It all came together for Brianna Kramer on Monday at the Big Northern Conference girls track meet.
After fighting through injuries during her whole sophomore campaign in 2012, the Genoa-Kingston junior was finally healthy and running against good competition in the 300-meter low hurdles.
Kramer took third, but lowered her personal best by two seconds, crossing the finish line in 48.09 seconds, a mere .25 seconds from the Class 2A state qualifying time.
“I knew there were two girls that had low times and I was trying to stay with them,” Kramer said. “This year I have had more determination and have been wanting to go under 50 seconds for a while now.”
Kramer has gotten back to the form she showed as a freshman when she qualified for the state meet in the 300 hurdles. Two years ago, G-K was a Class 1A school and Kramer’s time of 50.03 was good enough for second place at the Plano Sectional and an automatic spot in Charleston.
But injuries crippled her 2012 outdoor season. Shin splints didn’t allow Kramer to make any gains coming off a promising rookie season.
“She was not able to do workouts, not able to get in any sort of shape,” G-K coach Barry Schmidt said. “We really rested her last year like crazy.”
With those injuries largely behind her, Kramer was able to compete at the start of the season. Schmidt put her in longer races like the open 400 and 4x400 relay to improve her endurance.
Kramer still hadn’t broken the 50-second barrier until Monday. But now her latest result has Kramer thinking she could get back to state, even with a lower time standard in Class 2A and better competition in Friday’s 16-team Burlington Central Sectional, which includes Sycamore and Kaneland.
“My times have been pretty consistent for the 300 hurdles and I’ve been dropping,” Kramer said. “Hopefully I do pretty well with the competition I’ll be up against.”
The Burlington Central Sectional will feature three local athletes who qualified for state in individual events last year. G-K senior Danielle Neisendorf has already exceeded the state qualifying height in the high jump while Kaneland juniors Sydney Strang (800) and Lauren Zick (400) should also be looking at return trips to Charleston.
CLASS 1A: A pair of Indian Creek athletes will also set their sights on the state meet at the Seneca Sectional on Friday. Senior Ariel Russell won the triple jump a the Oregon Invitational with a mark of 33 feet, 8 inches, matching the Class 1A qualifying mark.
Sophomore Chantel Kyler was second in the high jump at Oregon and also matched the state qualifying mark with a height of 5-2. As a freshman, Kyler qualified for state with a mark of 5-4 at last year’s sectional, but failed to make it to Saturday’s state finals.
CLASS 3A: DeKalb senior Jasmine Brown will try to defend her sectional title in the long jump today at the Class 3A Belvidere North Sectional. But Brown may have a better chance in the triple jump as she comes in with the second-best mark in the state, according to www.dyestatil.com.
Also in the mix for a return to the state meet will be junior Kelsey Schrader, who qualified in the 1600 and 3200 last year.