Girls track and field: Glenbard West's Hart closing in on state, national records

 
 
Updated 4/24/2018 11:46 AM
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  • Glenbard West's Katelynne Hart reacts to her record-breaking 3200 meter-run time of 9:52.02 during the Glenbard West Girls Track Invite.

      Glenbard West's Katelynne Hart reacts to her record-breaking 3200 meter-run time of 9:52.02 during the Glenbard West Girls Track Invite. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Glenbard West's Katelynne Hart focuses on her record-breaking 3,200-meter-run time of 9:52.02 Saturday during the Glenbard West Girls Track Invite.

      Glenbard West's Katelynne Hart focuses on her record-breaking 3,200-meter-run time of 9:52.02 Saturday during the Glenbard West Girls Track Invite. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Records are made to be broken. Glenbard West sophomore Katelynne Hart is on pace to break one.

A quick Internet search produced a 2011 Maxpreps.com article, "Ten most untouchable track and field prep records." Listed at No. 8 was Kim Mortensen's 3,200-meter time of 9 minutes, 48.59 seconds, which the California runner accomplished in 1996.

Two weeks after setting the nation's top girls outdoor 3,200 time this season of 10:02.56 at Arcadia, California, on Saturday in Glen Ellyn Hart put herself in position by running 9:52.02 at the Sue Pariseau Invitational.

As Daily Herald correspondent Kevin McGavin reported, that broke Woodstock graduate Kayla Beattie's prior Illinois-best 9:56.96 from the 2011 state finals, which still stands as the Illinois High School Association record because state records are taken only from state meets.

According to Mike Newman of ILXCTF.com, Hart ran the fastest time ever for an American girl as a sophomore, the fifth fastest American girls time ever combining 3,200-meter and 2-mile runners.

"I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to feel (entering the race)," Hart told the Daily Herald on Saturday.

She felt solid enough to open with a 70.6-second opening 400 meters and ran her first mile, or four laps, in 4:54.2. A series of 75-second splits followed until Hart closed with a 71.3-second final lap.

Naperville North girls coach Dan Iverson said Hart's ascension to Illinois' all-time list "was inevitable at some point, but it was cool to see."

Hart topped the Huskies' Sarah Schmitt, the runner-up, by 33 seconds. Schmitt, who dropped her personal-record to 10:25.95, is a five-time all-stater spanning track and cross country headed to Indiana University.

"It was kind of cool to run in a race where history was made. I really couldn't see her during the race. She was so far ahead of me," Schmitt said.

"She is an amazing runner. She has definitely forced the state to run faster times."

Hart proceeded to win the open mile in 4:51.03 -- No. 7 on the IHSA all-time list of top performances -- and anchor the Hilltoppers' winning 1,600 relay. Last June, Hart ran the 1,600 in 4:44.92 at St. Ignatius' Magis Miles.

"She is the most impressive I have seen in terms of the workload and what she is capable of doing," said Glenbard West distance coach Paul Hass.

Back in action:

All-state York senior Charlie Kern has had a turbulent couple of years due to a mysterious illness. Last week was a positive.

In a home triangular meet April 20, Kern won the 400 in a hand-timed 50.5 seconds in his first meet since running indoors at Proviso West on Feb. 24.

During Saturday's Distance Night in Palatine he ran the 800-meter portion of the Dukes' distance medley, which finished second to Downers Grove North's stellar quartet of Jacob Ridderhoff, Brendan Lockerby, Ryan Birkmeier and Miles Christensen.

The Missouri-bound Kern ran his 800 meters in 1:54.4, according to his father, also Charlie Kern. Last spring Kern placed third in the 800 in Class 3A in 1:54.26.

"He's still not 100 percent, but he's coming around so we're excited about that," the elder Kern said Monday.

His son's troubles stemmed from an infection while at the Nike Cross Nationals in December 2015. The mononucleosis-type malaise even kept the senior out of school last fall for a spell, the coach said. In cross country the younger Kern was barely healthy enough to participate in sectional and state meets. After placing eighth, second and fourth in Class 3A his first three years in high school, Kern finished 68th.

What's more, both of coach Charlie Kern's other children, Ethan and Emma, have been nursing injuries.

"It's been tough for the Kerns," the coach said.

Quick hitters:

According to results received by the Daily Herald, when Lisle boys participated in all four relay races April 17 at Seneca it was the first time since 2015 the Lions had finished all four in any one year.

Also according to Daily Herald records, in 2017 as a freshman Downers Grove South's Shawn Lee topped out at 43 feet, 11 inches in shot put. Friday at the Mustangs' Bob Cohoon invite the sophomore moved to 53-4. Lee holds Downers South's records for freshmen and sophomores.

It's been a couple weeks, but on April 12 at Elgin's Gary Everett Invitational, Addison Trail's Alvaro Garza ran the 400 in 53.42 seconds -- exactly his PR from 2017. And Saturday at Lake Park's girls Carol Koszola Classic, Blazers freshman Viviana Sanfilippo broke a 37-year school record in the 3,200 record by 20 seconds.

No time like the present:

Track teams lacking big numbers will fill events on the fly.

Rae Van Kanegan's marks in triple jump at Saturday's Walther Christian Invitational weren't world-beaters, but they were great for appreciative Timothy Christian girls coach Kevin Hackert.

"Good job, Rae," the coach told Van Kanegan when she was finished. "On one day of practice we'll take that."

Kevin McGavin contributed to this report.

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