Palatine, Barrington tops as change is in the air at LZ

By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/16/2014 11:47 PM

Change was a big theme at the Class 3A Lake Zurich girls track sectional on Friday night.

Palatine and Barrington once again locked up in a tense battle, but this time the Pirates were able to get the edge on the Mid-Suburban League champion Fillies to win the sectional title with 106 points.

Warren junior sensation Brittny Ellis switched into the 1,600 relay and led the Blue Devils to a come-from-behind victory in 4:01.17.

And Lakes junior twins Danielle and Brittani Griesbaum moved from Class 2A to Class 3A, but the result remained familiar as they combined to qualify in six events.

Last week Barrington won the MSL meet, with Palatine finishing 4 points behind in third place.

The Pirates needed a first-place finish from Megan Thabuteau in the triple jump (35-05), which was the last remaining event, to secure the sectional title. Barrington took second with 98 points, followed by Warren (82.5 points), Lakes (73 points), and Libertyville (50 points).

"We knew it was going to be close, but it was nice to come out on top this time," said Palatine coach Joe Park, whose team advanced three relays and six individuals to next week's Class 3A state meet at Eastern Illinois University. "The most important thing was trying to get as many individuals down to state as possible."

And the Pirates did that, with sophomore Kelly O'Brien leading the charge. She took first in the 1,600 (5:05.47), holding off a challenge from Fremd junior Ayako Higuchi (5:07.47).

O'Brien started the night by combining with senior Liz Cox, senior Cassidy McPherson, and junior Kara Burton to give the Pirates a commanding victory in the 3,200 relay (9:20.67).

The Pirates sophomore then ended the night anchoring the 1,600 relay (4:01.58) to a second-place finish.

"I'm getting used to the workload," said O'Brien of her busy night. "We wanted to finish the night off well; I just wanted to do it for my team. Everyone put so much hard work into tonight, and we had a lot of girls step up."

Junior Caitlin Riedy did her part, coming from behind to win the 300 low hurdles (46.24) by an eyelash over Libertyville's Katie Sackett (46.29) and the Barrington junior duo of Sara-Kate Capel (46.51) and Anna Cosio (46.77).

"It was really close and I just gave it a lean at the finish," said Riedy of her 300 low hurdles victory.

Riedy also was part of the second-place 1,600 relay team.

"We brought our 'A' game tonight," said Riedy, "and everyone did it for the team."

Junior Amy Kieliszewski (11:32.5) and senior Jessica Lincoln (11:33.42) gave the Pirates a 1-2 finish in the 3,200. McPherson added a second-place finish in the 800 (2:19.32), and the Pirates added a second place finish in the 400 relay (50.11).

Barrington kept it close as senior McCall Braun gave the Fillies some early momentum by taking second in the long jump (17-03.75) and delivering a victory in the 100 low hurdles (15.6).

"Even though I'm a senior, I still had some nerves tonight -- but I'm excited to get back downstate," Braun said.

Barrington also flashed its speed in winning the 800 relay (1:45.17) as junior Nina Hodges, senior Kristin Clarke, senior Gabby McLaurin and freshman Kelsey McLaurin combined to lead the Fillies to the victory. Freshman Addi Coy added a second-place finish in the 400 (58.41), senior Rachel Cheever won the discus (127-01) and senior Brooke Morgan took second in the triple jump (34-09). Capel and Cossio both advanced in the 300 low hurdles, with Capel coming back to anchor the 1,600 relay (4:03.1) to a third-place finish and state qualification.

Barrington also advanced its 3,200 relay (9:34.87) with a third-place finish.

"It's not about waiting, now is the time," said Capel of a talented group of freshmen and sophomores that came of age and led the Fillies' effort. "We always want to win."

Ellis, the two-time defending Class 3A 400 champion, was back in rare form in leading Warren to four victories. She started the night by combining with senior Marquesa Daniels, junior Becky Haight and junior Autumn Santos to a win in the 400 relay (49.03).

The Blue Devils junior then cruised to the 400 title in 56.08, and followed it up by taking first in the 200 (25.24).

She found out she would be running the 1,600 relay on Wednesday, and came from behind in the final lap to secure the triumph.

"I feel really good and I'm happy I could bring the 1,600 home with a victory," said Ellis who will be eyeing a state three-peat in the 400. "I have a few jitters, but the plan remains the same -- defend my 400 title and get us a medal in the 400 relay."

Ellis combined with Jasmine Griffen, Greta Doden, and Haight in the 1,600 relay victory.

"Brittny did her part, but she couldn't do it alone," said Warren coach Ryan Dunn of the 1,600 relay. "The first three had to run their race to put Brittny into position, and they did that. It was an exclamation point on a great night."

Santos won the 100 dash (12.47), with freshman Abena Atuobi adding a second-place finish in shot put (37-11) and junior Keely Knobble taking second in the discus (125-03).

The Griesbaum twins led Lakes to back-to-back 3,200 state titles in Class 2A the past two seasons. This year, the plan is to divide and conquer.

Danielle took first in the 800 (2:17.10), using a decisive move with 300 meters remaining. She also added a second-place finish in the high jump (5-3), and she also helped the Eagles take second in the 800 relay (1:46.09).

Brittani won the long jump (18-04), and placed second in the 100 dash (12.56) and 200 dash (25.46).

"We tried our hardest to do our best," said Danielle of Lakes' effort. "I think we both performed pretty well tonight."

Sophomore Maeve Tuley took second in the pole vault (10-0) and senior Emily Webster qualified with a fourth-place finish in the discus (118-04) for Lakes. Lakes sophomore Evelyn Felipez also qualified in both the 100 wheelchair (36.92) and 200 wheelchair (1:17.26).

Fremd junior duo of Ayako Higuchi and Katie Escobar got it done for the Vikings. The two went 2-3 in the 1,600, both qualifying for the state meet, and they started their night by leading the Vikings to a second-place finish in the 3,200 relay (9:29.68).

"We've been working hard all season and it finally happened," said Escobar.

"We worked very hard this season," added Higuchi, "I'm thrilled for the team."

Libertyville sophomore Lily Moore won pole vault by clearing a season-best 10-9. She'll join Sackett, who qualified in the 300 low hurdles, at the state meet.

"I was a little nervous coming in, but tonight definitely gives me a boost for next week," said Moore.

Stevenson senior Jaclyn Setina took first in the high jump (5-03).

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