Girls track and field: Freshman Schlenker leads Batavia to DuKane title
Katrina Schlenker is primed to follow up her girls cross country season with an equally impressive first campaign in track and field.
The Batavia freshman was one of three individual multiple champions in directing the Bulldogs to a 126-108 victory over St. Charles East in the inaugural DuKane Conference indoor meet.
Wheaton Warrenville South was third with its renowned balance with 102 points; Lake Park excelled in the field to place fourth (85 points).
Geneva (53 points), Wheaton North (45), Glenbard North (45) and St. Charles North (20) rounded out the eight-team field.
Making only her second appearance in the 3,200-meter run, Schlenker, the Class 3A state runner-up in cross country last fall, lowered in seed time by more than 27 seconds in posting one of the top times this season at 10 minutes, 32.62 seconds.
The indoor facility at Batavia is notoriously fast, and Schlenker came back to register another championship effort in the 1,600 with a time of 5:03.56.
"It was a fun race," Schlenker said of the new field house record she set in the 3,200. "(St. Charles East sophomore) Alice Abbott is really fast. I knew going in she had the faster seed time."
But the race-long drama between the two all-state cross country runners turned out all for naught as Abbott was disqualified for an improper lane change early in the race.
"I wanted my team to score some points in the 2-mile," said Abbott, who was timed in 10:40-plus. "I know what I ran."
The Bulldogs' other championships came from field-event performers Amy Zabka and Mackenzie Benkers in the shot put (39 feet, 4.5 inches) and pole vault (9-6), respectively.
"It felt really good coming out," Zabka said of her new personal-best mark. "I was surprised by how far it was but not out of the ordinary."
St. Charles East duplicated the four Batavia championships to finish runner-up.
Emily Nichols was the conference sprint mainstay of the new league as the senior won the 55 and 400 dashes in 7.49 and 61,33 seconds.
Nichols' quest for a third title was dashed by Wheaton North returning all-state sprint-relay runner Leeya Zander.
The Falcons' junior nipped Nichols 26.57-26.62 at the distance.
"I am really disappointed," Nichols said. "I really wanted to get that 30 points for my team. My hard work is paying off."
St. Charles East also claimed a pair of relays as sophomore Venezia Munoz was participant on both the championship quartets at 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
Kelly McCloughan was runner-up in the 55 hurdles to lead Geneva.
"The girls got a taste of what this new conference is like," Geneva coach Peter Raak said. "Some of their nerves may have got the best of them a little bit."
WW South sophomore Sam Poglitsch was undeniably the workhorse for the Tigers.
Poglitsch, all-state in the 1,600 last spring, finished second in the event to Schlenker in 5:07.48 after earlier denying the Bulldogs' fellow reigning cross all-stater Mia Gianfrancesco in the 800 with a winning time of 2:22.75.
Poglitsch completed her day with a leg on the Tigers' third-place 1,600 relay.
"It was a really fun day," Poglitsch said. "It was fun for the whole team, with the new conference."
Unlike Nichols, Lake Park senior Andie Granskog was able to secure a third individual championship by adding the 55 hurdles (8.61) after earlier sweeping the long jump (17-8.5) and high jump (5-1).
"I wanted to get those points for my team," said Granskog, who has committed to Princeton.
The Lancers' Paulina Madro continued the Lake Park excellence in the field by winning the triple jump in 35-5.
Zander and fellow all-state relay sprinter Christine Macris powered the Falcons to the title in the 800 relay in 1:47.84.
Cameron Guy finished second in the long and triple jumps to highlight the Glenbard North showing.