CHARLESTON – The girls state track and field finals Saturday, held at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, were not as kind to our area teams as in the past, but there were still some outstanding performances.
Naperville North won the Class 3A team title with 53 points and was followed by Homewood-Flossmoor (47 points) and Belleville West (39).
The area was led by the third-place performance of Plainfield South junior Miranda Cadwell in the shot put (41 feet-6 ¼ inches).
The third-place finish is the best in girls track and field for a Cougar athlete and she also was their first medal winner since 2011.
“This was an incredible experience, especially being my first time at the finals,” Cadwell said. “It feels great to place third and I’m proud of the fact that I’m the highest placer ever for the track and field team. I learned a lot by this experience and my goal is to come back and really try to win the title next year.”
Joliet West got a medal performance from senior Daijah Brown in the 400 meters as she ran 57.30 in placing eighth.
It was the first time a Joliet West/Joliet Township athlete has placed in the 400 -meter race since 1982.
“I’m satisfied and it was a good way to end my high school career,” said Brown, who will be attending St. Norbert University next fall.
“It was tough to run the finals in lane nine because I couldn’t see anyone, but I ran as well as I could and I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished.”
Bolingbrook had two placers in the 100 meter hurdles as Kayla Walters placed fourth (14.61) and Katelyn Johnson was eighth (14.76).
Walters, a junior, was right with the leaders until she hit the seventh hurdle and that threw her off balance.
“I’ve really been working on getting my trail leg through and I guess I didn’t have it up high enough and I hit the hurdle,” Walters said. “Sure, I’m disappointed, but I’m proud of still getting fourth in the state. Believe me, this will make me work harder because I know I can run with anyone in the state.
“Having Katelyn as a teammate is great, because we push each other in every practice.”
“Next year our goal is to go one-two in the hurdles in the finals,” Johnson said. “I’ve learned a lot from Kayla and it only makes us better as teammates pushing each other all the time.”
The 4 x 400 relay team from Lincoln-Way East placed seventh with a time of 3:56.46. The four members of the team were juniors Ibukun Ajifolokum, Taylor McCourt and Taylor Wright, along with sophomore Keto Nkemeh.
“We have a huge tradition at East in the 4 x 400 relay,” Wright said. “We were worried coming into the meet that our times weren’t as fast as we had hoped, but the weather this season was terrible.”
“This is the first time Keto and I have ran on this track as part of the relay,” McCourt said. “We know what is expected of us, not only in this relay but as a team.
“We are so young and everyone on this relay is back next year. We want to be back on the top of the podium, especially in this relay.”
Wright also placed ninth in the 400 meters with a time of 58.25.
Also placing on Saturday, but not making it to the podium, were Katelyn Gall from Minooka in the pole vault (10-0), where she finished 12th, and Plainfield North’s Juliana Stogsdill was 14th (11:08.12) and Lincoln-Way Central’s Merrigan Allen placed 16th (11:12.12) in the 3,200-meter run.