Girls track and field: West Aurora's Miles off and running at state
CHARLESTON -- West Aurora senior Dajour Miles preferred to keep her goals simple for her final state meet.
As a two-time defending state champion in the Class 3A 400-meter dash, Miles entered Friday's preliminaries motivated to finish her career in a memorable way. The Kentucky recruit didn't disappoint, winning her 400 preliminary heat in dominating fashion with a time of 55.15 seconds.
Miles placed second in her 200 heat (24.98) and led West Aurora's 400 relay (48.04) into Saturday's finals.
"I just want to get a personal record and another state title," Miles said of her goals.
But Miles is chasing school and state history. Emma Spagnola is the only other individual state champion in school history, according to the IHSA record books. Spagnola was a three-time state winner at West Aurora.
Miles maintained a business-like attitude throughout most of Friday's preliminaries, electing not to mingle for long periods with other competitors and not showing much emotion after each of her events.
"I have a lot to prove, especially going to Kentucky," Miles said. "I want to go into Kentucky on a good note. My legacy means a lot to me. I have worked hard for this and want another state title. I will soon get to start a new chapter in my life, but I want to close this chapter strong and add more titles. I have to work hard and do what I need to do."
Another Spagnola is also looking to make her own mark. Sophomore Victoria Spagnola took a big step in the prelims to carving her own legacy by reaching the finals in the 100 high hurdles (14.22) and 300 low hurdles (44.60). West Aurora junior Abbey Kuhn hit the qualifying mark (11-0) in the pole vault to earn a trip to finals.
"I've been working on my strength and keeping my lead leg back a lot, and it paid off today," Spagnola said.
Batavia's 1,600 relay team of Mia Gianfrancesco, Audrey Pellico, Jenna Schifferer and Katrina Schlenker nudged into the finals with a time of 9:17.47.
Class 2A: Rosary freshman Lianna Surtz's performance in the prelims was in stark contrast to her varsity experience level. Surtz remained poised and confident throughout the 1,600-meter run, cruising to the fastest preliminary heat time (5:03.90) to set the stage for joining Rosary's storied history in the state meet. Surtz said she set a new personal record in the event.
"Racing against such great runners really helped me," Surtz said. "I really wanted to win my race. It was great experience for me to run against the best."
Surtz ran the third leg in Rosary's 3,200 relay (9:50.48) that also qualified for the finals. Rosary's 1,600 relay team of Melanie Meyer, Julie Bottarini, Maia Italia and Annie Molenhouse also qualified for finals (4:02.73). Molenhouse advanced in the triple jump (354-4.50).
Aurora Central Catholic junior Lesley Viveros is set to compete for another day after taking third in her 800 prelim heat (2:23.11). Burlington Central sophomore Avery Andersen also is headed to the finals in the 800 (2:24.09).