Girls track and field: West Aurora, Batavia take UEC honors
Have fun out there.
That was West Aurora coach Teresa Towles' simple message for her talented, balanced girls track and field team before Thursday's Upstate Eight Conference meet at Elgin's Memorial Field.
The Blackhawks definitely took their 14th-year coach's message to heart.
Led by sophomore sprinter Dajour Miles -- who swept the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes -- the sprint relay teams and strong showings in the field events, the Blackhawks breezed to the UEC Valley title.
"They came out here in good fashion and they showed what they're made of," Towles said.
Miles won the 400-meter dash in 59.13, the 100 in 12.28 seconds. The sophomore, competing in track for the first time, said the entire experience was a blast.
"We're doing awesome and I just love it. This team is great," said Miles, who transferred to West Aurora from Waubonsie Valley after her freshman year. "I have a lot of friends on this team and it's just awesome to be on."
The Blackhawks picked up 18 points in the long jump, thanks to 1-2 finishes by seniors Kayla Battle (16 feet, 11.5 inches) and Rajia Andrews (16-10.75). Battle's best jump was five inches better than UEC River champ Symone Houston-Davis of Batavia (16-6.5).
Andrews also won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.09.
West Aurora's 1,600-meter relay team closed out the night in style. The foursome of Nya Nazario, Abigail Kuhnn, Alyssa Mayhew last leg Tamia Rayford won the event in 4:07.57, more than two seconds faster than Glenbard East.
The Blackhawks won the UEC Valley title in the 800-meter relay (1:46.85), but River champ Batavia's 1:46.37 was a tad faster.
In fact, Batavia won its second UEC River title in three years by besting 2016 champion Geneva 186-144.
"We always tell them it takes a team, a sacrifice where an individual gives everything up for the team and it's all about their commitment," Batavia coach Justin Allison said. "They really displayed that tonight. I'm super proud of every individual on the team. They really showed their heart and passion."
Batavia received an expected boost in the shot put from veteran Samantha Healy, whose winning distance of 38 feet flat was a confidence booster heading into next week's sectional. It marked the second time the Ithaca College-bound senior reached 38 feet this season and the first since her season best distance of 38 feet, 8 inches at an earlier meet at Metea Valley.
"I needed this," said Healy, who won her second overall UEC title and her third UEC River title. "This was really good. I know that I can do it."
Geneva distance runner Sophia McDonnell won the 3,200. The sophomore's time of 11:05.17 bested St. Charles North junior Audrey Ernst (11:08.42).
In the 300-meter hurdles, Geneva junior Georgia Reed (45.63) used a big closing kick to edge St. Charles East senior Casey McNichols and Batavia freshman Sabrina Schlenker (47.78).
"I just really wanted to get past that girls and I pushed really hard," said Reed, a repeat UEC River champion in the 300 hurdles. "I tried my overall best. I've been training like crazy."