Girls track and field previews: Distance runner Hardies leads Hinsdale Central

Darden, Warren, Thompson, Blumenstein the backbone for Hinsdale South.

The goal for track and field athletes is to compete at the state meet. Those goals are already in motion as the gun has gone off on the 2013 outdoor season.

Hinsdale Central

Coach: Pat Richards

Top returners:

Jill Hardies, sr. (distance)

Haleigh Monyek, sr. (sprints, relays)

Lilly Sarros, sr. (sprints, relays)

Cara Tenerelli, sr. (jumps, hurdles)

What to watch: The Red Devils enter the outdoor season with a well-rounded lineup that has solid athletes in sprints, hurdles, field events, relays and distance races.

Jill Hardies placed fifth in the state in the 1,600-meter run last year and looks primed for another strong finish as she placed second with a time of 5:06.35 in the race at the West Suburban Silver indoor meet. That time is less than 10 seconds off the time she ran at last year’s state finals (4:57.47).

Cara Tenerelli showed she could be a dual threat as she was the 55 hurdle champ at the WSS indoor (8.87 seconds) and added a fourth-place finish in the triple jump (33 feet, 5.75 inches).

Haleigh Monyek and Lilly Sarros add outdoor state meet experience. Emily Wasz (throws), Julie Kanter (high jump), Jennie Thompson (long jump, triple jump) and Mary Kuckertz (pole vault) had solid showings at indoor conference and will be looked upon to help score points in field events at invites.

Central started the outdoor season with a triangular meet Tuesday, and it opens the invite slate Saturday at Downers Grove South. Central’s own Devilette Invite (April 13) and invites at Glenbard West (April 20) and Wheaton Warrenville South (April 26) will all be build-up for the sectional meet, where the Red Devils will look to rack up the state berths in hopes of repeating the fortunes that led to a 2010 state title.

Hinsdale South

Coach: David Bonner

Top returners:

Alivia Blumenstein, jr. (jumps, sprints)

Bridget Bodee, sr. (jumps)

Nakiyah Darden, so. (sprints, hurdles)

Rachel Steinhaus, sr. (hurdles)

Keara Toombs, jr. (sprints, jumps)

Sarah Warren, jr. (sprints, relays)

What to watch: The Hornets earned all their points at last year’s outdoor state meet in field events with Uzo Okoro placing in triple jump and long jump and Bridget Bodee finishing seventh in the high jump.

Okoro is gone but Bodee is back and so is 2012 state qualifier Nakiyah Darden, which has South set up for success during the outdoor season.

At the West Suburban Gold indoor conference meet, Darden finished second in the 400-meter dash, third in the 55 dash and ran on the winning 4 x 400 relay team, where she was joined by Alivia Blumenstein, Samantha Noble and Keara Toombs. The 4 x 400 relay went on to shave nine seconds off its WSG time as it finished third at the Illinois Prep Top Times indoor state meet (4:03.55).

At conference, Keara and Teara Toombs both ran on the winning 4 x 160 relay with Blumenstein and Maya Thompson. Sarah Warren was a conference champ in the 55 and 300 dashes, and Rachel Steinhaus a champ in the 55 hurdles.

In outdoor meets, the Hornets look to get points in field events from Kristen Dimitrijevic (throws), Thompson and Blumenstein (long jump and triple jump) and Bodee (high jump champ at the WSG meet).

The first outdoor meet is Saturday’s Willowbrook invite, and the Hornets will subsequently compete in invites at Hinsdale Central (April 13) and Wheaton Warrenville South (April 26) in preparation for the postseason.