The 3,200-meter relay and the high jump are something of an odd combination in girls track and field, but Alex Enright makes them work.
The Wheaton Warrenville South junior qualified in both events for next weekend's state meet in Charleston out of Thursday's Class 3A sectional at Red Grange Field in Wheaton.
"Everything about her is team, really," Tigers coach Rob Harvey said. "We kind of had the funny idea a couple of weeks ago to throw her in the 4x8, and boy, she's going to the state meet in the 4x8 now. And the high jump, which is kind of a weird combo."
It made sense, though, when Harvey and his coaches saw Enright had a little time on her hands, athletic ability and typical Tigers work ethic.
"She kind of had this dead spot in the meet where she didn't really do anything, so we kind of threw the idea by her and she said, OK, I'll try it," Harvey said. "She ran 2:25 the first time she ever did (her leg of the 3,200 relay), so it worked out really well. She sacrificed a little bit with her 300 hurdles, probably, but she ran well tonight."
Enright didn't qualify in the 300 hurdles with her time of 48.70, good for fourth place. But she did earn a spot downstate by clearing 5 feet, 3 inches in the high jump, also good for fourth place behind teammate and event winner Erin Zappia, who went 5-5.
"We kind of play off each other," Enright said of Zappia. "I missed a height kind of low and then she missed a height kind of low, and then I got it back up and she got it back up. I think it's going to be really interesting once we get down there to see how well we can do."
The Tigers won the team championship with 98.5 points, outlasting Prospect because the Tigers scored in every event but the long jump, possibly an event Enright can pick up next year.
"I was really excited about (the team title) because us and Prospect, we've always been really close, neck and neck, so I'm really proud of everybody for pulling it off tonight," Enright said.
Prospect scored 87 points.
"Second is still pretty good," Prospect coach Dave Wurster added. "Wheaton Warrenville South is a really strong team. Glenbard West is a really strong team. So getting second in the sectional is pretty good."
Glenbard West took third at 61, followed by Lake Park (52.5), Willowbrook (46) and Addison Trail (45).
Not everything worked out as Prospect hoped.
"Kind of a mixed bag," Wurster said. "We had a lot of top seeds coming in, so we kind of figured they would qualify. Most of them did, but we had a few glitches here and there. Those things happen in meets."
The Knights did well in the field events, where Erin Reese won the shut put in with a toss of 42-9.5 and took second in the discus with a throw of 127-7, trailing only Jennifer Donnell of Conant. Catherine Sherwood won the long jump by going 17-10.5 and the triple jump in 36-0.25.
"That's the one thing we've really hung our hat on the last few years," Wurster said of the field events.
The sectional marked the first 3,200-meter run of the spring for defending state champion Madeline Perez of Glenbard West. Perez, who has been battling injuries, qualified second behind teammate Lindsay Graham despite running in the slower of the two heats because she had no time for seeding purposes this season. Graham won in 10:36.83 to Perez's 10:45.74.
"It's great to be back out here," Perez said after placing second to Prospect's Christina Santiago in the 1,600.
Perez isn't in great shape, but she said she'll be ready for state with another week to train.
"I've been running full miles for about two weeks now, so I haven't had that much under my belt, but it's getting there every day," she said.
The sectional marked the first time Santiago tried the 3,200-1,600 double.
"She did great at it," Wurster said, noting it will be easier at state where there's more time between races.
Santiago ran second in the 3,200 behind Graham but qualified third once Perez's time was factored in from the early heat.
"I had my doubts in the mile, because I've never run the 2-mile/mile combo before," Santiago said. "When we reached about 600 (meters) to go I felt really strong and I felt I was ready to make my move there."
While the double is new to Santiago, the whole sectional scene is new to Addison Trail freshman Lauren Kroll, who took second to Lake Park's Mani Lock in the 200. Next week she'll learn all about state after qualifying in that race and the 800 relay.
"It's pretty insane," Kroll said with a big smile.