Girls track and field: Surtz, Rosary run away from pack at MSC Blue meet
Lianna Surtz was the loneliest runner on the track at Elmwood Park.
For some that might be forbidding or daunting. That is her preferred mode of strategy, just run fast and free and let everybody else to try to catch her.
"I prefer to be the leader," she said. "If it's a really competitive pack, then I will sit back and kick the last half mile."
She made sure that scenario never came to pass.
The freshman distance runner from Rosary pulled off an impressive double in setting a school record 11 minutes, 14.63 seconds in the 3,200 meters, an event she won by 35 seconds.
She punctuated her strong night by winning the 1,600 meters by more than 14 seconds.
Surtz powered the Royals to a commanding team performance as the Royals captured the Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division title with a staggering 389.50 points.
Rosary more than doubled the margin of runner-up Aurora Central Catholic (146 points). Wheaton Academy finished with 135 points for third place.
From the beginning the night belonged to the Royals. Rosary won six individual events and the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relays.
Sprinter Kyla Dalton-Colley underlined the depth of the Royals. She was part of two state qualifying 400-meter relay teams as a freshman and sophomore. Now she is the leader of the next generation.
She finished third in 100 and 200 and ran the opening leg of the winning 800-meter relay team.
"I think what happened tonight is a really good confidence booster, especially for the sectionals coming up next week," Dalton-Colley said. "When we run like this, it really unites us because we get really excited for the relays and the team events."
Surtz underscored the Royals' dominance, belying her youth in spectacular fashion and fighting off shin splints that slowed her progress earlier in the season.
"This has been a great experience," Surtz said. "I was not really expecting to be this successful as a freshman. It is great to have the opportunity to race against such good high school runners."
Rosary sprinter Kyla Dalton-Colley finished third in the 100 and
Aurora Central Catholic sprinter Maggie Dervis led the Chargers with a strong double as she captured the 200 meters and 400 meters.
In the 200 Dervis turned the tables on Fenton sprinter Hanna Matuszewski and reversed the order of the 100-meter race, clipping the Bison star, who trailed just behind her in running a 27.25.
In the 100 Matuszewski rode a fast start to finish in 12.70, just ahead of the 12.80 run by Dervis.
"It's all about the start," Matuszewski said. "I have been working on my start all season to get where I am now."
Her time was just off her personal best of 12.61. The explosive start was just enough to hold Dervis off.
"I personally just try to have fun, and I do my best and that just makes everything for me a little easier," she said.