CHARLESTON – The Lincoln-Way East girls track and field team are state champions once again. On Saturday, they scored 56 points to win the Class 3A Track and Field Championship. Conference rival Homewood-Flossmoor finished in second with 50 points. It was the fifth title for the Griffins, as they won four consecutive from 2013 to 2016.
East endured heat and two long weather delays, the first of which came as the Griffins were in the blocks for the 4×100 relay and the second came with only three events remaining and lasted more than four hours.
“This means everything, and to win a state championship is tough,” East coach Brian Evans said. “It’s been a while, and we started from ground zero with an entire new coaching staff and new kids. These kids bought in to the team concept because everyone on the team has value and importance. These kids have embraced that titles come from teams, not individuals, and I’m so happy for them and our coaching staff because this is their first.”
East was led by the stellar performance of junior Mariam Azeez, who won the 100 (12.09), placed second in the long jump (19-0) and teamed with Katie Sciarini, Sophia Barnard and Paige Watson to place third in the 4×100 relay (47.85). Then after the four hour delay she placed third in the 200 (24.68).
“We, as a team, have worked really hard for this,” Azeez said. “This shows what can be accomplished when you work together as a team, it’s not just one person, but all of us.”
Sciarini also placed third in the 300 hurdles (44.94), with Barnard fourth (45.15), along with an eighth-place finish in the 100 hurdles (15.03). Also picking up valuable team points was Ali Van Dyke with a sixth in the pole vault (10-11 1/2) and the 4×800 relay of Kate Guderjan, Hallie Hoger, Maddie Yacobozzi and Elyse DeFrank placing ninth (9:39.55). To top it off, the 4×400 relay of Barnard, Watson, Sciarini and Kendall Crossley ended the meet by finishing sixth (4:01.62).
“The 300 hurdle race was big for our team because Sophia [Barnard] and I picked up 15 points, and that was huge,” Sciarini said. “We also wanted to get it in before another weather delay.”
Also gaining All-State Medalist honors (top nine finish) were Plainfield East senior Carmen Trillo, finishing fifth in the pole vault with a leap of 11-2 1/4, fellow senior Arianna Burkes, who took seventh in the 400 (58.15), and Elissa Perkins, who placed ninth in the triple jump (37-7 1/2).
“My legs just tired out from the heat,” Trillo said. “This is the longest I’ve ever competed in a season, and I think it all caught up with me today. But I’m proud of this entire season, especially being able to compete in the state finals for the first time and placing.”
“I wanted to place higher but running in Lane 1 was tough, but it was great to be here,” Burkes said.
Marla Hayes placed fifth in the discus for Lincoln-Way Central with a throw of 121-10.
Macy O’Neill, a senior from Plainfield South, finished sixth in the high jump going 5-3, and Janiyah Bowman placed ninth in the 200 (25.46).
“I could not have imagined this at the start of this crazy year,” O’Neill said. “This has been such an amazing experience, and everyone at the meet has been so supportive and friendly. It was a great way to close my high school career.”
Minooka’s 4×800 relay received state medals for their eighth-place finish, as the team of Cassie Fuhrman, Gabby Kics, Audrey Boles and Kathryn Cichon ran a 9:36.26.
“It was hot and competitive, but that is pretty much what we expected,” Cichon said. “A little disappointed with the place, but that was the most competitive race in this crazy season.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle