CHARLESTON -- The final weekend of the girls track and field season offers a potent concoction of pending graduations, exceptional athleticism and high stakes.
The 800-meter run appears to be a focal point for several local athletes after the preliminaries of the Class 2A and 3A state finals at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
In the Class 3A 800 run on Friday, seniors Taryn Christy and Audrey Ernst will have one last chance at glory after making the 12-athlete cut in the event.
Earlier in the day, Brooke Delahanty, the Rosary senior bound for Illinois, and Aurora Central Catholic sophomore Lesley Viveros, a transfer from Kaneland, realized the same ambition by also punching tickets in the Class 2A distance.
Chloe Bilyk, meanwhile, will power an upstart Burlington Central 3,200 relay in her final race for the Rockets.
"It has taken me four years to get here," said Christy, a Geneva senior who advanced in a time of 2 minutes, 16.47 seconds. "It's my first time ever at state track. I am enjoying every second of it."
Ernst is in search of a fourth career state medal after running a 2:16.45 in the prelims.
Bound for Arizona State as a triathlon specialist, Ernst narrowly missed also qualifying in the 1,600.
"Any double is hard," Ernst said. "Everyone is facing the same battles out there. I just tried to stay with as many girls as I could. I felt pretty good about my last (preliminary) race as a senior."
Delahanty is on the cusp of duplicating all-state performances in the open 800 and 1,600 relay for Rosary.
"I knew it is the last 800 I will ever run," said Delahanty, who failed in her bid for a third finals appearance in the 400 dash. "I knew it would be a long shot (in the 400)."
Bilyk, with freshman 300 hurdler state finalist Brooke Barkocy as the anchor in prime support, was instrumental in the Rockets making the grade in the relay as the seventh seed.
"I really think we can break our school record of 9:36," Bilyk said. "I want to be in the top three."
The West Aurora aspirations for a potential trophy in Class 3A were undermined early when junior superstar Dajour Miles could not answer the bell in the twin components of the 100 meters: the 400 relay and the dash.
But the defending state champion at 400 meters willed herself to the fastest time on the day with her victory in 54.47.
"I didn't practice at all (this week)," Miles said. "My hamstring hurt."
Miles estimated that she was operating at "about 80 percent."
The Blackhawks' Tori Spagnola also is finals bound in both the 100 and 300 hurdles.
"I knew I could probably make it to state (as an incoming freshman)," Spagnola said. "I had a little thought I could make it to finals."
Batavia sophomore Sabrina Schlenker reversed the West Aurora sectional results in the 300 hurdles to better Spagnola, 45.11-45.38, to earn a spot in the final nine.
"I ran a bad time last year at state," Schlenker said. "I have a year under my belt."
Schlenker and senior standout Tori Ortiz were directly responsible for powering the Bulldogs' 400 relay to the finals.
But Ortiz missed the open 100 finals by five one-hundredths.
"I still got 10th," Ortiz said. "My first time ever running down for the 100. It wasn't a full heat. I didn't have anyone next to me. I'm upset about it."
In the field, Cierra Kuipers (Kaneland, pole vault), Tabor Gleason (Cary-Grove, high jump), Daryn Davis (Huntley, triple jump) and McKenzie Krich (Huntley, high jump) are still alive.
Aurora Central high jumper Ella Englehardt and Rosary triple jumper Lauren Roskuszka hold the same distinction in Class 2A.