Girls track and field: BG's Carr accelerates to sprint victories

By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/8/2017 7:17 PM

Buffalo Grove's Nya Carr had a pretty special sophomore season last year, qualifying to the Class 3A girls track state meet in the 100 dash, 200 dash and long jump.

If anything, she's only gaining momentum in her junior season.

Carr kept in the fast lane on a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon, taking first in both the 100 (12.52) and 200 (26.49) dashes at the Buffalo Grove Invitational.

Carr pulled away to win easily in both races against a stiff breeze.

"My times have improved a lot from over the summer," said Carr, who took second in the 60 (7.60) at the Illinois Top Times Indoor meet in March. "Today I was really pushing it and I feel pretty confident this year."

Carr is also running the 400 dash this season and hoping that will help her drop her times in the 200. It showed on Saturday as she pulled away from Neuqua Valley senior Lizzy McCadd (27.20) in the final 100 meters to secure her double-victory day.

"I'm going out and doing my thing," said Carr. "I'm looking to get better, and hopefully later on I'll see some of the people that really push me."

Lake Park edged Neuqua Valley 132-126 for the team title, aided by a strong performance from its fleet of hurdlers.

Cary-Grove secured third place with 115 points, followed by Stevenson (108) and Fremd (90). Lake Zurich (60), Buffalo Grove (48) and Waukegan (23) rounded out the nine-team field.

Sophomore Andie Granskog took first in the 100 high hurdles (16.62) for Lake Park, while senior Natalie Zolkos (48.67) and junior Allison Mack (48.73) went 1-2 in the 300 low hurdles.

Granskog also gave the Lancers a lift by taking second in high jump (4-11).

"We've been putting our strength in the hurdles," said Granskog, who also took fifth in the 200 (28.35) to help key Lake Park's title run. "I think the team really came together and we had some nice performance today."

Including senior Emily Golab, who won discus (114-02) and took second in the shot put (35-11), with senior Natalie Zolkos taking second in the long jump (16-04).

Junior Kelly Zehnder (9-09) and senior Jordan Ellie (8-06) put a stamp on the Lancers' victory by going 1-3 in the pole vault, which helped overcome a strong effort by Neuqua Valley.

Senior Lizzy McCadd led the way for Neuqua Valley. She notched a big victory in the 400 (59.83) by jumping out to the lead and fighting the wind down the home stretch to go below 60-second mark for the first time.

Ladd also combined with sophomore Autumn Rosales, senior Kemi Sodipe and sophomore MiKenna Robinson on the winning 400 relay (51.23).

"I know I wanted to get out fast in the 400," said McCadd who also added a second-place finish in the 200 (27.20). "But I didn't think I'd go under a minute … it's really surprising."

Junior Keara Ginnel added a first place finish in the 3,200 (12:01.59), with senior Rachel Ramon taking first in the triple jump (35-05.75) for Neuqua Valley.

The Wildcats also added second-place finishes in the 800 relay (1:51) and 3,200 relay (10:14.86), with Sodipe taking second in the 100 (13.18) and Robinson adding a third in the 200 (27.34).

"We went out there and had fun," said Robinson of the Wildcats' sprint group. "We'll continue to work on the hand-offs and speed and our times will go lower."

Cary-Grove graduated Nikki Freeman, who won the Class 3A title in discus last season. But the Trojans didn't miss a beat in the throws on Saturday.

Senior Paige Grove made her presence felt by winning the shot put (39-05.50) and adding a second-place finish in discus (98-0).

Cary-Grove junior Cathy Franco helped to guide a talented group of freshman and sophomore sprinters, pushing the Trojans to third place in both the 400 relay (51.45) and 800 relay (1:51.03) and adding a fourth-place finish in the 1,600 relay (4:21.83).

"We are working as a team and the freshman and sophomores have added energy," said Franco, a key member on all three relays. "We are hoping to hit some qualifying times -- anything can happen."

Freshman Lori Begun (long jump) and senior Emily Ashleman (100 low hurdles) added a pair of second-place finishes for the Trojans.

Stevenson had only one state qualifier last season, but the Patriots look from Saturday's results like they may offer a bit more this season.

Junior Isabelle Sparreo qualified in the 3,200 last season, but sure looked smooth in winning the 1,600 (5:06.89) on Saturday.

The Patriots junior jumped out to a commanding lead and was never challenged in winning with a 15-second cushion.

"I've decided this season I'm not going to let anyone else pace," said Sparreo who took 10th at the Class 3A cross country state meet in 2015. "I'm going to go out as hard as I can to get my time … that's what works best for me."

Senior Sydney Erickson, sophomore Payton Nierman, junior Meghan Liss and junior Haley Tokars combined to power the Patriots' to victory in the 800 relay (1:50.98).

Tokars anchored the Patriots to a win in the 800 relay and came back to spark a second-place finish in the 1,600 relay (4:19.68).

"The coaches have been very helpful in teaching the proper technique," said Tokars who is enjoying her first season in track. "The whole team is just coming together and working hard."

Junior Kesina Daley added a first-place finish in the high jump (5-01), with Gabriela Jagielo (800), sophomore Kendall Roberts (3,200), and sophomore Johnna Geick (pole vault) contributing second-place finishes for a much improved Stevenson team.

Fremd senior Linda Varela has found her comfort zone. The Vikings senior is coming off an all-state run in cross country last fall and has not missed a beat entering the track season

Varela cruised to a victory in the 800 (2:19.21) and then combined with sophomore Jordyn Iannuzzelli, freshman Rebecca Markham and sophomore Guiliana Lawrence to push the Vikings to first place in the 1,600 relay (4:19.11).

"It's kind of surprising for me, pretty cool and exciting," said Varela of her emergence. "I'm really happy with my performance today in the 800 today, especially since I wasn't pushed."

Markham anchored the Vikings to a win in the 3,200 relay (10:13), combining with Lawrence, junior Clare Oehler-O'Sullivan and freshman Marrisa Ban.

Senior Cara Ogilvy also had a nice day in taking second in the 400 (60.83), fourth in the 200 (28.15) along with a leg on the Vikings' second-place effort in the 400 relay (51.24).

"We have so many options that can help with our relays," said Ogilvy who was part of Fremd's 1,600 relay that took sixth in Class 3A last season. "I think the experience helps, and we just feel more confident in what were doing."

Freshman Julia Finegan added a second place finish for the Vikings in the 1,600 (5:21).

Lake Zurich sophomore Izzy Klett captured the long jump title hitting an impressive 16-10.25.

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