It was a history-making night for the Lady Leaf track and field team May 11 as the girls captured Geneseo’s first IHSA Sectional girls’ track and field title at Mendota.
“It was a really great night,” said head coach Phil Paulson. “We were seeded a little further ahead in terms of points, but then it came very close.”
The girls were locked in a close battle with Aurora Christian going into the final race, the 4x400-meter relay. The second-place finish by Samantha Mannon, Emily Ford, Paige Gatter and Kaci Storm helped Geneseo edge out Aurora Christian by three, 133 to 130 for the title.
“I had us ahead by one point going into the 4x400-m relay and even though we got runner up in the race, we had to beat Aurora Christian and we did,” said Paulson. “The first leg of the 4x4 was pretty close, but then Aurora Christan blew by us. Paige closed down the gap and Kaci closed the gap down the back stretch and passed Aurora Christian on the curve.”
On top of that, the girls qualified for the state finals in 11 events with 10 girls making the trip and some in multiple events.
Storm and Hannah Waller went 1-2 in the hurdles for the Lady Leafs both advance in the 100-meter hurdles and the 300-m hurdles. Storm won both races, taking the tape in 14.92 seconds in the 100-m hurdles and 46.11 in the 300-m hurdles, while Waller came in second in 15.79 in the 100-m hurdles and 47.88 in the 300-m hurdles.
Darrian?Hartman punched a two tickets to state as she won the pole vault, clearing 10-9 and in the triple jump with a leap of 34-10 3/4 for fourth place.
Rayne Bodeen raced to a second-place finish in the 100-m dash to claim a spot at state in 12.43, while Ford took home third in the 800-m run with a time of 2:22.91 to send her to state. Gatter finished second in the 1600-m run at 5:22.80 to earn a spot at state.
Among the 11 events heading to state, the Lady Leafs are sending all four relay teams to Charleston.
The 4x800-m relay of Ford, Morgan Kelly, Kelcey Adams and Gatter took the tape in 10:00.44 to win the race, while the 4x200-m relay of Bodeen, Mannon, Waller and Storm placed second with a time of 1:46.42.
The 4x400-m relay of Mannon, Ford, Gatter and Storm captured second in 4:05.58, while the 4x100-m relay of Waller, Mannon, Ashley Kempher and Bodeen took third to advance in 50.61.
“The girls have been pretty focused the last few weeks and have been putting the extra time in,”?said Paulson. “They knew what was at stake and wanted to fulfill that mission.”
Additional Track Results
200-m dash- Bodeen, fourth, 26.94. 400-m dash- Halle Olson, third, 1:02.38 and Katie Puls, eighth, 1:04.00. 800-m run- Katie Lynch, seventh, 2:33.85. 1600-m run- Maggie Schlindwein, fifth, 5:37.95. 3200-m run- Sarah?Dellett, fifth, 13:18.00 and Britta Conrad, 13th, 14:23.42.
Page 2 of 2 - Additional Field Results
High jump- Jamie DeFauw, third, 5-0 and Jessica Stoneking, 11th, 4-6. Pole vault- Anna Madigan, sixth, 8-3. Shot put- Audrey Anderson, fifth, 32-10 1/2 and Stoneking, sixth, 30-11 1/4. Discus- Anderson, third, 111-08 and Stoneking, ninth, 91-6.
“It was a team effort. Not only did the first-place finishers and qualifiers help win the title, but the rest of the team contributed because it comes down to a point here and there,” said Paulson. “If you look at all the events, we scored in every event except the long jump. They might not have did what they wanted to, but they got us points to win the whole thing.?They got the job done.”
The Lady Leafs will compete at the IHSA Girls’?Track and Field State Finals at 8 a.m. May 18 and 19 in Charleston.
“This was just icing on the cake for us and whatever happens at state will be a bonus,” said Paulson. “I think the kids will rise to the occasion like last year.”