CHARLESTON – Providence Catholic paved the way for the area in the Class 2A girls track and field finals Saturday at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
You have to go back quite a few years to match the performance the Celtics had Saturday.
They scored 14 points and placed 20th in the final standings and it was the most points scored by the Celtics since 1982.
Sam Spencer led the way for Providence with a third-place finish in the pole vault. The sophomore jumped 12 feet 3 inches and finished behind two seniors, as it was the highest placing in school history in the pole vault.
“All the hard worked paid off,” Spencer said. “I’m so grateful for my coaches and teammates and everything we have accomplished this weekend. I didn’t jump as I wanted and just barely knocked the bar off at 12-6, but to be third in the state is a pretty good accomplishment.”
Spencer was joined by sophomore Sarah Kerfin, junior Charlotte Venezio and freshman Teresa Tolpolski as they placed eighth in the 4 x 200 relay (1:46.55). It was the first medal in any relay for a Celtic team since 1982.
In Friday’s qualifying race, the team ran 1:45.15, which broke the school record that was set in 1978.
“This is such an awesome feeling,” Kerfin said. “There is no way that at the beginning of this track season anyone thought we would place eighth and get a state medal.”
“We have such a great team and the best thing is everyone is back next year,” Venezio said. “We cheer for each other get great support from everyone and it really motivates us for next year.”
The final state placer for the Celtics was junior triple jumper Chelsea Wells, who placed fifth with a leap of 37-5 ¾. It was the first medal ever won in the event for the Celtics.
“What a phenomenal experience this weekend has been, not only placing in the triple jump, but how our team did,” Wells said. “Being here last year and not doing well taught me to push through everything. Nothing is guaranteed and you have to work for something you want.”
“We are living the dream,” Tolposki said of the Celtics’ big weekend.
In Class 1A, Seneca won medals in three different events, and Reed-Custer placed in two events.
Seneca was led by the sixth place finish of junior Grace Alley in the triple jump (35-10 ¼).
“The triple jump was kid of bittersweet,” Alley said. “I wanted to jump a little better, but placing sixth and getting the medal at the state meet is a great accomplishment. “I love being here, the experience each year is unbelievable and then to place in the relay was incredible.”
Alley was joined by senior Eve Odum, junior Lexi Greve and sophomore Mara Bruno as they placed eighth in the 4 x 200 relay in a school record time of 1:47.3.
“I would say that this is finishing your career with a bang,” Odum said. “This is only the third time this combination has run together this year and I think we did pretty well.”
“This is such an awesome experience,” Greve said. “We broke our school record at the state meet and if you come here and run your best, that is the ultimate experience.
Junior Kenzi Epsom also placed seventh in the pole vault (10-3).
“At sectionals all I did was just hit the qualifying mark, so I barely made it in,” Epsom said. “Then to come here and place in unbelievable. I’m so motivated to work even harder and make my senior year special.”
Reed-Custer got both of their medals from sophomore Jaden Christian. She placed fourth in the triple jump (37-½) and eighth in the long jump (17-1).
“I was disappointed in my long jump, but that motivated me in the triple jump,” Christian said. “I’m happy to place in both, but I was hoping to jump a little farther.”