Edwards makes leap toward state
DeKalb’s Jasmine Brown may get the headlines as the area’s top triple jumper, but a local sophomore is also making strides towards state.
Sycamore’s Lilia Edwards took eighth place in the triple jump at the Top Times Invitational with a mark of 34 feet, 41/2 inches. The jump was a new personal best and an improvement of at least a foot over last year’s outdoor season, said Sycamore coach Joe McCormick.
McCormick said Edwards’ increased speed in her approach over the final indoor meets has been a big change from her freshman year.
“I didn’t know she had that speed, watching her last year,” McCormick said. “She’s attacking the runway. We want to work on that attack mentality.”
The automatic qualifying mark for the triple jump is 34-8 and McCormick hopes Edwards will get a chance to experience the atmosphere and pressure that comes with competing at the state meet.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the best out of her yet. I think there’s some more growing,” McCormick said. “Her practice has picked up. Her focus at the meet has a new intensity.”
Kaneland pushing to get outdoors
Kaneland coach Eric Baron has been waiting and waiting to get the Knights outdoors.
The Knights dominated the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference meet, but Baron said many of his athletes have had a far time dealing with the weather.
“We were pleased with our performances in meets, but the weather has been a struggle for us,” Baron said. “We’re struggling a little bit. We’re not really at the level we want to be at.”
One notable performance at the Top Times meet was junior Nate Dyer in the shot put. Dyer, who barely missed last year’s outdoor state finals, took seventh at the unofficial indoor state championship.
“He probably had one of our top performances at the Top Times meet. He threw his personal best in the shot put. He works really hard at it. He was really pleased with that.”
Baron hopes the weather cooperates in the upcoming weeks, which will give Kaneland an opportunity to work on technique in the field events and see what some of its younger athletes can do when given a chance in the lineup.
VIEWS: Indoor season could hold key to teams’ state run
The indoor season is by no means a perfect measure of what’s to come in the upcoming months of the outdoor season.
Some runners might not excel at maneuvering the tighter turns of indoor tracks, sprinters may not have the perfect start required to place high in the shorter 60-meter dash, and many local athletes just choose to play a different sport in the winter season.
But if the results and accomplishments of our local track athletes so far are any indication of what the outdoor season holds, our seven local high schools should be well-represented at the state meet in May in Charleston.
DeKalb senior Jasmine Brown, Genoa-Kingston senior Danielle Neisendorf, Sycamore sophomore Dion Hooker, Indian Creek senior Jake Gullstrand and Kaneland junior Dylan Nauert all made individual finals at the state meet last year and will look to improve upon those performances moving forward.
They’ll likely be joined by a few new stars as well, many of whom could come in the distance events.
DeKalb’s Kelsey Schrader took sixth in the Class 3A 1600 at the Top Times Invitational while Kaneland’s Brianna Bower was fourth in the Class 2A 3200. The Knights also expect 2A cross country state champion Victoria Clinton to run in the outdoor season for the first time.
Also in contention should be Sycamore’s David Emmert, who took third in the Class 2A 800 at Top Times, and Kaneland junior Nate Dyer, who barely missed out on a spot in the shotput state finals last year.
The schedule has officially turned to outdoor meets. As long as temperatures begin to rise, times should start to fall.
Now if only Mother Nature would agree to pull the starter’s gun.
• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @RossJacobson.
Jasmine Brown, sr., DeKalb
Brown established herself as the early favorite to win the outdoor state title in the triple jump by taking first at the Top Times Invitational with a school-record jump of 39 feet, 9.5 inches.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Sycamore, Kaneland, DeKalb at Kaneland Invite, Saturday, 10 a.m.
The three NI Big 12 East rivals compete in one of the first big outdoor meets for girls track.
Genoa-Kingston at Oregon Relays, Saturday, 10 a.m.
Cogs' depth in both the boys and girls teams will be tested at Oregon.
BOYS TEAM RANKINGS
1. Kaneland: Knights dominated the NI Big 12 indoor conference meet.
2. DeKalb: Sprints look to be a strength for Barbs
3. Sycamore: Spartans in second-tier group chasing Kaneland
4. Genoa-Kingston: Cogs will have option to shift and change lineups with lots of depth.
5. Hinckley-Big Rock: A lot of new faces for the Royals that coach Greg Burks will have to work into the lineup
6. Indian Creek: Low turnout for Indian Creek will give freshmen a lot of varsity experience early.
GIRLS TEAM RANKINGS
1. Kaneland: Knights fell just short of Yorkville for conference indoor crown
2. DeKalb: Barbs should be able to use depth better in outdoor season
3. Sycamore: Young team will improve as season progresses
4. Indian Creek: Outdoor season starts with Timberwolves hoping to get multiple people down to state
5. Hinckley-Big Rock: Good mix of veterans and youngsters for the Royals
6. Genoa-Kingston: Senior Danielle Neisendorf hoping for a healthy 2013 season