Girls track: Wind makes things interesting at Glenbrook South's Titan Invitational
Wind is a funny thing in track and field. It can break you down or build you up.
Running the fast heat of the 400 meters at Glenbrook South's Titan Invitational girls track meet on April 21, Loyola junior Kathryn San Roman got blasted by gusts entering the last turn.
That's the worst place to hit a wall of wind in one of the toughest events there is.
"I could feel my body just deteriorating," said San Roman, who nonetheless willed herself to victory.
The varsity horizontal jumpers, though, caught a tail wind. Glenbrook North sophomore Nylah Madden rode it for third-place finishes in both long jump and triple jump.
"I was focusing on height, and it's windy, so I was just letting the wind blow me forward, and that worked well for me," she said.
"Height is really important, you feel like you're flying when you get height," Madden said.
First-time Titans Invite entry Downers Grove North flew on the track, namely junior sprinter Dakota Washington, first in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. The Trojans also went 1-2 in both the 1,600 and 3,200 to help score 167.5 points and win the eight-team meet.
Amelie Mach lifted Maine West to second place with 81 points. The junior won long jump, the 100 and 300 hurdles, and placed second in high jump.
Loyola trailed Maine West by half a point, 80.5. Following were Maine South (75), Fremd (51), Glenbrook South (44), Stevenson (35) and Glenbrook North (24).
Loyola's Makenna Coltoff ran right with Mach for second-place finishes in both hurdles events, and capped the meet by anchoring the Ramblers' winning 1600-meter relay.
Mach and Coltoff, running the 300 hurdles in a respective 46.69 and 46.74 seconds, ranked Nos. 10-12 in Illinois on the Athletic.net list entering Monday. The Class 3A qualifying standard is 47.17 seconds.
Conditions weren't foremost on Coltoff's mind. The senior, headed to the Marquette University team like Glenbrook South's Maggie Jortberg, was working on the three-step technique between hurdles.
It's a work in progress.
"I've been doing pretty well with it this year so far, but this meet not as much," said Coltoff, who joined Abiela Lewis, Ali Ryczek and Casey Loder on the 1600 relay.
"Three-stepping, I want to get better at that," Coltoff said. "I also want to get into state-qualifying time because our (3A Glenbrook South) sectional is pretty difficult this year. I'm trying to aim more for state-qualifying time instead of placement."
Glenbrook South senior Natalie Kattan placed third in the 100 hurdles. The Titans took second in the 400 relay with Sophia Abraham, Andrea Lutai, Hazel Ford and Katie Willits; and in the 1600 relay with Klaudia Babala, Lutai, Meghan Rupprecht and Tara Wirtschoreck.
"They knew it was going to hurt but they still had the courage to give it their all till the end," Glenbrook South coach Danny Zapler said of his 1600 relay, the last event of the meet.
Willits, the freshman sister of senior teammate Olivia Willits and Iowa State sophomore Sidney Willits, had a full day.
Katie anchored the 400 relay, placed fourth in both high jump and long jump -- about 2 inches out of second in long jump -- and anchored the 800 relay with Lutai, Rupprecht and Abraham.
"It's really nerve-wracking because I'm a freshman going against girls that could be seniors," said Willits, hanging out in the infield with pal Frida Beiko, a Glenbrook North sprinter.
"It's just like there's a lot of pressure on me, because the girls on my teams are expecting (a lot) from me. But it's really fun to have a lot of support from everyone," Willits said.
Glenbrook North junior Madeline Kim placed third in pole vault, joining jumper Madden for the top finish by a Spartan. Some distance runners, like Glenbrook North's Juliet Frum, competed instead Saturday at the Distance Night in Palatine event.
Bothered a little by shin trouble, Madden otherwise had a pretty good day.
"There's always bad days, there's always days where I'm jumping way below I expected to," she said. "But the good days are like the best days, and I care a lot about this sport. It's really fun for me."