CHARLESTON -- Warren got a second chance, and the Blue Devils made the most it in the Class 3A girls track and field state meet preliminaries at O'Brien Stadium.
Warren entered prelims with the seventh-best sectional mark in the 400-meter relay, and the Blue Devils had high hopes for cashing in on a medal.
Disaster struck in the fourth preliminary heat when an Evanston runner interfered between senior Marquesa Daniels and junior Rebecca Haight on the first exchange.
The baton was dropped, Haight picked it up but the Blue Devils finished in sixth place, well out of qualifying range for Saturday's finals.
IHSA officials determined that the interference was valid and gave Warren a redo 20 minutes after the completion of the 1,600 relay, the final qualifying event.
Daniels, Haight, junior Autumn Santos and junior Brittny Ellis made good in an empty stadium, qualifying against the clock in 48.19, which bested the final qualifying mark by Highland Park (48.53).
"I don't know how they did that," said Warren coach Ryan Dunn of his team's performance. "Nobody to run against, nobody to push you. Just you against the clock with it being your only shot.
"But they took this opportunity, believing it could happen, I'm so happy for them."
The state finals for all three classes will be held today starting at 10 a.m.
Lincoln-Way East seems to be in control of Class 3A advancing 7 individuals and 3 relays. In Class 2A, Cahokia advanced 8 individuals and 2 relays.
Lakes advanced three individuals and Warren advanced 1 relay and 1 individual.
Ellis had a long day for Warren, and the extra race added to her work load. But the two-time defending Class 3A 400 champion has positioned herself well for Saturday.
She won the first heat of the 400 preliminaries in 54.96, which was the third fastest qualifying time. Ellis concluded her day by anchoring the Blue Devils 400 relay to Saturday finals.
"I just wanted to finish the day strong," said Ellis who was glad for the second chance. "Based on our seed times we should have been right in the mix. This gives us a chance to redeem ourselves."
Santos also had a bit of redemption for the Blue Devils. The junior finished with the 10th-best qualifying mark in the 100 dash (12.30), but missed qualifying to Saturdays finals by 1 spot. The 400 relay, though, had the junior smiling.
"It certainly makes up for not making it in the 100," said Santos, "We made it."
Daniels, a senior, had the most to lose.
"The girl fell into my lane, and then I fell," said Daniels of the initial contact. "It was mentally hard to come back, but I'm so glad we got the second chance."
Junior Danielle Griesbaum gave Lakes a lift by qualifying in the high jump (5-4) and then coming back to qualify in the 800 (2:16.92).
Griesbaum scratched on her first attempt at 5-2 and 5-4, but made clearance on her second attempts to advance to Saturday finals.
She then came on in the final lap of the 800 to qualify for the finals.
"I usually don't take the first 400 out fast," said Griesbaum of her 800 race. "I waited to make my move."
Brittani Griesbaum advanced in the long jump with a mark of 18-00.25.
Libertyville senior Katie Sackett made a memorable finish at the Lake Zurich sectionals in the 300 low hurdles, sprawling out at the finish line to secure second place.
Sackett made an even bigger finish on Friday, holding off Neuqua Valley's Maya Neal and Palatine's Caitlin Riedy to take first in the first preliminary in 45.23 and advance to Saturdays finals.
"My legs were shutting down on that last hurdle, so I gave it one final push," said Sackett who made the most of her first state appearance. "It's an amazing feeling."
Libertyville's Lilly Moore advanced in the pole vault with a qualifying mark of 10-6.
Stevenson senior Jacyln Setina continued her strong showing by advancing to the finals in the high jump (5-4).
In Class 2A, Wauconda junior Christi Meinhardt advanced in both the shot put (40-04.75) and discus (118-01).
Meindhardt is in good position for a state medal. She holds the fourth-best mark in the shot put and fifth-best mark in discus.
"I'm very happy," said Meinhardt, who hit a school record in the shot put. "It's a huge relief to get those marks. I'm feeling very confident and I just want to do my best."
Grayslake Central sophomore Katie Schroeder advanced in the pole vault (9-06) and fellow Rams sophomore Alexa Schmitt (5-0) advanced in the high jump.
Vernon Hill sophomore Vivian Overbeck will run in the 3,200 final.