Huntley times its big night just right
Huntley's list of girls track and field stars begins with Alex and Dominique Johnson, the supremely talented sprinting and jumping sisters who both passed 40 feet in the triple jump and 18 feet in the long jump.
Then there is Melissa Aninagyei-Bonsu, who will run at Illinois next year and who is an even match for Alex Johnson in the 100.
And Jessie Ozzauto and Vicky Evtimov, who qualified in three sprint relays, all of which demolished their previous best times.
And Sophie Amin, who came into the 100-meter high hurdles with the sixth-fastest time and won the race. And the Burak twins, Breanna and Brittney, who each grabbed a state berth in a distance race.
It is hard to imagine Huntley performing better than it did Wednesday night at its own Red Raider Stadium as it rolled to the Class 3A Huntley sectional team title with 130 points. Prairie Ridge was second with 90 and Guilford was third with 78.5.
Prairie Ridge was led by junior Rylee Lydon, who qualified in four individual events (long jump, high jump, 200 and 400). Lydon had her personal-best efforts in the long jump (18-9½ for second place) and the 200 (25.19). She won the high jump, 200 and 400.
"They had a night, didn't they?" Raiders coach Jason Monson said. "Sophie was a big one, she was hurt the first part of the outdoor season so she hasn't raced (the high hurdles) a lot. The potential was there.
"Neither of our sprint relays have really been pushed. It'll be fun to see what they can do next Friday (at state)."
The 400 relay of Evtimov, Alex Johnson, Ozzauto and Aninagyei-Bonsu ran a 47.94, well under its seed time of 48.69. The 800 of Evtimov, Dominique Johnson, Ozzauto and Aninagyei-Bonsu ran 1:43.60, knocking 1.45 seconds off its best time.
Alex Johnson won the triple jump with her personal-best jump of 41-0½ and won the long jump at 19-6½, but she liked another race better than her jumping events. Dominique Johnson was second in triple jump and third in the long jump.
"The 4x1 was so good, it was way past our goal," Alex Johnson said. "It was my favorite race of the night. I'm very happy with that."
Alex Johnson and Aninagyei-Bonsu finished second and third in a hotly contested 100.
"I couldn't be more proud of what we did," Aninagyei-Bonsu said. "We smashed it so hard in both those relays. This is just sectionals. I can't even imagine what we can do at state, especially with more competition. I think it's going to be some big numbers. We've had a phenomenal night."
Breanna Burak won the 3,200 meters and did not run in the 1,600. Brittney Burak opted out of the 3,200 to concentrate on the 1,600 and took second to Prairie Ridge's Rachel Soukup to add to Huntley's already-large state contingent.
"This means everything to me," Brittney Burak said. "It's well-deserved for all of us. I was racing to the competition, so my time (a personal best of 5:17.9) came as a surprise to me. It was crazy. I was so tired and excited. It felt really good."
Huntley also qualified Ally Panzloff (discus) and Gabriella Whitfield (pole vault).
McHenry's Alyssa Moore anchored the winning 3,200 team with Peyton Stinger, Lynda Rotundo and Lydia Zancho. Moore also won the 800.
Along with her 1,600 title, Soukup qualified with Olivia McPherson, Faith Wilder and Bridget Jewell in the 3,200 with second place. Prairie Ridge also qualified Haylee Yelle in the pole vault and long jump.
Yelle expected to make it in pole vault and was thrilled to long jump 17-7½ to meet the state-qualifying standard in that event.
"It's been such a crazy experience. I've been consistently jumping around 15-7," Yelle said. "On Monday (at the Fox Valley Conference Meet) it just kind of clicked. I left that meet jumping 17-0, that was a foot (personal record) for me.
"I talked to my coach the next day and said I thought I could do it. I just needed to make a few adjustments. It was so insane. My first jump was close to qualifying. My second attempt I scratched, but I made it, so I knew I just needed to make a small adjustment, and I did."
Crystal Lake South is sending Bella Gonzalex (3,200), Ashley Ciezadlo (triple jump) and Abby Machesky (800).
Cary-Grove had Lindsey Kownick (100 hurdles) and Annika Nordin (shot put) qualify.
Hampshire's Karolina Ryzka cleared 5-3 in the high jump and took second to qualify.