Track and field: Downers Grove South's Cohoon ready for 'really hard double'

By Bill Stone
Daily Herald Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON -- Downers Grove South junior Brenna Cohoon should have been tired after her Class 3A 3,200-meter race at the Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Championships on Saturday at Illinois Wesleyan University.

She was determined to still anchor the Mustangs' 3,200 relay, even with only about 30 minutes rest.

"I knew that this was going to be a really hard double," Cohoon said. "It was something I did my freshman year, but I wasn't entirely sure how everything would unfold."

Instead, Cohoon's fierce burst down the final stretch among three other teams gave the Mustangs the victory in 9:28.06 with seniors Olivia Duax and Becky Versaskas and junior Rebecca Diddia.

Glenbard West junior Katelynne Hart set two more invite records, in the 800 and 1,600, at the annual meet with invitations based upon the top performances throughout the indoor season.

The Mustangs' 3,200 relay beat Yorkville by .34.

"I just knew in the last 100 meters or so that I needed to pull it out and kick it in for my teammates," said Cohoon, who ran a 2:22.1 anchor after a sixth-place 10:52.42 in the 3,200.

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"I heard my coaches and my teammates cheering for me and I saw my relay team standing at the end of the finish line. I knew I just wanted to do it for them."

Hart won the 800 in a lifetime-best 2:10.63 after feeling stuck in the 2:13s. She won the 1,600 in 4:48.06 coming off her national indoor-best 4:44.42 March 15. She even came back to anchor the Hilltoppers' sixth-place 1,600 relay.

The two-time defending outdoor state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200, Hart set the invite's 3,200 record of 10:11.5 in 2017. Last season Glenbard West was among several teams unable to compete because of dangerous traveling conditions.

"I was very excited to get to run at this meet," Hart said. "I was more focused on the 800 because it was first and I knew it was going to be a really fast race. I think kind of the adrenaline from that brought me through to have a strong mile."


Neuqua Valley sophomore Riley Ammenhauser, the defending Class 3A champion in triple jump, won that with 40-0 and also was fifth in long jump, where she finished 10th last May.

Ammenhauser, who won triple jump, jumped 40-6 at 2018 sectionals. She also had little time between events Saturday and took 11 of 12 possible attempts, including all six with triple jump.

"It's not my best, but it still breaks 40-0," Ammenhauser said. "I didn't get much of a break in between. I had to stay active, stay warm. I made it work."

Naperville North senior Alex Morris won the 3,200 in 10:38.38, a personal record by two seconds that was 11.03 seconds ahead of second place.

"It was a definitely a good field so it was a good opportunity to get better," said Morris, who will run at North Carolina. "(This meet) is all about getting better and using it as an opportunity to further ourselves for the rest of the season."


Naperville North sophomore Campbell Petersen was second in the 1,600 in 4:57.90. In the 800 Downers South junior Erin Reidy and Naperville North senior Claire Hill were third and fourth in 2:15.83 and 2:16.91.

Taking fifth were Downers Grove North's 800 relay of senior Kim Brent, sophomores Kenna Cinotte and Mia Bowers and junior Celeste Bonga was fifth, .08 from the indoor school record, and Hinsdale Central junior Emma Watcke with 10:51.84 in the 3,200.

Illness forced Naperville North seniors Halle Bieber, a multiple state hurdles champion, Annie Bieber and Annie Brandt to scratch from competition.

In Class 3A boys, Downers South junior Jayden Lambert was second in triple jump, 6 inches from first, and Lake Park senior Adam Wiatr was third in the 60 and the 200.

"It was tough with everything going on. There was no energy so I had to bring up my energy by myself and just fight for a nice, hard jump," said Lambert, third at state in 2018. "Not at my best, but it was a pretty good performance for today."

Wiatr set the tone for arguably his best meet with 6.99 in the 60 prelims to first break the school record.

"I've had a lot of good PR performances this whole season, but today was definitely a highlight of my entire track career," Wiatr said.

"I was nervous coming in because I was (seeded) 11th for both. I had a really good warmup. I rested when I needed to. I just kind of checked off all of the boxes and made sure I did my thing today. "

Metea Valley senior Pryce Giwa-Osagie was third in high jump at 6-5 and senior Temi Osobamiro fourth in long jump with 22-3 1/2. Lake Park senior Michael Shuff was third in pole vault, and Hinsdale South's 1,600 relay of juniors Jayden Arquines and Uchechi Obasi, sophomore Jake Hospes and senior Justin Davis was fourth in 3:28.78.

Downers South's 3,200 girls relay lineup didn't include Reidy, who helped them run an all-time school record 9:20.49 Feb. 28. Other indoor records included Reidy's 2:11.47 in the 800 and all-time school-best 4:58.42 for the 1,600 and Cohoon's 10:51.67 for the 3,200.

Another reason for 3,200 relay success is the improvement of Duax, who has been in the low 2:20s after only being under 2:30 once before this season.

"It was really awesome going into this year to drop time and run the races I've been training for four years. Running in the 4x800 is something I've wanted to do since I was like 12," Duax said.

"Watching (Cohoon) win, it was such an awesome feeling. It was insane."

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