Girls track and field: It's back-to-back high jump titles for Wauconda's Daun

CHARLESTON - Grace Daun wasn't afraid of letting her emotions show late Saturday afternoon.

After the Wauconda senior cleared the 5-foot, 7-inch mark in the Class 3A high jump state finals competition, she immediately put both of her hands on her face and started crying.

Last season, Daun became the first female state champion for Wauconda by clearing 5-8. This season, after enduring nerves and the pressure of a repeat state title, Daun edged out Oswego's Jenelle Rogers and Warren's Annika Bynum (5-6) for her second consecutive state championship by one inch. Grayslake Central senior Meghan Fletcher collected a fourth-place medal in the high jump (5-5).

"I was thinking I wasn't going to clear 5-7, so I started bawling my eyes out after I did it," Daun said. "I just knew when I did it, I was fulfilled with that and whatever happens just happens. I was crying tears of joy. I'm happy that I ended my four years with track and field in high school with this accomplishment."

It certainly wasn't a clear path to a repeat state championship for Daun.

But nothing has come easily for the friendly and happy-go-lucky Daun. The Illinois State recruit has diabetes and her levels dropped dramatically right before finals started last season.

Daun's club coach, Jeremy Herriges, said it was a tough finals experience last season for Daun.

"She was vomiting and it was horrific," Herriges recalled.

Daun said she felt better physically this year at state.

"This year the pressure was on me and I controlled my glucose numbers and everything else," Daun said. "I was relaxed and knew I could do it physically."

Lakes rode strong performances from Brooke Stromsland and Olivia Schmitt to finish in seventh place with 25 points. Homewood-Floossmoor won its first program state title with 59.5 points.

Stromsland challenged Glenbard West superstar Katelynne Hart in the 3,200 run, placing second in a time of 10:45.77. Round Lake junior Fatima Giron finished sixth, Grant's Aly Negovetich claimed 10th and Stevenson's Natalie Sorenson was 11th in the 3,200.

Stromsland added a fourth-place medal in the 1,600 (5:04.88).

"I'm so proud of being all-state in two events," Stromsland said. "I felt it in the last mile in the 1,600, but I ran my best and was happy with how I did."

Schmitt, a junior, also had her own battle with Hart, who made state history by winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 on Saturday. Schmitt nearly knocked off Hart (2:13.11) in the 800, earning second in a time of 2:13.52.

She also earned 3 points by notching seventh in the 400 (58.83).

"My legs are more worked than yesterday, but I'm happy with how I did," Schmitt said. "I've been working all season for this meet."

Lake Zurich junior Kelsey Rothas earned a spot on the medal stand by finishing in a second-place tie in the pole vault (11-6). Lakes senior Noelle Jones finished in 12th in the pole vault.

"I was clean up to 11-6, but I blew through my poles," Rothas said. "But I'm definitely happy with second."

Antioch junior Ayanna Tommy had a solid day by taking fifth in the 100 dash (11.97), while Mundelein freshman Jordyn Miller was 10th in the 800 (2:17.33).

Grayslake Central sophomore Julia Reglewski took ninth in the shot put (40-11.50), while Stevenson's Camille Clay claimed 12th in the shot and discus. Reglewski added a fifth-place showing in the discus (128-10). Vernon Hills junior Emily Kim earned ninth place in the long jump (18-9).

Warren's 400 relay of Jada Vaughn, Kayleigh, Jataia Harris and Janii Jenkins earned sixth place in a time of 48.69. Jenkins, an Indiana recruit, closed out her career with a third-place medal in the 400 (55.36).

"I'm very excited and happy with my time and placing," Jenkins said.

Images: Saturday at the State Final Meet in Girls Track & Field

  Warren's Janii Jenkins reacts to her team's finish in the Class 3A 400-meter relay during the girls state track finals in Charleston Saturday. Joe Lewnard/
  Lakes' Brooke Stromsland, left, finishes second in the Class 3A 3,200-meter run during the girls state track finals in Charleston Saturday. Joe Lewnard/
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