BURLINGTON – In the first running final of the Class 2A Burlington Central Sectional on Friday, Sycamore saw its 3,200-meter relay fall just short of state.
At the finish line, the unofficial time showed the Spartans were a mere 0.7 seconds off of the qualifying standard. The time still had to be checked, yet coach Joe McCormick said it was the lowest of lows for his team.
But Sycamore soon experienced the highest of highs as, just two races later, the Spartans’ 4x100 relay, seeded as the fifth-best team in the sectional, sprung an upset and won the race in 50.87 to claim the Spartans’ first state-qualifying spot of the day.
“I actually didn’t look at the time,” freshman anchor leg Lauren Goff said. “I was just looking straight forward and I was thinking ‘state.’ ”
Goff was joined by juniors Briana Iwans, Hannah Gross and Christina Dailey on the relay. The same foursome took fifth in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Meet last week, but cut more than 1.3 seconds off their time in their victory at Burlington.
“We drilled our handoffs this week. We knew that we could have a shot,” Goff said. “[The handoffs] actually came and worked for us today. It’s so exciting.”
Sycamore sophomore Lilia Edwards re-injured her heel on her first long jump attempt of the day, sending shooting pains through her foot and forcing her to miss the rest of her attempts and scratch out of the 300 hurdles.
But Edwards decided to give the triple jump a try and gutted her way to a mark of 35 feet, 6 inches, finishing second behind Kaneland’s Ashley Castellanos.
“I thought I was done for the meet,” Edwards said. “I’ve already [hit the state qualifying mark] for triple, and I wanted to stick with it and see if I could make it.”
Genoa-Kingston junior Brianna Kramer has been dropping her time in the 300 hurdles over the past two weeks and hoped to get under the state qualifying mark in the sectional.
With cold and windy conditions, Kramer didn’t set a personal best, but took first place with a time of 48.17. Kramer also qualified for state in the 300 hurdles as a freshman, but that was in Class 1A.
“I was really wanting to push myself so I could at least qualify,” Kramer said. “Getting first, that was amazing.”
G-K senior Danielle Neisendorf took second in the high jump with a height of 5-2. She is the first girl in G-K history to qualify for the state meet in all four years. Neisendorf was seventh in the high jump in the Class 2A meet last year.
Sycamore’s 4x400 team of Iwans, Dailey, Stephanie Cole and Goff took third in 4:10.86, just missing the state qualifying time by .82 seconds.
Iwans was fourth in the 400 at 1:03.03, while Goff finished fifth. Lalowski took third in the 1,600 at 5:26. Dailey finished third in the triple jump behind Castellanos and Edwards.
Kaneland had five individuals and two relays qualify for state and won the meet with 83 points. Sycamore took fifth with 52 points, and G-K finished 11th.
Sophomore Victoria Clinton hadn’t run a track meet in two weeks, missing last Friday’s conference meet because of a triathlon competition. But the Class 2A cross country champion managed to take second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:20.92. It will be her first time down at state.
“It was hard mentally going from triathlon to track, but you just have to be positive in the race,” Clinton said. “Just trying to get the qualifying time then at state, have fun and do my best.”
Junior Lauren Zick finished second in long jump at 16-6 1/2. The Knights’ 4x800 team of Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang and Jessica Kucera won in 9:51.73. Brianna Bower won the 3,200 title in 11:37, and Abby Dodis took fourth. Kaneland’s Christina Delach was fourth in the pole vault, but qualified for state by clearing 9-9. The Knights’ 4x400 team closed out the meet with a second-place finish, qualifying for state with a time of 4:07.45.