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Raiders capture sectional title, advance to state in 12 events

GLEN ELLYN – Like any track coach, Mark Tacchi’s main objective at a sectional is to qualify as many athletes as possible for the state meet.

Winning the team title is an added bonus.

On Friday, Tacchi’s Glenbard South squad easily outdistanced the rest of the field at the sectional it hosted, posting a score of 149. Walther Lutheran (109) was the runner-up. But the most important number was 12 — that’s the total number of events in which the Raiders qualified for state.

“You like winning these things, it’s fun to do,” Tacchi said, “but ultimately you are trying to get your best team to state.”

The squad had three individual sectional champions, highlighted by the double-event win from Samantha Howard. The senior captured the shot put title with a distance of 35 feet, 7 inches and added the discus championship with a mark of 135-2. Teammate Tierra Wilson was the runner-up in both events.

Diane Lipa placed first in the 3,200-meter run and later was third in the 1,600. Katelyn Hill won the 100 hurdles with a clocking of 15.32 seconds and was second in the 300 hurdles.

Adding runner-up finishes were Theresa Scheet in the pole vault and Nicole Jordan in the high jump.

The 4x400-meter relay won in 4:03.12 while the 4x200 relay placed first in 1:49.58. The 4x100 and 4x800 groupings also advanced after placing second and third, respectively.

“The kids came to run and throw,” the coach said. “We were ecstatic. It is nice when everyone who should get down does get down.”

As for goals for this weekend’s state meet, Tacchi’s mentality has changed a bit over the years.

“When I was a younger coach,” he said, “it was ‘Lets be happy to be here.’ Now I tell the kids, be happy you are here but that’s not your end all. Try to make the finals. We know how hard it is to make the finals but that’s the goal.”

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