ELMHURST – The legend of Madeline Perez continues to grow.
The Glenbard West junior’s lengthy running resume already includes a cross country state title from last fall. She added another chapter Friday by winning both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races at the Class 3A York sectional.
Perez ran away with the two-mile title, crossing the line in a time of 10:21.82, just over 13 seconds ahead of runner-up Emma Fisher from York.
“In the 3,200, I took the pace out fast,” Perez said. “I knew it was going to be a really good field of girls and it was; it was insane. I wanted to execute my plan and stay focused the whole time. It went well, I felt very strong.”
Then after about an hour break, she bested a loaded one-mile field (nine runners qualified for state) with a clocking of 4:58.85, marking the first time she has won both events in the same meet.
“The field in the 1,600 was just packed,” she said. “I love it when it is that competitive, you know you’ve got to beat the best. Knowing that made the thought of running the 3,200 not long ago disappear. I felt good and I was happy with the finish.”
Now the focus shifts to the state meet which runs Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
“I just want to go and run both races to the best of my ability,” Perez said. “It is kind of hard to say that ‘I want to do this exactly’ because you don’t know what conditions you will get. You have to be flexible when you get down there. I’m just excited to get there and run.”
Perez will be joined at Eastern Illinois by a large group of her teammates, including sophomore Lisa Luczak, who moved on in the same two distance events. All in all, the Hilltoppers qualified four individuals and two relays for the state meet after placing third at York with 71 points.
Emma Gambol qualified in both the 300 hurdles, which she won in a time of 45.77 seconds, and the triple jump, while Emma Reifel advanced in the 800.
Reifel also ran a leg of the victorious 4x400-meter relay, along with Mary Nevins, Jasharra Clark and Gambol. The 4x800 grouping of Kate Majewski, Grace Rogers, Caitlyn Reick and Christina Sedall also qualified after placing second.
“We got everything we hoped for,” said Glenbard West coach Kelly Hass. “It did go according to plan and part of the plan was to be pushed.
“Our one mile, two mile and half, they have (state) medals on their minds and so do we. All the other events, they can also make it to the second day. It’s a lot to ask for but we will ask it anyway.”