Girls track and field: Warren's Ditangkin, Lake Zurich shine at NSC meet

  • Warren's Alyla Ditiangkin wins the 100-meter hurdles at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday.

    Warren's Alyla Ditiangkin wins the 100-meter hurdles at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Ella O'Neall competes in the discus at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Stevenson's Ella O'Neall competes in the discus at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Annika Bynum competes in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Warren's Annika Bynum competes in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Mundelein's Sharron Kagen competes in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Mundelein's Sharron Kagen competes in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Baelyn Zitzmann in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Lake Zurich's Baelyn Zitzmann in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Carolyn Kwietniewski in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Libertyville's Carolyn Kwietniewski in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Waukegan's Ambyer-Marie Derrick in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Waukegan's Ambyer-Marie Derrick in the high jump at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Annalese Chudy competes in the 3,200-meter run at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Libertyville's Annalese Chudy competes in the 3,200-meter run at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Kasey Ledinksy competes in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Lake Zurich's Kasey Ledinksy competes in the shot put at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's AJ Burk in the 100-meter hurdles at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

    Lake Zurich's AJ Burk in the 100-meter hurdles at the North Suburban Conference girls track and field meet at Mundelein High School on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/26/2021 10:17 PM

Flying is kind of Alyla Ditangkin's thing.

She's a flyer for the cheerleading team at Warren.

 

So it's no wonder she simply flew over the hurdles Wednesday night at the North Suburban Conference meet at Mundelein High School.

Ditangkin, a senior for the Blue Devils who will be flying for the University of Illinois cheer team next year, won the 100-meter hurdles (15.67) as well as the 300-meter hurdles (47.84) as Warren finished fourth (70 points) in the meet, behind champion Lake Zurich (137 points), Libertyville (88) and Lake Forest (88). Stevenson took fifth with 65 points.

"Being a flyer helps me stay lean, because I like to eat a lot and being lean helps (with speed)," Ditangkin said with a laugh. "My best event is the 100 for sure because it's fast."

Ditangkin is fast, too. But she's also become strategic with how she covers ground.

At just 5-foot-4, Ditangkin somehow takes just three steps between hurdles in the 100 meter race while many of her competitors take as many as five steps.

"She's been training to do that for so long, with us and in the summertime with her club track team," Warren hurdles coach Cheryl Anderson said. "She's worked at it a lot but she is also such an all-around athlete and if you look at her body type, it's very defined. And in cheerleading as a flyer, she just knows how to operate every part of her body."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Ditangkin also has the mental side of hurdles covered. She studies tape of herself, and of top hurdlers across the country for fun.

"I watch over those videos a lot and I reach out to coaches in other states and they've been helping me, as well as my track coach at Deep Impact Performance Training."

Stevenson junior Ella O'Neall covers all the bases, too.

She was also relentless with all facets of her workouts, even during the long COVID layoffs.

O'Neall saw her persistence pay off with victories in both the discus (124 feet, 8 inches) and the shot put (40 feet, 3.5 inches).

"She works harder than anyone I know," Stevenson head coach Emma Degen said. "She's one of the few kids I know of who were in the gym constantly during COVID, lifting and working and doing drills, every day. She's constantly trying to perfect her craft and you don't see that in a lot of kids, especially during COVID.

"She works harder than a lot of kids."

O'Neall, who has broken the shot put record at Stevenson, could work her way into a Division I scholarship someday. She's already getting offers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's a lot of practice and repetition," O'Neall said. "I didn't want to have any limitations during COVID. I have a lot of goals, regardless of COVID, so I put a lot of work in because I want to hit those goals.

"I just want to keep progressing and hopefully make some big strides at state next year and this year."

Junior Dakota Lyons of Libertyville has certainly made big strides, especially considering that track isn't even her first sport.

Lyons, a soccer star who committed to Ohio State after a well-played showcase her freshman year, won the 400 meters (59.17) and the long jump (18-feet, 3.25 inches).

She does both club soccer and track in the spring.

"Track is my second sports, but I've always loved it, and I was working up to today for the last week, trying to do really well," Lyons said. "I just went for it and I got first. I don't know what got into me but I did pretty well.

"I put a lot of work into it just like soccer. It's a lot of repetitive hours and training. I was always the fast girl in soccer growing up and it kind of stuck."

Sophomore Brooke Johnston led champion Lake Zurich with a pair of wins in the 800 meters (2:16.87) and the 1600 meters (5:07.07). Fellow Lake Zurich sophomore AJ Burk won the pole vault (11 feet, 2.5 inches).

Senior Annika Bynum of Warren won the high jump at 5 feet, 7 inches.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.