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updated: 5/24/2014 11:49 PM

A Glenbard West sweep

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  • Glenbard West's Madeline Perez wins the Class 3A 3,200-meter run during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Saturday.

      Glenbard West's Madeline Perez wins the Class 3A 3,200-meter run during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Saturday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

CHARLESTON -- Madeline Perez and Lindsay Graham found themselves in completely different positions from this time a year ago at the Class 3A girls track and field state finals Satuday.

Perez won the first of two titles in the two distance races with her victory for Glenbard West in the 3,200-meter run.

Graham, then a freshman at Glenbard East, was fifth in the event.

But Graham transferred to Glenbard West last summer and had yet to taste defeat in the event this season.

Perez did not make her season debut at 3,200 meters until the Wheaton Warrenville South sectional last week, forced to operate from the slow heat without the benefit of a seed time.

But the Georgetown recruit demonstrated why she has had few peers in recent memory.

The state cross country record-holder took the lead over Graham at 400 meters and never surrendered it, defending her title in 10 minutes, 34.6 seconds at Eastern Illinois University.

Graham was runner-up to complete the Hilltoppers' sweep in 10:40.73.

"This senior year hasn't gone how I would have hoped it to," said Perez, who missed extended portions of both the Hilltoppers' state-championship cross country season and her final track campaign. "In the long run (a persistent right foot injury has) taught me a lot about myself."

"You run your best race when you run your race," Graham said of her first defeat this season. "That's what I tried to do. I don't think it was a bad race."

"I wanted to do what I had to do to get the win," Perez said of competing against her teammate. "It was a harder finish than last year."

Perez came back later to duplicate her 1,600 title from last year, but Hinsdale Central sophomore Anne Zaher had other designs.

Zaher turned Perez for the West Suburban Conference title at the distance as the latter was making her return to track.

"I like racing against Perez," Zaher said.

Perez led for the first 800 meters, but Zaher gained the upper hand and refused to wilt.

Zaher won the title in 5:00.08.

Perez had to settle for eighth place in her final prep event.

"I went for it in the 1,600," Perez said. "I just didn't have the finish at the end."

"I had to adjust my strategy," Zaher said. "I knew this would be my last race and wouldn't have to save myself."

Metea Valley freshman Courtney Morgan etched her name in history at the Aurora high school. No one was able to surpass her shot put preliminary throw from Friday as her 45-3.5 effort withstood all challenges.

Morgan became the first female state champion in Metea Valley history. The middle-school national champion then tied teammate Holly Julifs' mark in the discus at 144-6. Prospect senior Erin Reese won the event at 146-1, with Morgan and Julifs settling for second and third.

"It feels great, especially being a freshman," Morgan said. "I was exhausted (from shot put). I didn't think I would do very well in the discus."

The Mustangs' exclusive points in the throws earned a four-way tie for fifth with 25.

In the 800 run Downers Grove South sophomore Michaela Hackberth could not keep pace with Jacobs' victorious Lauren Van Vlierbergen in finishing runner-up in 2:13.1.

Waubonsie Valley senior Alli Wilson was fifth in 2:15.16.

"I proved to myself that I belonged on a college team," said Wilson, a Bradley recruit.

Glenbard North senior Simone Carr was also fifth at 400 meters in securing a second straight all-state performance.

"I kept telling myself that this was my last race in high school," the DePaul-bound Carr said.

Heidi Narros and Erin Zappia were all-state for WW South in the pole vault and high jump, respectively.

Neuqua Valley junior Maya Neal fell back a place to fourth in the long jump, but it marked a third straight all-state finish in the event.

Stephanie Urbancik concluded her career at Downers North with a fourth consecutive medal in the 3,200 relay.

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