A very warm and windy day at Eastern Illinois University for the girls state track and field championships! Naperville North comes in as the defending 3A champs.
Field events get underway first and Neuqua Valley senior pole vaulter Sithara Gajapala competing in her first state finals, she clears 11 feet which is good for 8th place in the meet and a state medal.
Now to the 110 hurdles, Naperville North senior Halle Bieber qualifies for the finals once again after finishing 2nd last season. A tight race the whole way as you see Bieber clip a couple hurdles to slow her down, sectional champ Kayla Walters of Bolingbrook crosses the line first ahead of defending champ Kaylah McCall of Homewood-Flossmoor. Bieber finishes 9th.
We see a lone runner getting a warmup in on the track before the next race, oh wait that’s Glenbard West junior Katelynne Hart running the 3200 and you can see how big her lead is. She goes on to win the event for the third straight season, Naperville North senior Alex Morris pulls into 2nd, but is passed late in the race by Brooke Stromsland from Villa Lakes. Morris finishes third, her best ever 3200 finish in an All State performance.
The 800 meter race puts Katelynne Hart out there again, in search of the elusive distance triple, where a runner wins the 3200, the 800 and the 1600 on the same day. Naperville North senior Claire Hill also in the hunt in the race.
Down the stretch, Hart hangs on to win by a few seconds over Olivia Schmitt of Villa Lakes and Erin Reidy from Downers Grove South. Claire Hill with 7th place medal to go onto her crowded trophy case.
The 400 meter race is just one lap around the track and Neuqua Valley senior MiKenna Robinson is one of the top contenders along with defending champion Dajour Miles from West Aurora.
In a bit of an upset, Miles is passed up late by Homewood-Flossmoor junior Ashanti Denton at 54.45, while the University of Texas commit Robinson takes 4th place with a PR of 55.38. That’s 10 more points for Flossmoor who takes the lead in the team standings.
300 Meter Hurdles
Now for the 300 meter low hurdles where Naperville North’s Halle Bieber looks for a career 3 peat in her favorite event.
The Huskie senior makes it look easy, leading the entire race and not letting up as she wins her third in a row with a time of 43.78. Arryona Simmons from Thornwood takes 2nd and Gabby Cossio from Barrington takes third. It’s the 7th career all state finish for Bieber.
Lots of drama in the triple jump finals where Neuqua Valley sophomore Riley Ammenhauser looks to defend her state title. Her 2nd jump puts her comfortably in the lead at nearly 40 feet, nobody besides Ammenhauser has reached that mark this season.
But Homewood Flossmoor senior Trinity Daniels unleashes an incredible 40-7.25 mark in her final jump for a new PR and moves into first place.
Ammenhauser has about 15 seconds to process that she’s now in 2nd before she has to perform her third and final jump. It looks good, but now the young Wildcat has to wait for her score…and it shows up 40 feet, 11 inches! A new PR and a second straight state championship as Ammenhauser can’t believe it. A great battle and win for Neuqua Valley’s two time champ.
On to the 1600 where Katelynne Hart continues her quest for history, another event where she is the two time defending state champ and look at how quickly she takes the lead.
As usual she gets in front and holds on to secure the distance triple. Emma Watcke of Hinsdale Central finishes 2nd as Hart leads Glenbard West to a third place trophy. Homewood Flossmoor wins the state championship with Thornwood in 2nd.
Check out the phenomenal girls track & field season in our Girls Sports Highlights!
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