Girls track and field: Naperville Central runs away with DuPage Valley Conference title

Brooke Sawatzky and her Naperville Central teammates entered Thursday’s DuPage Valley Girls Conference Track Meet with some lofty goals and spent the night pretty much checking them all off.

Sawatzky won both hurdle events and the triple jump, and she added a second-place finish in the long jump while helping the Redhawks claim a third straight outdoor conference track title for the first time. Sawatzky finished second to Olivia Dalson of Neuqua Valley in the long jump, but her 18-foot-7 effort in the event gave her two school records on the night at Metea Valley.

“That’s pretty good. I was happy with it,” she said after her big night led Naperville Central to 171 points to easily hold off runner-up Metea Valley (122.5). “My goal has always been to get the long jump and the 300-meter hurdle record. I was really happy that it sort of fell into place toward the end of the season so I’m very confident heading into sectionals.”

The standout, who is headed to Missouri to compete, PR-ed in the long jump before a rain delay Thursday, and then broke the school mark a second time after the 30-minute delay. She also set the school record in repeating her DVC title in the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.27.

“I love the seniors on my team because we have a really strong class and we all push each other. And we’re all being successful so it’s exciting,” added Sawatzky, who placed eighth in the state last year in the 300 hurdles.

Fellow Redhawks senior Allison Roozeboom did her part by winning the discus with a personal-best 125-foot effort and adding a second place in the shot put, which was won by Metea Valley’s Sydni Ellison-Muse.

Roozeboom wasn’t thrilled by the rain stoppage and the wet conditions but couldn’t complain about her results.

“Consistently I’ve been throwing 36 (meters), which is about 120 feet, so I was really happy to see that I threw 125 today. It’s definitely a boost. It’s really encouraging to see that I’m improving,” said Roozeboom, who also won a DVC discus title in 2023. “I’m trying to get close to 140 feet, our school record. I don’t think I can do it but I’m trying to get as close as I can. If I can shoot for No. 2 in school history that would be great.”

Naperville Central’s Liv Phillips claimed the grueling distance double by winning the 1,600 (4:59.04) and the 3,200 (10:51.86) crowns.

The Mustangs started the meet strong by claiming both the 3,200 and 400 relay races, while Colorado State-bound senior Annastasia Murphy won her third straight conference high jump title at 5-6. Metea Valley’s Kyla Harris was part of the winning 400 relay unit and then added individual sprint victories in the 200 (25.71) and the 100 (12.51).

“I was hoping to get 5-8 today,” said Murphy, a state qualifier last spring. “I feel good about today even though I didn’t clear the height I wanted. You can’t do super amazing at every meet.”

DeKalb pole vaulter Joscelyn Dieckman may not have reached new heights in the meet, but it was still a big breakthrough for last year’s state runner-up in the event. She took first at 12-3, to hold off Neuqua Valley’s Kamila Szczepanik (11-9) but more importantly she felt great about her state of mind while competing.

“I feel pretty good. This season has really been a battle for me,” Dieckman said. “Coming off last season I jumped 13-3½ after state and this year I came in with really high expectations and there was really a hard time for me at the beginning of the year and through all of off-season.

“I went through a very bad mental block. I went through some physical injuries as well.”

But the conference meet brought back her strong approach and is sending the Barbs senior off to sectionals with a revived confidence.

“Today is the first time all season I have taken my full approach jumps in a meet,” she said. “Bigger than any height, that’s what means most to me. That I managed to come in here and beat that mental block. A couple of my really close senior friends are here … the DVC pole vault team is very very close. So, it was really nice to go out my last one with them, and really just start fighting back that mental block and doing the best that I can.”

Neuqua Valley took third in the team standings at 109, followed by Naperville North (64), DeKalb (43) and Waubonsie Valley 42.5.

After the rain delay at the start of the meet, storms returned to the area and the officials decided to run the final varsity event, the mile relay, before the junior varsity meet. It was a wise choice as rain and lightning followed shortly afterward.

In the night’s final event, Naperville North’s Eve Rowe, Emma Berres, Julie Piot and Megan Schoenjohn ran a 4:10.10 to take first in the 1,600 relay.

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