Girls track and field: Glenbard South leaving MSC with championship run intact

  • Glenbard South's Ania Gniatczyk takes off after the handoff from teammate Shirley Cassidy in the girls 4x800 meter relay varsity race division championships at Glenbard South.

      Glenbard South's Ania Gniatczyk takes off after the handoff from teammate Shirley Cassidy in the girls 4x800 meter relay varsity race division championships at Glenbard South. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Academy's Julia Robleski pulls ahead of the pack in the girls 3,200-meter run varsity race division championships at Glenbard South.

      Wheaton Academy's Julia Robleski pulls ahead of the pack in the girls 3,200-meter run varsity race division championships at Glenbard South. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Fenton's Sarah Mason (left) pulls ahead of IC Catholic Kiersten King in the girls 400-meter relay varsity race for the win in the division championships at Glenbard South.

      Fenton's Sarah Mason (left) pulls ahead of IC Catholic Kiersten King in the girls 400-meter relay varsity race for the win in the division championships at Glenbard South. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/4/2018 10:58 PM

Glenbard South is leaving the Metro Suburban Conference the same way it entered the league eight years ago -- and every year in between -- with an outdoor girls track and field championship.

The Raiders scored 122.33 points to capture the MSC Blue Division title, its eighth straight conference crown. Fenton placed second with 99.33 points, IC Catholic Prep was third with 95, Wheaton Academy fourth at 73 and Aurora Central Catholic fifth with 68.

 

"I'm proud of the eight-year run," Raiders coach Mark Tacchi said. "It's certainly nice. It's going to be a challenge next year going to the Upstate Eight. It's going to be a very different group of schools."

Tacchi braced for the streak to be broken, trying to lower expectations because of improvement in the Fenton and ICCP programs.

"Tacchi, the other day, was like, 'Yeah, it's OK if we don't win.' Like he wasn't really sure of it," senior thrower Ashley Dodge said. "Everyone is doing so well. Everyone on my team is PR-ing, just having a good day."

The Raiders got 14 unexpected but much-needed points in the 300 hurdles from second-place Emma Taylor and third-place Lily Taylor. The 3,200 relay team placed first.

Glenbard South's Ciara Jackson and Maggie Bair went 1-2 in the shot put, and Dodge was one of the Raiders to set a personal record, winning the discus at 110 feet, 2 inches.

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"It was a great night overall," Tacchi said.

Dodge played badminton as a freshman before making the switch to track. It's worked out for her as well as her team.

"I love track. I love the coach. I love everyone on the team so much," she said.

She'd love it even more if she can add 2 feet to her discus to reach the state-qualifying mark at next Thursday's Class 2A Lisle sectional.

"It's all about what's in my head. I can throw it in practice, it's just whether I can do it in a meet," Dodge said.

Wheaton Academy was led by defending Class 2A 300-meter hurdles champion Karyn Best, who also placed sixth in the 100 hurdles a year ago. This year she's running with the state record in the 300 hurdles, 42.14, written in ink on the inside of her right wrist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That was my first year doing both races, so I know I'm going to improve a lot in the 100 hurdles. I just PR'd today, so that's evidence of that, which is exciting, so hopefully I'll be able to place top three," said Best, a senior who has the coaches at Cal State-Fullerton and Cal State-Long Beach waiting anxiously for her college decision.

Best prepared for the sectional by winning both hurdles events, then ending the night by going back-to-back in the 200 and the 1,600 relay. She placed second in the 200 behind ICCP's Kiersten King, then anchored the third-place relay.

She admitted to being exhausted afterward but found the energy to take a couple of cool-down laps by herself on the track as the Raiders celebrated.

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