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updated: 5/24/2014 9:48 PM

West Aurora, St. Charles East win state trophies

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  • St. Charles East runners celebrate after their win in the 4x800-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       St. Charles East runners celebrate after their win in the 4x800-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • West aurora's Emma Spagnola wins the class 3A 100-meter high hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       West aurora's Emma Spagnola wins the class 3A 100-meter high hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Allison Chmelik competes in the class 3A triple jump during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       St. Charles East's Allison Chmelik competes in the class 3A triple jump during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East teammates celebrate around the Class 3A 3rd place trophy during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       St. Charles East teammates celebrate around the Class 3A 3rd place trophy during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Jordan Shead celebrates with her teammates after they won the class 3A 4x400-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       St. Charles East's Jordan Shead celebrates with her teammates after they won the class 3A 4x400-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Kyla Walton takes the baton in the class 3A 4x400-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       West Aurora's Kyla Walton takes the baton in the class 3A 4x400-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles East's Torree Scull reacts after a good finish in the 1600-meter run during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       St. Charles East's Torree Scull reacts after a good finish in the 1600-meter run during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Emma Spagnola reacts after winning the class 3A 300-meter low hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       West Aurora's Emma Spagnola reacts after winning the class 3A 300-meter low hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • West Aurora's Emma Spagnola, center, clears the final hurdle in the class 3A 300-meter low hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.

       West Aurora's Emma Spagnola, center, clears the final hurdle in the class 3A 300-meter low hurdles during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston Friday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 

CHARLESTON -- The team champion at the Class 3A girls state track and field championship had long been decided when West Aurora and St. Charles East had one final showdown in the 1,600-meter relay.

St. Charles East was the defending state champion in the event, but the Blackhawks were the top seed after their stunning Friday preliminary victory.

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The Saints' Notre Dame-bound Jordan Shead anchored a second relay title for St. Charles East, but Emma Spagnola ended her extraordinary career with one final flourish.

Spagnola, who captured twin state championships in the two hurdles events earlier on Saturday, propelled the Blackhawks to third.

St. Charles East cruised past Evanston for third place overall in the team standings, but the Blackhawks' 7 points secured in the event enabled them to finish runner-up to defending state champion Lincoln-Way East (72 points).

West Aurora had a 4-point cushion on St. Charles East to earn a 39-38 victory for second over its future conference rival.

It was the first team trophy for either program.

"I just knew we needed to do our best to get a team trophy," said Spagnola, who teamed with Elisa Zinn, Kayla Walton and eighth-place 400 runner Tamiya Rayford.

Spagnola began her day by failing to defend her long-jump state championship, settling for third place (18 feet, 9 inches).

But the Minnesota-bound superstar was not about to be denied a title in the 100 hurdles for a third straight year.

Spagnola reversed her only loss of the season against Homewood-Flossmoor junior Jayla Stewart to win the title in 14.10.

"(Spagnola) beat me to the first hurdle, so that was a big advantage for her," Stewart said.

"I was really praying for her in the 100 hurdles," West Aurora coach Teresa Towles said of Spagnola finishing second two years in a row. "I was glad that girl (Stewart) beat her in the regular season."

Spagnola then avenged her runner-up finish from last year in the 300 hurdles with a career-low time of 42.45.

"I knew I needed to run fast to win (the two events) and had the other girls to push me," Spagnola said.

Spagnola became the first athlete in the 121-year athletic history of West Aurora to win two individual state championships on the same day.

Maya Marion completed the Blackhawks' scoring with her seventh-place shot put result.

The Saints could not have started the running portion better; Shead was inserted into the 3,200 relay to give the team added firepower.

"For a long time it was the plan," Shead said.

Torree Scull, Anastasia Honea and Corrin Adams staked Shead to a lead, and the first of two relay titles was accomplished in 9:08.3.

Allison Chmelik repeated her all-state effort in the triple jump to add to the Saints' tally, which was later bolstered with Shead fourth in the open 400.

But Scull completely altered the state picture with a brilliant closing 400 meters in the mile to snag fourth in 5:01.26.

"Luckily, I still had something left in the tank," Scull said.

Shead then anchored the Saints' meet-closing relay in under 3:50 for the last of their points.

"It was just an awesome feeling to defend our title," said Shead, who returned with twins Allison and Elizabeth Chmelik. "It shows how much depth we have as a team."

Freshman Casey McNichols was the fourth member of the championship relay for St. Charles East.

"St. Charles and St. Charles East have never won a trophy in track and field," Saints coach Tim Wolf said. "This has been a goal since I took over the program."

Geneva sophomore Foster Ignoffo was the third local entrant in the open 400.

"I see all these amazing players here," Ignoffo said after placing sixth. "It was a blessing to compete against them."

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