Girls track / State meet scouting, Northwest
Where: O'Brien Stadium at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Thursday prelims -- Class 1A field events 10 a.m., running events 11 a.m.
Friday prelims -- Class 2A field events 8 a.m., running events 9 a.m.; Class 3A field events noon, running events 12:55 p.m.
Saturday -- Class 1A, 2A, and 3A finals, 10 a.m.
Quick take: Ailiyah Brown won four state titles last year leading Lincoln-Way East to the Class 3A title. Brown is now running at Texas A&M, yet the Griffins are eyeing a second consecutive state title. Seniors sprinters Alexis Hyshaw and Meghan Marias will lead Lincoln-Way East . West Aurora senior Emma Spagnola will be one of the top individuals to watch. She enters with the top qualifying mark in the long jump, 100 high hurdles, and 300 low hurdles. Evanston senior Parker English is another individual to watch, she has the top qualifying mark in the 100, 200, and 400.
Local focus: The Mid-Suburban League's strength will be in the throws and distance. Last year the MSL earned six state medals combined in the shot put and discus, and that number could be matched this year. Hoffman Estates senior Banke Oginni has earned three state medals in the throws, including a second- and fourth-place finish in the shot put the past two seasons. Oginni enters with the top qualifying mark in the shot put (44-0) and is the favorite to win the state title. Prospect senior Erin Reese and Conant senior Jennifer Donnell will also be in the hunt for state medals in both the shot put and discus. Prospect senior Christina Santiago highlights a deep distance group from the MSL. Santiago finished third in the 1,600 last season and will be a threat in the 3,200 this year. Palatine sophomore Katie O'Brien and Hoffman Estates sophomore Meagan Biddle also will be in the hunt for a state title in the 1,600. Palatine enters with the top time in the 3,200 relay, last year the Pirates finished second in Class 3A.
Area schoolsPalatine: Amy Kieliszewski (3,200), Jessica Lincoln (3,200), Cassidy McPherson (800), Caitlin Riedy (300 low hurdles), Kelly O'Brien (1,600), Megan Thabuteau (triple jump), 400 relay, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay. O'Brien has come on strong this season. The Pirates junior passed Santiago in the final 100 meters to win the MSL 1,600 title in 4:57.79, the second-best mark in Class 3A. She also will give the Pirates' 3,200 relay a boost. Palatine has earned nine consecutive state medals in the 3,200 relay and will be in the title hunt this year. The Pirates' 1,600 relay may also make some noise this weekend and has the potential for a state medal.
Barrington: McCall Braun (100 high hurdles, long jump), Addison Coy (400), Sara-Kate Capel (300 low hurdles), Anna Cossio (300 low hurdles), Rachel Cheever (discus), Brooke Morgan (triple jump), 800 relay, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay. Coy, Capel, and Cossio have emerged this season and have ignited the lineup for the MSL champs. The three underclassmen definitely are difference-makers especially on the 1,600 relay. Keep an eye on Coy in the 400; she has the potential for a state medal. The Fillies' 800 relay is also gearing up for strong weekend.
Prospect: Christina Santiago (1,600, 3,200), Maya Mason (100 high hurdles), Erin Reese (shot put, discus), Catherine Sherwood (long jump, triple jump), 3,200 relay. Prospect coach Dave Wurster will be directing the Knights attack for the final time at this weekend state meet and he has three big cards to play. Santiago has the second-best season mark in Class 3A for the 3,200 (10:39.19) and third-best season mark in the 1,600 (4:58.21). Sherwood hit a conference record in winning the MSL long jump title (18-07.5) and will be in the mix for a Class 3A medal. Reese hit a school record 150-0 in the discus at the Prospect Invite on April 11; she has the potential for another big mark this weekend.
Hoffman Estates: Meagan Biddle (1,600), Solome Haile (1,600), Banke Oginni (shot put, discus), 800 relay, 3,200 relay. Oginni is on target for the state title in the shot put, she won the Illinois Prep Top Times indoor Class 3A title and has been consistent all season. Biddle has also had an impressive season with a season best 5:00.30 in the 1,600. Keep an eye on the Hawks relays -- both the 800 relay and 3,200 relay are on course for a state medals.
Fremd: Ayako Higuchi (1,600), Katie Escobar (1,600), 3,200 relay. Higuchi has definitely elevated her performance this season. Higuchi hung tight with Palatine Kelly O'Brien at the Lake Zurich sectional, taking second in the 1,600. She is also a member of a 3,200 relay team that has the potential for a state medal.
Wheeling: Marta Dzundza (800), Ashley Sicard (shot put, discus), 3,200 relay. Dzundza aided the Wildcats 3,200 relay to a third-place finish in a state qualifying time of 9:34.52 at the Niles West sectional. Sicard has quietly put together an impressive season in the throws.
Conant: Tracy Iroegbulem (100 high hurdles), Jennifer Donnell (shot put, discus), Meicie Bennett (pole vault). Donnell is among the state leaders in both the shot put and discus. She finished ninth in Class 3A for the shot put last season and will be seeking to move up this season. Iroegbulem was a state qualifier in the 200 last season, and Bennett has made a late season surge in the pole vault.
Schaumburg: Erin Falsey (800, 1,600), Ali Gutt (3,200), Darniesha Spann (200). Falsey has had a strong season and seems to be peaking at the right time for the Saxons. Spann has dealt with leg injuries the past two seasons but has been a state qualifier each time. She is hoping to make a late season push this weekend.
Hersey: Kelly Hill (pole vault, high jump). Hill is a two-time state qualifier in the pole vault and will be in the hunt for a state medal this season.
Rolling Meadows: Vanessa Sanchez (3,200). Sanchez was a state qualifier in cross country and has continued to impress during track. She had the eighth-best qualifying mark in the 3,200.
Leyden: Stephanie Dominguez (300 low hurdles). Dominguez took second at the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional in the 300 low hurdles to punch her ticket to the state meet.
St. Viator: Meghan Carroll (800, 1,600, 3,200). Carroll has earned two-state medals in cross country, she will be seeking her first track state medal this weekend in the Class 2A meet.
Christian Liberty Academy: Vivian Barclay (long jump), Valerie Karr (high jump, 300 low hurdles), Isabella Wolke (3,200), Angie Nicholas (400). Barclay qualified for her third consecutive state meet and Karr, Wolke, and Nicholas have made big contribution in their first year for the Chargers. They'll be competing in Class 1A downstate.
-- Michael Eaken