Tramblay's big night propels Huntley to 1st sectional crown
ROCKTON -- A personal tradition continued for Huntley hurdler Macy Tramblay at the Class 3A girls track and field sectional at Hononegah High School Thursday.
A new tradition, perhaps, began for her team.
Racing with a steady, sideways rain at her back, Tramblay set a new personal record in the 100-meter hurdles by winning in 14.72 seconds, slightly faster than the 14.73 she clocked at the same meet in 2014. It marks the fourth straight season the Colorado State recruit set a new personal best at the sectional.
"I wanted to hold my four-year streak because I thought that would be kind of cool," said Tramblay, a four-time state qualifier. "That motivated me. I honestly just stayed in the zone and worked on what I've been practicing all year."
Tramblay's victory was one of many individual efforts that lifted the Red Raiders to their first team sectional title. Thanks to the 10 points the Red Raiders gained from a victory in the 1,600-meter relay by Tramblay, Alyssa Bushman, Kate Mitchell and Tess Miller, the Fox Valley Conference champions finished with 72 team points.
Second-place Grant finished with 67 points, followed by Cary-Grove (58.5), Crystal Lake South (48.5), Belvidere North (43) and Jacobs (40.5).
"That's a first," 17-year Huntley coach Shawn Nordeen said of the sectional title. "This senior class and this whole group of girls from Day 1 of the season were winning meets and indoor invites that we've never won in the past. Together, at the very end of this, everything they've been doing has been amazing. It's been a great ride so far this whole year."
Tramblay fell just short of qualifying for state in the triple jump minutes after competing in the hurdles finals. However, Miller gave Huntley unexpected points when she prevailed in the event by jumping 36 feet, 6 inches.
It wasn't the only field event victory for the Red Raiders. Senior Delaney Lyman ran away with the pole vault competition. Her height of 11-6 secured the sectional title by 6 inches.
Huntley's 400-meter relay team of freshman Alex Handchetz, Cassidy Lackovic, Tramblay and Miller qualified automatically with their second-place finish (49.93).
Defending 800-meter Class 3A state champion Lauren Van Vlierbergen of Jacobs cruised to the sectional title. Her time of 2:13.29 was more than five seconds better than second-place finisher Jenna Lutzow of Belvidere North. The Michigan recruit's only lament? She was unable to compete against friendly rival Morgan Shulz of Cary-Grove, an Illinois commit who did not compete due to a stress fracture in her ankle.
"I wish Morgan wasn't hurt because it would have been nice to push each other," Van Vlierbergen said. "Other than that I was really happy to run a 2:13 open. I think that's my (personal record) for the season."
Van Vlierbergen was never challenged in the 1,600. She raced to a 60-meter lead after a lap and never relented, finishing in 5:05.55. Grant junior Madison Romig finished a distant second (5:16.35).
"I'll take it, definitely," Van Vlierbergen said. "I wanted to go out and give myself a chance to break five (minutes). I felt good after the half mile but with the weather, I think it kind of wore down everybody. Definitely not ideal conditions for qualifying for state but I made the best of it."
Jacobs junior Caleigh Walsh is also headed for O'Brien Stadium, thanks to her second-place finish in the long jump. Walsh's standard-matching leap of 17 feet, 6 inches was second only to Rockford East's Grace Bitagalo (18-3). Those Golden Eagles will be joined by senior teammate Taylor Bradford, who finished second in the 200-meter dash in 26.61 seconds.
Cary-Grove senior Eva Burk placed second to Tramblay in the 100-meter high hurdles (14.91) to earn her state ticket.
"I came out of the blocks really strong," Burk said. "It was one of my best races this year, especially with the conditions. I was super happy with my time. I'm really ready for next week."
Cary-Grove freshman Tabor Gleason was the sectional champion in the high jump (5-3), qualifying along with DeKalb's Karah Alvarez (5-3). Huntley freshman McKenzie Krich (fourth), Jacobs sophomore Rachel Holstein and Cary-Grove junior Nicole Robins fell short of state qualification after topping out at 4-11.
Gleason, who earlier this season cleared 5-5 at Naperville North, made 5-3 on her first attempt to win the event and ease her own apprehension.
"I was hoping, but you never know," Tabor said of extending her season. "I definitely wanted to place and I definitely wanted to go (to state), but it's raining, it's cold, there were so many people and everyone else was good. I'm definitely happy about it."
Cary-Grove's Nikki Freeman won the discus competition as expected. The junior finished with a heave of 130 feet, 6 inches. Grant junior Rachel Bicknase took second (123-8). Freeman's teammate, senior Olivia Roehri, also qualified with a fourth-place showing (118-7).
Crystal Lake South senior Kianna Clark won the shot put competition with her throw of 37 feet, 9.75 inches, less than two inches better than Rockford Auburn sophomore Alexandria McCoy.
The Crystal Lake South 3,200-meter relay team of freshman Kayla Ehrenhaft, senior Natalie Boorom, junior Caitlin Bruzzini and Seton Hall-bound senior Kiley Britten took third in the event in 9:29.88 behind winner Belvidere North (9:25.50) and Grant (9:29.19), but the Gators finished well under the state qualifying standard of 9:38.24.
"We had a pretty strong finish," Boorom said. "We were pretty motivated to get to state and we did. I'm very proud of our team. We all pushed each other to the point where we could make it. It was awesome. It was a good race."
Boorom later punched her state ticket in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with a second-place finish (46.14). Junior teammate Maddy Gil will join Boorom in Charleston next week, courtesy of her fourth-place qualifying effort (46.89).