CHARLESTON – Jasmine Brown stepped off the podium at the IHSA State Track Meet for the last time in her high school career.
However, Brown was exiting the victory area for the first time as a state champion. She had two medals dangling around her neck after winning the Class 3A triple jump with a mark of 39 feet, 11.75 inches, and taking third in the long jump at 18-06.50.
Brown is the first IHSA girls track state champion in DeKalb history. Barbs junior Kelsey Schrader took 23rd in the 3200, finishing with a time of 11:11.64, and DeKalb finished 16th as a team with 17 points.
"It was awesome," Brown said after stepping off the stand. "It feels great."
Brown didn't have the same success she had at Friday's prelims, when she hit her mark of 39-11.75. But it didn't matter, as it carried over into the finals. The same thing happened with her long jump mark.
Coming into state, Brown's goal was to hit 40 feet in the triple jump. She didn't quite get there, but came extremely close. She said her feet were a couple inches behind the board on the state-winning mark, which would have gave her a 40.
She's still got four years to go for it, as she'll compete at Western Illinois next season. Considering she was a little bit behind the board this time, she knows she's capable of hitting 40.
“I’m just happy to go to college, see what I can do, get that 40 mark," Brown said.
Brown was one of five area medalists. Genoa-Kingston senior Danielle Neisendorf took ninth in the Class 2A high jump, hitting 5 feet, and Indian Creek sophomore Emily Schilling got two Class 1A medals, taking seventh in the 800-meter run at 2:20.62, and fifth in the 1600 at 5:18.23. Both were personal bests.
In the 800, Schilling started off slow but kicked on the final lap and was in a good spot for a medal down the final stretch.
“I didn’t want to start off too fast just because I knew that I would fall back," she said. "So I tried to like use a girl as a rabbit and try to focus on the person in front of me, kind of use them until I got to the straightaway and tried to push it.”
Neisendorf wasn't able to accomplish what she was looking for, but she still went home with her second career medal. She took seventh in the high jump last season. Neisendorf was also fighting through a shin injury.
“It was senior year. I wanted top five, I wanted to jump 5-6," Neisendorf said. "It didn’t happen.”
Kaneland had four finalists in 2A and two got a medal. The 4x800 relay of Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Jessica Kucera and Sydney Strang took ninth at 9:40.76, nearly eight seconds ahead of 10th-place Bloomington Central Catholic.
“It’s pretty awesome," Kucera said. "Last year we weren’t even close and this year we got it so it’s pretty awesome.”
Freshman Brianna Bower had Kaneland's second medal, taking seventh in the 3200 with a time of 11:19.33.
Kaneland junior Lauren Zick took 11th in the long jump (16-11.25), while Christina Delach was 10th in the pole vault at 10-00.