GIRLS TRACK PLACES SECOND IN MUSTANG INVITE
Even with a stress fracture in her left tibia during the 2016 track season, Naperville North junior Sarah Wastek came inches from qualifying for the Class 3A meet in shot put.
With a permanent metal rod now in that leg, Wastek appears ready to stand tall come in May.
"Especially since the first (outdoor) meet went so well, it definitely shows that, hopefully, this will be a much better season," said Wastek, who threw 39-11 in 2016. "(Last season) I was throwing in the beginning in a boot and then at the end just with a crack in my tibia." On Saturday, Wastek threw a lifetime-best 40 feet, 4 inches to win the event and help the Huskies take first in their first appearance at the eight-team Downers Grove South Invitational.
Naperville North's 100 points with five event champions finished ahead of runner-up Downers South and third-place Lyons Township, which had finished 1-2 the past two years.
The Huskies' other champions were junior Hannah Ricci in the 3,200 in 11:03.91, senior Claire Hamilton in the 800 in 2:19.66, sophomore Halle Bieber in the 100 high hurdles in 16.24 and the 800 relay of senior Tiara Kirkland, sophomore Annie Bieber and juniors Allison Grady and Allie Saffilla in 1:46.79.
Saturday's stiff winds blew into runners' faces on the final straightaway but at the backs of throwers and vertical jumpers. Many great runners in the field were not fazed.
Glenbard West freshman Katelynne Hart won the 1,600 in a meet-record 4:58.55 after anchoring the winning 3,200 relay with juniors Lindsey Payne and Marika Tammaru and senior Janie Nabholz in 9:35.17.
Fifth-place Glenbard North received titles from senior Kathryn Milschewski in discus with 114-5 and junior long jumper Delaney Guy with a lifetime-best 17-1.
Hart broke the invite record of 4:59.95 set in 2013 by Glenbard West's Madeline Perez on what distance coach Paul Hass remembered as another extremely windy day. Hart, the Class 3A cross country champion in November, led from the start.
"I actually didn't really know the record so it was kind of cool that I got it," Hart said.
"I think I kind of got used to the wind from (the 3,200 relay). I tried to go out a little bit conservatively and stay relaxed and then definitely save a little bit for the last lap or two."
Ricci barely missed sub-11:00 after breaking from Downers South freshman Brenna Cohoon with 650 meters left.
"The wind was hard but it was good having (Cohoon) helping me throughout the race," Ricci said.
"To run a personal best in wind like this is something. That was a very, very big-time performance," Iverson said.
Ricci has emerged this season after transferring from Erie, Pa., including 18th at state cross country. One aspect, however, hasn't changed.
"We had some brutal weather in Erie (for meets, too)," Ricci said. "I got comfortable with the girls (during cross country). It helped me keep in touch and use them to help me improve."
Chao felt progress in triple jump after battling a right quad injury indoors. Chao, 12th at 2016 state with a lifetime-best 37-6, won by one inch over Glenbard North's Muabon Paye.
"I just wanted to get some really good jumps (today)," Chao said. "I love going to state, especially with all of the girls. I got 12th but who can complain with a (personal record)?"
On her final long jump, Guy surpassed 17 feet for the first time to edge Chao by ¾ of an inch for first. Guy didn't compete at 2016 sectionals in long jump because of two standout seniors, all-state Allison Wahrman and Keina Suggs.
"I was pretty shocked with (17-0) because my earlier jumps were not nearly as good," Guy said. "I just really pushed for the last one. I think (the wind) helped a bit."
Milschewski is pushing for her first state berth after missing at 2016 sectionals by less than a foot.
"That's what we're hoping for this season. Starting at 114 was kind of where I hoping to start today," said Milschewski, who also threw 113-9.
"This is actually one of my favorite places to come. I had my first invite here as a freshman. I tried to focus a little less on winning and a little more on doing well."
Downers South senior Nicole Muccianti swept the 100 and 200 in 12.73 and 26.13 and anchored the winning 400 relay in 50.80 with Soren Umali, Asia Branch and Izzy Taylor. Click here to read the full story in the Daily Herald.