Girls track: Lakes' Tilmon bears down at county meet
She takes the cleats off immediately after each race.
Might be because they are one fire -- which actually wouldn't be surprising, seeing that Lakes senior sprinter Taylor Tilmon had just picked up county titles in the 400- and 200-meter runs.
"It don't really like wearing shoes. They're uncomfortable and need to come off right after each race," said Tilmon, who currently holds the state's top time to this point in the season after winning the 400 in 56.27. "The goal is to get to 54.4 (in the 400). I'm tired but it feels good to get out and race after all of the weather issues. But that was close to a perfect race. I need to work on the blocks and getting faster in the second phase of the race."
Her time in the 200 was 24.62, and in her first event she also took second in the 100 (12.24).
The NIU track commit was just one of many standouts competing in the Lake County girls track and field invitational at Grayslake Central on a beautiful Thursday evening.
Tilmon's sophomore running mate Olivia Schmitt also picked up a county title in winning the 800 (2:19.23) as Lakes finished seventh in the team standings with 47 points. Just 30 points separated the top eight.
"It's only our second week of racing, so I was just looking for a good race," said Schmitt, who went to state in the 800 last spring and set a personal best (2:16.0) in the 800 last week at Palatine. "I ran the mile last year but unexpectedly made it to state in the 800. Running less is good, and I like the 800 because it's more of a 'race' with more urgency."
Grant has been a consistent power over recent years, having won the county title two years in a row.
The Bulldogs (71 points) finished a very respectable second on Thursday, behind champion Highland Park, which tallied 75.
"We've started establishing a tradition where both of our programs girls and boys programs work closely together, and that definitely helps," said coach Greg Wodzien, who was quick to credit hurdles coach Tom Evans for helping fuel the cohesiveness between the athletes in the track program. "Everyone's so supportive of each other. We don't have the big hammers, so to speak, but we have a lot of depth."
Libertvyille senior distance runner Melissa Manetsch claimed a county title in the 3,200 run, where she posted a time of 11:19.53.
"I'm trying to moderate my energy and effort," said Manetsch, who also took third in the 1,600 (5:09.66) and is a three-time state qualifier. "This is my last go of it -- every race has extra significance. I decided to go to U of I to concentrate on engineering."
Libertyville was third (67), while Warren was fourth (62) and Lake Zurich fifth (60).
Sophomore triple jumper Izzy Klett took home first place after a best jump of 35-¾ feet.
"It's nice to get out here and be warm. I felt it was going to be a good day because you're looser," said Klett, who also won the long jump in 17-2. "I'm working on good, consistent speed. Not satisfied yet but getting back to state again would be worth it."
her teammate, sophomore Kelsey Rothas, also picked up a victory in the pole vault (11-0).
Lake Zurich's 400 relay also took the county title in 9:43, while Warren won the 400 relay (50.21).
Stevenson senior Isabelle Sparreo was a county champion in the 1,600 (5:07.18), while Grayslake Central junior Meghan Fletcher won the high jump (5-6).