Girls track and field: Buratczuk, Andelbradt never far apart in the high jump
CHARLESTON -- Natalie Buratczuk and Madeline Andelbradt were seemingly destined to conclude their high-jump rivalry in yet another deadlock.
One year after Buratczuk edged Andelbradt on criteria to finish third at the Class 3A girls track and field state finals, the St. Charles North and Naperville North seniors bowed out on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University at 5 feet, 5 inches.
Buratczuk and Andelbradt added consecutive all-state performances with their fourth-place tie.
Their relationship in the field predates their back-to-back duels at O'Brien Stadium.
"We have trained together since we were in seventh grade," Buratczuk said of their joint tutelage under high-jump specialist Bob Cervenka.
Buratczuk, an Eastern Michigan recruit, was the lone athlete from St. Charles North to qualify for the state finals.
Andelbradt, who has committed to Iowa, was forced exclusively into the event when a foot injury derailed her hopes of defending all-state opportunities in the 300-meter hurdles and 1,600 relay.
"I was a little nervous with how things would play out today (Saturday) after the prelims," Buratczuk said. "It didn't matter where I finished, I just wanted to (set a new personal record); it didn't happen."
"It was really hard on me because those are some of my favorite events," Andelbradt said of being robbed of the chance to compete on the track at the state finals. "I know if I were healthy I would be out there. (State) is really only my second outdoor meet competing."
St. Charles East all-state relay averts near disaster:
Amelia Bellizzi, Gia Klasa and Laci Chavari were determined to escape the anguish of missing all-state status in the 3,200 relay for St. Charles East a second straight year.
The three seniors -- complemented by sophomore anchor Marley Andelman -- had run the table at Kane County, the DuKane Conference championship and Lake Park sectional as a major test run for their state aspirations.
But their collective vision was almost unceremoniously spoiled in the opening stages of the preliminaries on Friday.
Bellizzi, the first runner, found herself lying prone on the track on the backstretch on the opening lap.
"Someone stepped on the back of my foot," Bellizzi explained.
Bellizzi literally regained her footing and made instant gains on the pack.
Klasa and Chivari soon put the Saints' relay in contention; Andelman then comfortably navigated the final two laps to give the St. Charles East quartet the sixth-fastest time.
The Saints then shaved almost 10 seconds off their preliminary time to place fifth overall on Saturday in 9 minutes, 27.8 seconds.
"I knew I was racing for them," Bellizzi said of her inauspicious start on Friday. "I had to get up and go."
Huerta makes up for lost time:
Glenbard South junior Gianna Huerta single-handedly made amends for an almost inexplicable anomaly among Class 2A programs in DuPage County.
Not a single individual or relay from the area qualified for the one-day 2A state finals last June.
But Huerta, who was missing in action last spring with a season-ending injury, made commendable strides in her personal comeback by placing third in the 300 hurdles (44.38) after earlier running 15.74 to finish sixth in the 100 hurdles.
Benet was reclassified to Class 2A this season, and junior distance-ace Louisa Diamond also scored two all-state medals in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
"This is so amazing," Huerta said after the longer hurdles were completed. "I am so happy to be here on the podium, getting a medal. I am very excited about placing top three."
In Class 3A, the pole vault was still undecided when the running events were finished.
Inclement weather had forced all three classes indoors for the event.
But Lake Park senior Paulina Lucer was the final area two-event individual all-state performer as the Western Illinois recruit settled for fourth overall at 12-1.5.
Lucer was also seventh in the 100 hurdles with her 15.12 clocking.