Girls track and field: Glenbard West stands atop talented field

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/20/2019 8:36 PM

Katelynne Hart was seemingly poised to have her toughest in-state competition among girls track and field distance runners on Saturday in Glen Ellyn.

The two-time defending state champion at both 1,600 and 3,200 meters, Hart made her outdoor season debut in the 1,600 with yet another record-breaking performance. The junior led Glenbard West to a 102-85 victory over four-time state champion Lincoln-Way East at the 18-school competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Already the fastest 3,200 runner in the nation based on her championship time in California to begin the outdoor season, Hart holds the same distinction at 1,600 meters. She won easily in 4 minutes, 45.33 seconds. She did not run the 3,200 Saturday.

"I have done three 2-miles this season between indoor and outdoor," said Hart, who also anchored the Hilltoppers' 3,200 relay to a runner-up finish against Barrington before performing the same role on the victorious 1,600 relay. "I wanted to focus on the mile today. We have so many talented girls. Everybody is capable of running super fast."

Illinois-bound senior Katie Hohe overcame a race-long Maggie Gamboa advantage to win the 3,200 run in 11:04.81.Hohe passed the Naperville North sophomore in the last 50 meters to claim the title.

"I got to the gun lap and knew I was within striking distance of (Gamboa)," Hohe said. "I was 30 meters behind and felt pretty good. I stuck to my strategy and did what I know how to do best."

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Earlier, Glenbard West freshman Audrey Allman also rallied past Naperville North senior Natalie Walsh to win the 800 run in 2:17.58.

"I know that Naperville (runners) are always strong," Allman said. "I had to keep my chin down and outkick (Walsh)."

Naperville North, which finished fifth with 59 points, did have Duke-bound hurdler extraordinaire Halle Bieber at its disposal.

Bieber, despite colliding with her lead leg on the final hurdle at both 100 and 300 meters, had few issues. She remained undefeated on the season in an individual race.

"I am making good progress this season, excited for championship season in the DVC and sectionals," said Bieber, the two-time defending state champion in the longer hurdles. "I am really excited to see how things turn out at the end of the season. (Hitting a hurdle) happens to every hurdler."

Hinsdale Central thrower Dior Nicholson swept the shot put and discus with winning efforts of 40-0¾ and 116-4.

"The only meet I didn't win was (indoor) Top Times (in the shot put)," Nicholson said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wheaton North, Hinsdale Central, Willowbrook, York and Wheaton Academy all finished in the second tier of the 18-team field.

Barrington was third with 68.5 points.

The Fillies began the 12-event running sequence in grand fashion as Molly FitzPatrick, Gabby Cossio, Kathleen Baker and Alyssa Norris collaborated to win the 3,200 relay in 9:30.76.

FitzPatrick and Cossio, who finished second to state champions Hart and Bieber in the 1,600 run and 300 hurdles, gave the freshman Baker a slight lead on the third leg.

Even Hart could not overcome the commanding lead Baker provided Norris on the final two laps.

"The 2-mile relay, we haven't run that combination yet," Norris said. "Glenbard definitely helped push some of our runners. I am really proud of (Baker); she is a really, really strong freshman. Were lucky to have her on the team."

Norris also placed in the metric mile for the Fillies.

FitzPatrick narrowly missed all-state status in the event last spring.

"There was a little bit of debate whether to do Palatine or (Glenbard West), but you can't really give up the chance to race the state champion," FitzPatrick said. "I let (Hart) go off on her own and run my own race."

Lake Zurich finished in seventh place with 45 points.

Kelsey Rothas defeated Oak Park-River Forest junior Yasmin Ruff on criteria to win the pole vault at 11-6 for the Bears' lone title.

"I felt really good today," Rothas said of upholding her top seed in the event. "I went through a lot of my poles, which is a good sign. I had to not look at the crossbar and jump high."

The renowned invitational also provided the Bears' Izzy Klett a platform for program posterity.

The junior, a returning state qualifier in both horizontal jumps, was runner-up in the long jump while also placing in the triple jump.

"When my run is good, I know I am going to have a good (long) jump," Klett said. "That is a new PR and a school record."

Warren was 11th in the field behind high-jump champion Annika Bynum.

The Blue Devils' sophomore fell 2 inches shy of her top-seed mark of 5-5 but still managed to win the event.

Jada Vaughn, Kayleigh Glickey, Jataia Harris and Janii Jenkins powered the Warren 400 relay to second place behind two-event sprint-relay champion Whitney Young, but Jenkins, all-state last year in the open 400, was forced to withdraw in both her specialty distance and the 200 dash.

Fresh off claiming its own invitational team title from last weekend, Geneva was sixth with 48.5 points.

Bradley-bound distance runner Sophia McDonnell was runner-up in the 3,200 run to Hohe in 11:07.13 and later placed fifth in the shadow of the Hart masterpiece at 1,600 meters in 5:16.16 for the Vikings.

"I feel like competition just helps everyone run faster," said McDonnell, all-state in cross country last fall. "Like for the 2-mile, I just stuck with Katie. I know her well and I know that she knows how to pace. We just worked together and we were just encouraging each other the whole way."

Top-returning Geneva sprinter Michelle Siciliano, a state qualifier in the 200 dash, placed for the Vikings at both that distance as well as the sprint half of its distance.

Returning 300 hurdles state qualifier Kelly McCloughan had to skip the event after incurring a minor injury in the 100 hurdles, but the Geneva sophomore was third in the event to reigning state runner-up Bieber.

"(The Pariseau) is a really big meet," McCloughan said. "I was really happy with the 100s. I was ranked fourth in the heat sheet but placed third."

Geneva senior thrower Hannah Borodin also secured a runner-up finish to Nicholson with her second-place shot put mark of 35-8¼.

"Last year at sectionals (at West Aurora) I was third (in the shot)," Borodin said. "I was pleased because I haven't consistently hit 35 (feet) this year."

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