Girls track and field: Spagnola completes family sweep at Kane County meet
Tori Spagnola entered West Aurora with the virtually impossible task of matching the exploits of her older sister Emma.
The most decorated athlete in West Aurora girls track and field program history, Emma Spagnola won individual Class 3A state championships in three different events.
Saturday at the Kane County Invitational at Geneva, Tori Spagnola completed a family sweep in the two hurdles races in leading the Blackhawks to a dominant effort for the team title.
In 14 attempts, no resident of the county has ever defeated a Spagnola girl in a hurdles race.
"I have never heard of such a thing," said Troy Kerber, who has coached Aurora Central Catholic for more than three decades. "Two girls from the same family doing that at county."
In state-caliber fields at both 100- and 300-meters, Spagnola, four times an all-stater in the two disciplines as an underclassman, stormed to victories in 14.73 and 44.64 seconds.
Spagnola, who also led off the Blackhawks' 1,600-meter relay, and Savannah Ming upheld the Blackhawks' sprinting legacy with aplomb.
Spanola and the Drake-bound Ming were directly or indirectly responsible for 76 out of 80 possible points in the Blackhawks' 130.5-89 victory over Burlington Central.
St. Charles North and Geneva tied for third at 81 points, followed by Rosary (80.5), South Elgin (55), Kaneland (50) and ACC (48) in the 16-team field.
"Tori came in right behind her sister and never skipped a beat," West Aurora coach Teresa Towles said. "I am very happy for Tori; she is moving on and going to the. University of Minnesota. I know she is going to do great things there."
"I think that's pretty cool to hear," said Spagnola, who was denied by St. Charles North long-jumper Kaylee Hopp for a second consecutive week for a fourth title."(Emma) and I just go out and run the best we can -- and be aggressive. Once everyone believes it we will run our fastest ever (in the 1,600 relay)."
Ming and fellow sprinters Allannah Tittle, Zoe Littlejohn, Grace Ironloye, Isabella Aguirre, Delilah Lott, Sydney Atkins and Daizy Lustrup allowed the Blackhawks to run the table in the three sprint relays between 400 and 1,600 meters.
Ming and Littlejohn also swept the open 100 and 200 dashes.
ACC North Dakota-bound quarter-miler Maggie Dervis cost Ming a fourth title in the open 400 with a triumph in 58.02-60.15.
"We definitely dominated in those sprint-intermediate relays," said Ming, who won the two dashes in 12.7 and 25.88. "Our girls are just really multi-talented. They have a range of things they can do."
In the middle distance and distance races, Naomi Ruff, Ella Townsend and Isabella Orozco overcame the elements to post impressive triumphs.
Ruff, a South Elgin junior, denied Townsend, among others, in winning the 3,200 run.
But Orozco made sure Ruff did not double her pleasure with an all-out sprint over the closing meters of the 800 run to give ACC a second county title in 2:23.21.
Townsend and St. Charles North teammate Rachel Price then went one-two in the 1,600 run to turn back both Ruff and Orozco.
"I have looked at and watched (county) so many times to get here," Townsend said. "I ran the 3,200, was seeded first but got third. I am happy I got my redemption in the mile."
"The black track made it even more difficult," Ruff said of performing in the oppressive heat. "The heat got to me (at the end of the 800) but I just tried to push through it."
Rosary won the 3,200-meter relay as defending Class 2A state-champion miler Lianna Surtz slowly recovers from an iron-deficiency issue.
If healthy, the Royals could do some damage at state behind Annie Molenhouse, who gave Spagnola no margin for error with her equally impressive 45.11 time in the long hurdles.
"I am really excited," Molenhouse said "We have a lot of hidden talents."
In the field, Carolina Hintz and Abby Peeler captured major invitationals for the second time in as many weekends in the discus and shot put.
Hintz, headed to Illinois after one final spring at Burlington Central, won the discus at 42.1m (138 feet, one inch); Peeler claimed the only championship for Kaneland with her shot-put heave of 12.28m (36-9).
Do-it-all Geneva senior Kelly McCloughan upset Hopp, who has the second-best mark in the state in the triple jump, at 11.25m (36-9).
Rosary has talent that extends far beyond the track as Libby Saloga overcame the pole-vault barrier at 12-3 to win going away.
Natalie Buratczuk captured a second field-event title for St. Charles North as the junior flirted with the program record with her championship height of 5-5.
"Jumping 5-7 would have been my new PR and the school record," Buratczuk. "Right now, 5-7 is right there. I think most likely I can do it. Every time I see it, it's coming closer and closer."