwood junior, the indoor Upstate Eight Conference champion at 1,600 meters, was virtually herself at 3,200 meters for the lone triumph for the Sabres.
Garcia holds the school record at 3,200 meters.
Juarez was a solitary figure, lapping several fellow competitors in the fast heat of the longest race, as the Sabres' junior was roughly eight seconds off the Garcia record in 10:59.97.
Geneva senior Brooke Nusser was almost 24 seconds behind Juarez for second.
Burlington Central hurdler Bryce Weinrich had a memory not soon to be forgotten.
Pitted against Spagnola and Wade, the Rockets' senior was narrowly denied by Wade in the 100-meter hurdles for runner-up to the unstoppable Spagnola.
"I train with both of them," said Weinrich, who was timed in 15.57 seconds. "It was really exciting. It didn't matter what place I finished in."
Central scored 40 points to surpass Streamwood for best finish among the Fox programs.
"Today as a whole wasn't exactly our day," Central coach Vince Neil said. "We have time to recover. We have conference next week and we'll be ready for that."