Girls track and field: Glenbard West's Hart goes the distance for triple crown
CHARLESTON -- Glenbard West's Katelynne Hart finally made it to the medal stand late Saturday afternoon.
After winning her first two events at the Class 3A track and field meet, Hart elected to stay focused on becoming the first girl in state history to win three events in the biggest class. Bloomington Central Catholic's Kelly Curran won three events in the Class 1A meet in 2010.
Instead of jumping atop the medal stand following victories in the 3,200 and 800 races, Hart stayed away from the oppressive heat and rested. But Hart's first attempt at competing in three state events ended in typical Hart fashion -- in a trio of championships.
Hart won the 3,200, 800 and 1,600 on Saturday to make history.
"I was so focused," Hart said. "I think it's physically definitely a hard challenge, but mentally for me, it was about staying focused. It was exciting to win the 2-mile and the 800, but I knew I had that mile, so it was about staying focused and calm and do everything between the races to get the best results."
Hart had a dominating effort in the 3,200 meters, running away with the title in 10:24.33. She was challenged in the 800, nudging out Lakes' Olivia Schmitt to post a time of 2:13.11. The junior won the 1,600 by eight seconds, winning in 4:52.99 to notch her seventh outdoor state title to go along with two cross country state championships.
Led by Hart's 30 points, the Hilltoppers placed third in the team standings with 39 points.
"It's been in my sight since my freshman year," Hart said of the triple crown. "I've been thinking about, but the competition in Illinois is super strong. This year I decided to take on a new challenge and try it.
"I knew the 800 was going to be a competitive race. I obviously focus on the longer races, but it was something new for me. I hadn't done it in the same meet before, so I knew it was going to be a tough race."
Naperville North senior Halle Bieber, a Duke recruit, atoned for a ninth-place finish in the 100 hurdles by taking home her third straight 300 hurdles state title in 43.78.
"I just tried to get out strong and get over the first hurdle in the 300," Bieber said. "I pushed myself in that last race. I never imagined that I would win three state championships. My freshman year I didn't know what the state meet even was."
Soon after winning her second consecutive Class 3A triple jump championship, Neuqua Valley's Riley Ammenhauser picked the ideal spot to rest on her laurels.
Situated near on the infield of O'Brien Stadium, just behind the medal stand, Ammenhauser laid on a plot of grass. She put her head on her backpack and soaked in the rays from the 86-degree summer-like afternoon.
Ammenhauser, a sophomore, successfully defended her triple jump state title with a top leap of 40-11½ on her third attempt to beat out Homewood-Flossmoor's Trinity Daniels. She also placed eighth in the long jump.
"Trinity gave me a lot of competition to push myself and get another personal record," Ammenhauser said.
MiKenna Robinson, a Texas recruit, ended her final season at Neuqua Valley with a fourth-place finish in the 400 in 55.38 seconds.
"I had a personal record on both days, so it's a very emotional because this is my last time running with this team and last one on the blue oval," Robinson said, wearing a Texas T-shirt.
Naperville North's Alex Morris relied on a strong finish to finish third in the 3,200 in 10:47.57.
Wheaton Warrenville South sophomore Samantha Poglitsch notched fifth in a time of 5:04.97 in the 1,600.
Downers Grove North junior Carolyn-Paige Breit claimed sixth in the pole vault. Fellow teammate McKenna Cinotte also took sixth in the triple jump.
Downers Grove South junior Erin Reidy had a highlight-reel performance in taking third in the 800. Naperville North senior Claire Hill, a Missouri recruit, finished seventh in the race.
"I wanted to run hard to get as many points for my team," Hill said.
junior Brenna Cohoon managed a fourth-place medal in the 3,200.
Downers Grove South's 3,200 relay tallied a sixth-place effort, while Glenbard West took eighth. Neuqua Valley netted a seventh-place effort in the 400 relay.