While Hinckley-Big Rock boys track has been struggling so far this season, coach Greg Burks had plenty of accolades to give the girls team.
It started with Courtney Carls, who has already fired off state-qualifying marks in the triple jump after posting marks of 33-11 and 33-8 on consecutive days last week. The sophomore is still fairly new to the event since H-BR doesn’t have the triple jump in middle school.
“She came in as a long jumper and sprinter,” Burks said. “She started tripling probably halfway through the season last year and had some success with it and put up some decent marks. This year, I just think she’s a little more confident with the event. She’s a little more sure of herself.”
Carls was one of four first-place finishers for the Royals at Lisle on April 11. It’s a team that is rich with young talent, as freshman Audrey Harrod hit the qualifying mark for the 800 in her first run of the season.
Fischer’s work ethic reaps benefits: Carly Fischer’s “setback” in the discus at the start of the season now seems like ages ago.
In Genoa-Kingston's second outdoor meet of the season, the sophomore missed the sector on all three of her throws, maybe showing a little bit of her inexperience. But just a few weeks later, she’s set a personal record and is racking up the wins.
“She’s really made some nice progressions throughout the season, and she’s really been showing steady improvement,” G-K coach Barry Schmidt said. “Now we’re just looking for some consistency.”
Consistency has been just about the only thing holding her back. Last Thursday, Fischer threw a 102 before making a whopping 17-foot improvement for a personal-best 119. And yesterday, she placed first against DeKalb and Sycamore with a 112.
Schmidt attributed the massive improvement to Fischer's tireless work ethic.
“She did a lot of work this summer improving herself,” Schmidt said. “She works on her own. That’s what’s really been helping. As a sophomore, you don’t get a lot of reps, but she’s put in a lot of reps, which almost makes her like a veteran thrower.”
VIEWS: Sycamore gets valuable preparation for the weekend
The DeKalb boys finished 16 points above Sycamore to beat the Spartans and Morris in Tuesday’s triangular at DeKalb, but Sycamore coach Pete Piccony had plenty of positives to take away from the meet.
It was mostly about preparing for Saturday’s Peterson Prep Invite in Kaneland, so instead of putting in his top competitors for every event, Piccony mixed things up to see what might work. In the end, some newer names stood out.
“I was really impressed with some of the sophomores,” Piccony said. “It’s the sophomores and juniors, the guys that don’t always run at the invites, who stand the most to gain from these meets.”
Piccony was particularly impressed with Eric Aurand, who competed in the 800, as well as Brian Johnston, who has been steadily improving as a long-distance runner.
“He keeps coming on running the mile and two-mile for us,” Piccony said of Johnston. “Tonight, he ran a mile, and he looks really good doing that. His times keep dropping and falling.”
It wasn’t just the new faces who brought their best. Logan Wright, who qualified for state last season, took first in the high jump. Evan Short, an offensive lineman for the Sycamore football team, came out on top in the shot put. The Spartans also won the 4x400 and the 4800.
The distances and times may not have been at their best, but that was because of the weather, which has consistently been an issue. It cancels meets, alters schedules and changes teams’ entire way of preparing. But when it came to accomplishing the goals that Piccony had in mind, he left Tuesday’s meet pretty satisfied.
“It’s hard to get great performances on a night like tonight because of the cold temperatures,” Piccony said. “These Tuesday meets, we are gearing up for our Peterson Invite Weekend. So that’s kind of what tonight was, and again, with the cold weather, we were moving some people around and seeing where they could go.”
SPOTLIGHT ON ...
Marcus Holley, Jr., Genoa-Kingston
Holley took first in the long jump, triple jump and pole vault on Tuesday as G-K won a quadrangular against Hiawatha, Rockford Lutheran and Somonauk.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR ...
DeKalb, Kaneland, Sycamore boys at Peterson Prep Invite at Kaneland, 10 a.m. Saturday
DeKalb, Sycamore girls at Harlem Invite, Saturday, 10 a.m. Saturday
Genoa-Kingston, Indian Creek girls at Oregon Invite, 10 a.m. Saturday
Boys: DeKalb, Genoa-Kingston at Burlington Central Rocket Relays, 4 p.m.
Girls: DeKalb, Genoa-Kingston at Burlington Central Rocket Relays, 4 p.m.
Boys: Indian Creek at Rockford Christian Meet, 5:30 p.m.
Girls: Sycamore at Antioch Invite, 5 p.m.; Kaneland at Wauconda Invite, 4:15 p.m.
Boys: DeKalb, Kaneland, Sycamore at Kaneland's Peterson Prep Invite, 10 a.m.
Girls: DeKalb, Sycamore at Harlem Invite, 10 a.m.; Genoa-Kingston, Indian Creek at Oregon Invite, 10 a.m.