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updated: 5/7/2014 10:59 PM

Rosary wins final SCC girls track title

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Abby Hammer was in the same spot as she found herself a year ago: putting the finishing touches on a girls track and field conference championship.

The Rosary senior anchored the Royals' 1,600-meter relay team to a come-from-behind win over Montini to give the squad its fifth championship of the day in Palos Heights on Wednesday afternoon.

With 171 points, 41 more than runner-up Montini, Rosary captured the final Suburban Christian Conference championship for a second year in a row.

Aurora Christian, with Natasha Brown claiming the title at 100 meters and anchoring two relays to victories, was a distant third.

Marian Central Catholic, Walther Christian, Aurora Central Catholic, St. Francis, Chicago Christian, Wheaton Academy, Immaculate Catholic Conception Prep, St. Edward and Guerin rounded out the field.

"When I got the stick (the baton in the 1,600) all I thought was that I had to do this for the team," said Hammer, who was runner-up in both hurdles events. "We wanted to finish off strong like we did last year."

Madison Ronzone was the Royals' standout on the day as the sophomore distance runner claimed the titles at 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

Ronzone dominated the field at 3,200 meters to win in 11 minutes, 34.37 seconds, but Montini three-time relay all-stater Brittany Fisher was a much greater threat in the 1,600.

"When (Fisher) passed me (on the third lap) I thought about staying behind her," said Ronzone. "That's only my second time this season (doing the 1,600-3,200) double. It felt good."

Sarah Nyaeme and Molly Stefanski swept the triple jump in the first scoring event of the day; the Royals would never surrender the lead the rest of the idyllic afternoon.

Emily Bakala and Sydney Zaragosa have been four-year stalwarts for Rosary.

"We all come together and pulled it through," said Zaragosa. "We are united."

Brown anchored the Aurora Christian 800 and 400 relays (Class 1A state champion and runner-up, respectively) to wins; the junior then reversed the results against Marian Central senior Brenna Koch to win the 200 dash.

"I am really happy with the results," Brown said. "I have full confidence that we will do just (as well in the state series) this year."

Aurora Central Catholic sophomore Karina Liz resumed her resounding season.

Liz, who has the fastest 800 time in Class 2A in the outdoor season this year, once again was sensational with her dual triumph at 400 and 800 meters.

Liz set a record with her win at 800 meters (2:18.05) and was the lone athlete to break 59 seconds in the 400.

Fisher also had to settle for runner-up for Montini in the 800.

"In the 800 I had someone (Fisher) behind me the whole time," Liz said. "I was happy that I ran negative splits (second lap faster than the first)."

Annabel Englehardt was the surprise winner for ACC in the 100 hurdles.

Fisher was the emotional leader for Montini with her two heroic races at 800 and 1,600 meters.

"It was a very hard double," the Dayton-bound Fisher said. "I felt like I came back pretty strong (in the 1,600)."

Geeg Salzbrunn captured the 300 hurdles by storming past Hammer over the waning barriers to win in 46.79.

The sophomore broke the meet record established last year by teammate Theresa Connelly.

Jasmine Woodley won the shot put for Montini, which used double-scoring consistently to accrue its point total.

"Hats off to Rosary," Montini coach Pete Connelly said. "They're a little stronger in certain events. It's hard for us to beat them with their extra depth."

St. Francis' Molly McCarthy provided the Spartans their lone win with a 5-foot winning effort in the high jump.

Megan Kremer knocked more than 30 seconds off her personal-best in the 3,200 to frame the St. Edward team effort.

"I kind of gave my all at the end," said Kremer after finishing slightly higher than 12:03. "I beat my PR (personal record) by more than 30 seconds. I usually do the mile and the half-(mile). I just went out and wanted to do well."

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