Girls track and field: Batavia claims inaugural DuKane championship
On a cold, rainy night better spent indoors, the girls track teams of the DuKane Conference squared off at Burgess Field in Geneva to determine a champion.
Batavia ended as the conference champion with 121 points. Lake Park (113.5) and Wheaton Warrenville South (103) rounded out the top three.
Freshman Katrina Schlenker and the 3,200 relay team led the way for the Bulldogs, as Schlenker took home conference championships in both the 1,600 (5:07.32) and 3,200 (10:41.59), while the 3,200 relay team started the running events off on the right track with a come-from-behind win (9:43.22) led by anchor Mia Gianfrancesco.
Schlenker ran a brisk pace for the 3,200 and then kicked it in for the final 400 to secure the win, but for the 1,600, her running style was a little bit more intense.
"I was just making sure I was hitting my splits, and then I let it go a little bit in the last mile," Schlenker said. "I wanted to make my move in the last 400 and finish strong to see if I could put some distance between us. I knew our team needed the points, so I wanted to really go out and make sure I won the 1,600 for our team."
When Gianfrancesco took the baton for the final leg of the 3,200 relay, she was nearly 70 meters away from the first place runner and the Bulldogs were in fourth place, but Gianfrancesco quickly passed two of the runners within the first 50 meters and eventually took the lead with nearly 200 meters left in the race for the victory.
"This is my first track season. Indoor track season was sort of the same thing," Gianfrancesco said. "My mentality coming in was just to get my time as low as I could. So far that's just been the way I've been running (starting fast and maintaining speed). Our coach gives us a 200 split we need to hit, so I was just trying to be at that. Honestly, I couldn't have ran as well as I did without my teammates."
Amy Zabka also won the shot put for Batavia with a winning toss of 42 feet, 1 inch.
Geneva finished fifth with 71.5 points. Junior Katie McNamara won the 400 in 1:01.21.
"I came in favored to win, but my goal was really just to be under 60 seconds," McNamara said. "I tried to go out strong for the first 200 and I got a little tired at the end, but that just gives me something to work on for next week."
Lake Park used the strength of its field events athletes to finish second in the conference. Freshman Paulina Lucer won the pole vault by clearing a personal best 10 feet, 6 inches and senior Dominika Baranska set a new conference record in the discus with a toss of 134 feet, 4 inches.
"This was my first time jumping 10 feet today and I also set a new personal record," Lucer said. "I was just looking forward to having fun this year and I'm actually surprised I'm doing well. Julia (Kurek) and I just wanted to help our team any way we could."
Baranska may have set a record, but she's hoping to get even more distance on her throws in the coming weeks.
"I really practiced hard and it's just the hard work paying off right now," Baranska said. "I'm hoping that over the next few weeks I'm even throwing farther than this. It just comes down to having good form and keeping your mind clear and relaxed."
Andelyn Granskog captured conference championships in the long jump (17-3) and 100 meter hurdles (15.35).
"I've been trying to break 15 (seconds) all year, but I'm still happy with the way I ran today," Granskog said. "My goal coming in was to win conference, but really I'm just looking to improve my time each race. I'm still working on getting my technique down and stay aggressive. We have a really awesome team this year and the coaches are really great as well."
Samantha Poglitsch won the 800 meter run in a time of 2:21.09 to lead WW South.
"Great competition today," Poglitsch said. "I knew I wanted to stay in the front pack and then see how much energy I could go. It was a very competitive race. I was really hoping I could kick it in sooner, but she (Gianfrancesco) stayed really close until the end. Hopefully, I can qualify for state as well."
The Tigers also won the 400 relay in 49.65.
Wheaton North finished fourth with 88 points. Junior Leeya Zander won the 100 (12.64) and 200 (25.86).
"Today we were just trying to get as many points as possible to help the team," Zander said. "That was only my second open 100, so I'm pretty happy. Hopefully, I'll be able to qualify for state in the 200."
The Falcons also won the 800 relay in 1:46.36.
Glenbard North sophomore Cameron Guy won the triple jump clearing a total distance of 36 feet.
"Today I just wanted hit state qualifying so I would be feel more comfortable going into next week," Guy said. "I just try to have the mentality that I can do it and just be confident in my abilities.