Girls track and field: Wauconda's Daun gets it done

  • Wauconda's Grace Daun reacts to winning a state championship in the Class 3A high jump during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Wauconda's Grace Daun reacts to winning a state championship in the Class 3A high jump during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Grace Daun clears the bar with a winning high jump effort during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Wauconda's Grace Daun clears the bar with a winning high jump effort during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Grace Daun concentrates before her winning jump in the Class 3A high jump during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Wauconda's Grace Daun concentrates before her winning jump in the Class 3A high jump during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Kelsey Rothas competes in the Class 3A pole vault during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Lake Zurich's Kelsey Rothas competes in the Class 3A pole vault during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Brigid Hull and Lauren Laughlin juggle the exchange in the rain but are able to continue in the Class 2A 3,200-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Carmel's Brigid Hull and Lauren Laughlin juggle the exchange in the rain but are able to continue in the Class 2A 3,200-meter relay during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Nya Carr and Lakes's Taylor Tilmon compete in the Class 3A 100-meter dash during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston.

    Buffalo Grove's Nya Carr and Lakes's Taylor Tilmon compete in the Class 3A 100-meter dash during the girls track and field state finals Saturday in Charleston. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/19/2018 9:27 PM

CHARLESTON -- Wauconda's Grace Daun certainly knows how to come through under pressure.

Daun, a diabetic, started her day bit under the weather and bit dehydrated. It didn't help that the temperature was spiking into the 80s at the Class 3A high school girls state track and field meet at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Field.

 

But the Bulldogs junior had a bit of business to take care of in the high jump.

Daun found herself locked in a three-way battle with Normal Community senior Grace Cleveland and Oswego sophomore Jenelle Rogers. They were the last three left in the Class 3A high jump.

All three missed on their first two attempts at 5-8, and after Cleveland and Rogers missed on their final attempt, the spotlight was fixed firmly on Daun.

She got plenty of lift from her right leg and cleared the height, securing the Class 3A state title in the high jump.

"It's amazing," said Daun, who said she didn't know she'd won until she heard the cheers. "I looked up and thought, 'No way is this happening.' I was hungry for it and I'm just so happy."

Daun tied for seventh in the high jump as a freshman and then tied for sixth as a sophomore.

She became the first female athlete at Wauconda to win a girls track and field state title.

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"It's overwhelming," said Wauconda coach Ali Luetschwager of Daun's performance. "It's such a great accomplishment and I'm so excited for her."

Daun had only four misses on Saturday and would have won the title even if she'd missed on her final attempt, though she did not know that at the time.

Last year, Daun was slowed by a stress fracture on her right leg, which is her power leg for the high jump. This year she was healthy and showed it by clearing 5-8 for only the second time in her career, with the first time back in her freshman year.

"I've just been working so hard coming off the injury and couldn't ask for a better finish," Daun said.

Naperville North (53 points) edged Homewood-Flossmoor (47 points) for the Class 3A title, becoming the first school to win both a cross country title and track and field title in the same school year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Belleville West took third with 39 points.

Glenbard West sophomore Katelynne Hart had a distance sweep, winning both the 3,200 (10:12.96) and 1,600 (4:47.36), and setting a Class 3A record in the 1,600.

Lakes senior Taylor Tilmon completed a fine weekend by taking second in the 400 (55.76), fifth in the 200 (24.79), and sixth in the 100 (12.13).

"I'm just happy," said Tilmon who credited a big off-season for her improvement. "I never thought I'd run this fast, but it was a gradual climb."

Warren junior Janii Jenkins added another medal to her collection. She earned a third-place medal in the 400 last season and once again came through on Saturday.

Jenkins used a hard finish to secure fourth place in the 400 (56.49), eclipsing her time from last season.

"I didn't place higher this season, but I had a faster time," said Jenkins of her performance. "I'm definitely happy with the results."

Warren freshman Annika Bynum earned her first state medal by tying for ninth place in the high jump (5-04).

Libertyville's Melissa Manetsch ended her career on high note.The Wildcats senior skipped running in the 1,600 preliminaries on Friday to preserve her energy for Saturday's 3,200 final, and it definitely paid off.

Manetsch ran to a personal best with a fifth-place finish in the 3,200 (10:39.87).

"A key to the race was just taking it one lap at time," said Manetsch. "It's really a great way to go out."

Stevenson freshman Camille Clay captured her first state medal by taking ninth in the shot put (39-02.25).

"It was a great experience," said Clay. "I just tried to treat like another meet."

Antioch senior Jill Everett secured a state medal by taking eighth in the discus (128-11).

Everett hit a personal best and also set a school record on her second throw in the finals.

"Honestly, I didn't know if it was going to be good or not, it didn't feel like my best throw at all," said Everett. "It was super exciting and pretty surreal."

Grayslake Central junior Meghan Fletcher earned her second consecutive state medal by tying for ninth in the high jump (5-04).

"It's pretty special to get another medal," added Fletcher.

Class 2A

Carmel's Aileen Hull ended her career on a high note.

Hull combined with sophomore Ezzie Posner, freshman Brigid Hull and senior Lauren Lauglin to take seventh in 3,200 relay (9:48.77).

The Corsairs senior then came back to eighth in the 1,600 (5:16.36).

"It's redemption for last year," said Hull who didn't medal as junior after earning a medal in the 1,600 as a sophomore. "I'm just thankful for everyone who supported me through my four years and I really enjoyed running this year."

Dunlap (102 points) stormed to its second consecutive state title in Class 2A, while St. Joseph Ogden (43 points) took first in Class 1A.

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