A "long" night, even for a long-distance runner, actually proved quite fun.
Counting her 800-meter leg in the 3,200 relay, Vernon Hills senior Vivian Overbeck ran 3½ miles Wednesday in the Class 2A Antioch track and field sectional.
"More than cross country," a smiling Overbeck said in between deep breaths.
Overbeck qualified for next weekend's state meet in downstate Charleston in all three of her events -- 3,200 relay, 3,200 run, 1,600 run -- as she and her teammates dominated. Vernon Hills totaled 120 points, well ahead of runner-up Antioch (95.5), to capture a sectional title for the second year in a row and fourth time in seven years under head coach Jason Rush.
The Northern Illinois-bound Overbeck joined Lauren Katz, Shannon Skeoch and Nicole Pinter on the victorious 3,200 relay (9:50.42), then won the 3,200 (11:19.96) and 1,600 (5:12.86) runs. A state qualifier since her freshman year (3,200 relay), she also earned state berths in the 3,200 and 1,600 runs last season, and qualified in the 3,200 as a sophomore. Wednesday marked just the second time this season that she ran "the triple."
"I felt a little shaky during the 4 by 8 (3,200 relay) and 2 mile, but in the (1,600) I just knew I had to push through," Overbeck said.
She did not run on the Cougars' 3,200 relay that took eighth at state last year. Her first time running the relay this season was at the Lake County meet.
"I was a little hesitant at first about running it," Overbeck said. "But the other three girls on the relay I trust completely. We had a really good time at our county invite, so I feel we can build on that."
Vernon Hills sophomore Jordyn Bunning capped her 4-for-4 night by running on a leg on the winning 1,600 relay (4:03.63). Katz, Kennedy Smith and anchor Molly Wasserberg also contributed. Runner-up Antioch (Rachel Phillips, Anna Arden, Amber Phillips, Elisa Pokorny) clocked a school-record and state-qualifying 4:07.38. Carmel (Grace Duffy, Melanie Zimmerman, Anna Gray, Emily Silge) went 4:08.78 and also earned a state berth.
Bunning began her night by teaming with Wasserberg, Smith and Raeden Mays to win the 800 relay (1:45.73). Bunning then high-stepped to wins in the 100 hurdles (15.65) and 300 hurdles (personal-record 45.47). She nipped Woodstock's Syd Heidtke (45.49) at the finish in the latter, leaning and then stumbling to the track.
"I broke my stride so then my legs started giving out," Bunning said. "At the end, I didn't mean to dive. But I guess it helped because I just got her at the end."
She was feeling fine, despite her fall, and feeling even better after the Cougars' win in the 1,600 relay.
"I'm just so excited right now I can't feel anything," said Bunning, who qualified for state last year in both hurdles events, the 1,600 relay and pole vault.
St. Viator junior Elizabeth Drab also qualified for state in each of her four events: long jump (17-3), 400 dash (56.37), 200 dash (25.24) and 100 dash (12.57). She won all of her sprints by comfortable margins.
Not bad considering she just recently started running the 100 and 200. She competed both events at the East Suburban Catholic Conference meet.
"We looked at my times and just decided to try it," said Drab, who qualified for state last year in the 400 and long jump. "These meets have a little more time (between races) than the dual meets, so it just worked out that I would have enough energy to do it all."
She won the 100, despite stumbling at the start.
"My knee buckled," Drab said. "I thought I was going down, but I was able to recover."
A good night for Antioch included Alexis Duehr edging Vernon Hills at the finish of the 400 relay. Duehr anchored the foursome of Arden, Jatiyah Childs and Amanda Rowe (50.09). Vernon Hills' Mays, Smith, Wasserberg and Emily Carido (50.11) also qualified.
While Duehr came up short in her sprints (200 and 100 dashes), she is headed back to state after missing last season with a leg injury that required surgery in May. She went to state in three events (long jump, 100, 200) as a sophomore. As a freshman, she helped the Sequoits' 400 relay get downstate.
"It's my third time, so I'm not used to it, but it's something I've experienced before," Duehr said. "Hopefully we can get to Day 2 this time."
Duehr's teammates did well in the field events. Mikayla Christian (117-2) and Sabrina Long (109-3) went 1-2 in the discus, while Long also qualified for state in the shot put (36-8.75, second), Childs earned a state berth in the high jump (4-9), as well.
The other state qualifiers included Vernon Hills' Katz in the 800 (2:18.87, second), Carmel's Aileen Hull in the 1,600 (5:15.76, second) and Antioch's Arden in the 300 hurdles (47.23, third).
Carmel's 800 relay (Zimmerman, Emma Jensen, Silge, Duffy) also made it through with its time of 1:47.68.