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updated: 5/24/2014 8:22 PM

Life in the fast lane: Warren's Ellis third in 400

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  • Warren's Brittany Ellis crosses the finish line in the Class 3A 400-meter dash during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.

       Warren's Brittany Ellis crosses the finish line in the Class 3A 400-meter dash during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Grayslake Central's Alexa Schmidt competes in the Class 2A high jump during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.

       Grayslake Central's Alexa Schmidt competes in the Class 2A high jump during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Gryaslake Central's Katie Schroeder competes in the Class 2A pole vault during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.

       Gryaslake Central's Katie Schroeder competes in the Class 2A pole vault during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Christina Meinhardt competes in the Class 2A shot put during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.

       Wauconda's Christina Meinhardt competes in the Class 2A shot put during the girls track and field state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on Saturday.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

CHARLESTON -- Warren junior Brittny Ellis usually has no troubles switching gears, but the Blue Devils junior couldn't quite get the acceleration she would have liked in the 400-meter final of the Class 3A girls track and field state meet at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium on Saturday.

Ellis, the two-time defending 400 champion, entered the final turn neck-and-neck with Evanston senior Parker English and North Lawndale senior Briyahna DesRosiers. But Ellis couldn't match the closing speed of English or DesRosiers.

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English finished first in a blistering 53.88, nipping DesRosiers (53.92) and followed by Ellis (54.30).

"My endurance was down a bit," Ellis said of her final surge. "I knew it was coming, but I didn't expect as much separation in the final 100 meters."

Ellis also combined with junior Autumn Santos, junior Becky Haight and sophomore Brynn Santos in securing eighth place in the 400 relay (48.67).

Ellis' 400 time was just three-tenths of a second slower than last season, when she won her second title. But her competition was a bit stiffer this season.

"Definitely," said Ellis, who got off to a strong start. "It's still a good season and I want to come back strong next year."

Stevenson senior Jackie Setina and Lakes junior Brittani Griesbaum had no problem finding the extra gear.

Setina finished second in the high jump, clearing 5-07. Lyons junior Emma Haugen took the title, also clearing 5-07, but with one fewer scratch.

Setina finished 12th in the high jump as a sophomore and did not qualify for state as junior. Her previous best mark this season was 5-4.

"It's just incredible and I'm thank for being here," said Setina, who credited weight training for her lift. "It's definitely a great way to finish."

Griesbaum entered Saturday's finals with the sixth-best mark, but the Lakes junior connected on her final jump, hitting 18-9.50 in earning a second-place medal behind Minooka senior Janile Rogers (18-10.75).

"If only I could have just an inch more," Griesbaum said of her flirtation with the state title. "I was feeling fatigued (Friday), but today I felt really good and loose."

Danielle Griesbaum, Brittani's twin, secured the sixth-place medal in the 800 (2:15.49).

Libertyville sophomore Lily Moore found herself in the state finals for pole vault a year after she barely cleared 8-6. The Wildcats sophomore kept rising in Saturday's finals, clearing 11-0 and earning a seventh-place medal.

"It's very exciting," Moore said. "I just wanted to make that mark and medal."

Libertyville's Katie Sackett grabbed the ninth-place medal in the 300 low hurdles (51.92).

In Class 2A, Wauconda junior Christie Meinhardt continued her rise in the throws. Meinhardt hit a school-record 40-8 on her second throw to secure fourth place in the shot put. She then came back to earn the sixth-place medal in the discus (132-6).

Meinhardt became only the third individual to earn a girls state track medal for Wauconda. She holds the school record in the discus (132-06).

"It means a lot," said Meinhardt, who was a state qualifier her first two years. "I've been pushing for this since freshman year. I've seen a huge improvement since last year and I hope to keep it up next year."

Vernon Hills sophomore Vivian Overbeck capped a successful year by securing the seventh-place medal in the 3,200 (11:04.09). She finished 11th in the Class 2A cross country state meet last fall.

"I knew I had it in me," Overbeck said of her breakout season. "I just had to prove it."

Grayslake Central sophomore Katie Schroeder cleared 11-6 to take fourth place in the pole vault. Fellow Ram Alexa Schmitt collected the eighth-place medal in the high jump (5-02).

Lakes sophomore Evelyn Felipez made her second appearance at the state meet and earned second-place finishes in the wheelchair 100 (32.51) and 200 (1:07.24).

"It's always exciting to compete at state," Felipez said. "I feel like I'm getting stronger and hope to be back next year."

Lincoln-Way East won its second consecutive Class 3A team title with 72 points. Cahokia took the Class 2A title with 61 points, and Aurora Christian topped the charts in Class 1A with 49 points.

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