Girls track and field: Grayslake Central tops the field at NLCC meet
If Mia Morello got a good night's sleep on Wednesday night, she probably slept like a tired but happy baby on Thursday night.
Morello, a junior at Grayslake Central, had a busy, busy Thursday afternoon, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the Northern Lake County Conference girls conference meet hosted by Wauconda High School.
Rolling up a maximum 40 points with first-place finishes in the 100 meter hurdles (16.01), the 300 meter hurdles (48.42), the long jump (16 feet, 6 inches) and the pole vault (10 feet, 3 inches), Morello carried Grayslake Central (156 team points) to the NLCC championship in damp and frigid conditions in which temperatures dipped into the low 40s.
Grant finished second with 107 points and Lakes was third with 104 points.
"I got some really good sleep last night, so I was really mentally prepared for today," Morello said. "A good-night sleep was in my favor today."
Morello anticipated that a good-night sleep would be in her future, too.
"I'm going to sleep really, really well tonight," Morello laughed. "I am (tired), and it was freezing today. I can't even feel my toes."
Morello has racked up four first places in a meet a couple other times in her career. But never before has she done so in a meet of such magnitude.
"This one being conference is really, really exciting," Morello said. "I just have a lot of great coaches who help me so much in all of my events. I have to give them credit. They train me well."
Morello also gives a nod to her father Jeff and her older sister Alyssa, who work with her in pole vaulting, her favorite event. Both have personal experience with pole vault.
Jeff Morello competed in the pole vault at Eastern Illinois and Alyssa just finished her career competing in the pole vault for the University of Illinois.
"It runs in the family," Mia Morello said of pole vaulting. "My dad taught me how to hold the pole in fourth grade, and ever since then, I haven't put it down."
Grayslake Central also had other multiple-event winners.
As has been the case many times in recent years, senior Julia Reglewski won both the shot put (39 feet, 9 inches) and the discus (117-feet, 5 inches).
Meanwhile, Grayslake Central freshman Bella Domier took three first places: the 3200 meters (11:33.53), the 800 meters (2:19.82) and the 400 meters (1:00.64).
Domier was also scheduled to run the 200 and was ready for it, but by the time that event came around, Grayslake Central had a big enough lead so Domier was scratched in order to save her legs for the upcoming sectional.
"I'm used to it though, running race after race," Domier said with a smile shortly after her 400 meter win.
One thing that makes Domier unique, particularly as a freshman, is her versatility as a runner. By high school, many runners are either strictly distance runners or sprinters. Domier runs the gamut and is a threat from the 200 meters all the way up to the 3200 meters.
"I'm a better distance runner," Domier said. "But I think I can do sprints as well because I also play soccer and that requires a lot of fast-paced change. I've been playing soccer since I was 5 years old. I like soccer a lot, but I like track better."
That's been music to the ears of Grayslake Central head coach Shawn Murphy, who says he is blessed to have so many big point-getters like Domier, Morello and Reglewski this season.
Last week at the Lake County Invite, Grayslake Central earned its best finish there in school history with a second place.
"The competitiveness the girls have helped to create this season has really helped," Murphy said. "They've pushed each other hard in meets and workouts. Having that kind of competition really helped us.
"And our numbers are pretty good. We retained a lot and a lot of teams did not, and we all know that depth really, really helps you as a team. We're really hoping that helps (in the sectionals)."
Grayslake Central also won the 4X200 meter relay (1:55.44) and the 4X800 meter relay (10:22.57).
For Grayslake North, Leialoha Akalaonu won the 100 meters (12.98) and the 200 meters (26.97).
Asha Chatterjea of Grant won the triple jump (34 feet, 7 inches), Amanda Lisi of Wauconda won the high jump (5-feet) and Jessie Pakaski of Wauconda won the 1600 meters (5:24.71).