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posted: 4/6/2013 12:01 AM

Prospect vaults to relay victory

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Prospect and Wheaton Warrenville South were neck and neck the entire night at the ninth annual Prospect Relays.

But the Knights were able to edge the Tigers at the finish for title in the seven-team field, finishing with 140 points.

Wheaton Warrenville South took second with 131 points, followed by Warren (94), Deerfield (51), Rolling Meadows (50), Wheeling (48), and Elk Grove (10).

Host Prospect and WW-South were tied at 130 with one event remaining, but the Knights took first in the pole vault relay to cement their victory.

Prospect won seven events and took second in six events to nail down the title. Wheaton Warrenville South won six events and took second in seven events in the close battle.

"Going neck-and--neck with a quality team like Wheaton South is a good way to start the season," said Prospect coach Dave Wurster. "It was good early test. We definitely have some holes we have to work on, but everybody does."

Senior Brooke Wolfe, senior Lauren Poplawski, junior Christina Santiago and sophomore Hannah Getschman set the tone by leading Prospect to an impressive victory in the distance medley. Wolfe started it with an impressive 3:52 for the 1,200, and Santiago finished the relay by going 5:15 in the 1,600. Getschman (400) and Poplawski (800) were solid in between.

Santiago (5:14.8) and Wolfe (5:17.9) then went 2-3 in the 4x 1,600 relay as the Knights finished second.

"We're excited and working really hard," said Santiago, who took sixth in 1,600 in Class 3A last season. "It's a good start to the season, and we are looking forward to see what we can do."

"Definitely tough competition at this meet, but everyone worked hard," said Wolfe. "We just want to keep strong throughout the season."

Freshman Maya Mason, sophomore Taylor Will, freshman Brenda Kendziera and senior Maggie Devereux powered Prospect to the 4 x 100 high hurdle shuttle relay (1:10). Sophomore Catherine Sherwood and freshman Jess Skudlarek helped propel the Knights to the frosh/soph 400 relay title (52.7)

Prospect also got it done in the field as junior Erin Reese (40-5) led the Knights to the shot put title. Reese also took second individually in helping secure the discus title at 132-2.

Prospect won the long jump relay, led by Sherwood (16-5.75) and Kendziera (16-5).

Senior McKenna Kiple combined with senior Erin Herrmann, senior Helen Majer, and freshman Step Gorski in leading Wheaton Warrenville South to the 3,200 title (9:54).

Kiple (5:12.1) then came back to take first individually leading the Tigers to first in the 4x1,600 relay.

Herrmann (5:22.8) and senior Kayla Kightlinger (5:23.1) also were key for WW South in the 4x1,600.

Kiple anchored WW-South to a record setting state title in the 3,200 relay (8:59.03) last season.

"We all believe in ourselves and we're setting high goals," said Kiple whose team was missing Hope Schmelzle on Friday. "I think the attitude from last season has carried on to this season."

Sophomore Kaydee Snodgress, junior Jennifer Fiola, Jessica Winterheimer and senior Jessica Spera gave the Tigers a lift by taking first in the 800 relay (1:48.9).

Junior Emma Dalen (49.5) powered WW-South to the victory in the 300 low hurdle relay.

"The goal is to keep shooting high," said Dalen.

Erin Zappia cleared 5-4 leading WW-South to the high jump relay, and Amy Smith cleared 10-6 to take first individually in the pole vault. The Tigers also took first in the triple jump relay.

Warren sophomore Brittany Ellis opened a few eyes last season by winning the Class 3A state title in the 400 and taking sixth in the 200.

Ellis is picking up where she left off, the Warren sophomore led the Blue Devils to three victories on Friday.

Ellis combined with D'Maya Griffen, Autumn Santos, and Lexi Volka to take first in the opening 800 medley (1:58.5).

The sophomore then came back to combine with Brynn Santos, Marquesa Daniels, and Autumn Santos to take first in the 400 relay (50.1).

Ellis finished her day by coming from behind in the final lap to help Warren secure the victory in the 1,600 relay (4:12.6).

"I knew time was running out, so I knew I had to go for it," said Ellis, who ran a 56.3 final lap to secure the victory, switching gears for the final 200 meters. "I just have to keep working hard, but my goal is to win state again."

Rolling Meadows senior Morgan Keller has already accumulated five state medals, including finishing third in shot put and fourth in discus last year.

Keller is off to a hot start this season, she hit a 145-01 in the discus to lead the Mustangs to second place. She also had an impressive mark in the shot put (39-9).

"I am really putting in a lot of work with discus," said Keller of her hot start, which included 145-10 on Tuesday. "It definitely is building my confidence, but there is still a lot I can work on."

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