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Carr, Glenbard North start off on race toward state finals

Published: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:46 p.m. CST
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Glenbard North's Simone Carr warms up before a practice last year. An all-state finisher in the 400-meter dash last spring, Carr is looking to improve upon that showing this season.

The outdoor track season is just getting underway as Saturday marked the first day of big outdoor invites for area teams. With the season just starting, it’s hard to believe that girls state meets are less than six weeks away (May 22 to 24). Here’s a look at what to expect over those next six weeks for area girls track and field teams.

Glenbard North Panthers

Coach:Gary Heilers

Last year’s results: 3rd in the DVC, 6th in the sectional

Top athletes:

Simone Carr sr. sprints

Tasia Collins sr. throws

Laila Pickens sr. sprints

Jackie Howard sr. sprints

Allison Wahrman so. jumps

Outlook: Glenbard North had a season to remember last spring, winning three invitationals before placing third in the DuPage Valley Conference.

The Panthers then put the icing on the cake with four individuals and one relay qualifying for the IHSA Class 3A state meet.

Now, with a strong core of athletes returning to the track, the squad has a chance to equal that success in 2014.

North is led by senior Simone Carr, who had an all-state finish in the 400-meter dash last spring. Also back are Tasia Collins, who was 25th in the shot put, and Allison Wahrman, who advanced to state in both the long jump and triple jump and placed 14th and 20th, respectively.

Two members of the 4x100 relay, Jackie Howard and Laila Pickens, return after that quartet placed 15th.

“We have had a  great start to the season,” Glenbard North coach Gary Heilers said. “We have a strong group of seniors that are competing well. If we can get through a few injuries we could be a difficult team to beat.”

In the DVC indoor meet March 20, the Panthers finished in fifth place with 57 points and Carr was the champion in the 400.

Glenbard West Hilltoppers

Coach: Kelly Hass

Last year’s results: 2nd in the West Suburban Silver, 3rd at Class 3A state meet

Top athletes:

Madeline Perez sr. distance

Lindsay Graham so. distance

Lisa Luczak jr. distance

Grace Rogers so. distance

Emma Gambol jr. jumps/

hurdles

Mary Nevins jr. middle

sprints

JaSharra Clark sr. sprints

Emma Winans so. sprints

Grace Lups sr. high jump

Anna Gambol fr. throws

DeeDee Burns sr. throws

Outlook:Glenbard West brought home a third-place trophy from the state meet a year ago and has the pieces in place to once again be mentioned among the top teams in Illinois, although those thoughts are on the back burner.

“While there are always high expectations on our team, placing at the state meet is not a current priority,” Glenbard West coach Kelly Hass said. “We need to focus on ourselves and getting better each week.”

Madeline Perez is back after capturing both the 3,200-meter and 1,600 state titles in 2013. Lindsay Graham transferred to Glenbard West after finishing fifth in the 3,200 as a freshman at Glenbard East and joins Perez, Lisa Luczak and Grace Rogers to give the Hilltoppers a dominant distance grouping.

Emma Gambol is a point scorer in multiple events, placing eighth at state in the triple jump while also qualifying in the 300 hurdles. She also was a part of the eighth-place 4x400 relay with Mary Nevins and JaSharra Clark last spring.

“We have a much bigger team this year,” Hass said, “and we have the luxury of being able to move athletes around in multiple events to put together a more complete team this year.

“We are again distance heavy, but we have seen an enormous turnaround in our field events and sprints and that is where we should start to earn more points at meets.”

On Saturday, Glenbard West showed its depth by capturing the Downers Grove South Invitational title with 115.5 points.

Individual winners were Gambol (triple jump and 300 hurdles), Rogers (3,200) and Graham (1,600). The 4x800 relay also was victorious.

West Chicago Wildcats

Coach: Bob Maxson

Top athletes:

Emma McCarthy jr. sprints

Cindy Mendez so. sprints

Lindsey Sayner sr. distance/

sprints

Outlook: The Wildcats are in their first year in the Upstate Eight Conference and placed 10th in the indoor meet earlier this spring. Cindy Mendez (400-meter dash), Emma McCarthy (800) and Michelle Franch (3,200) posted top-eight finishes.

“I am looking forward to this year and next year and to see our results improve both time-wise and in conference standings as we transition to the Upstate Eight,” West Chicago coach Bob Maxson said. “The Upstate has a lot of great athletes, but I believe we can hold our own.”

Mendez could open up some eyes after winning the DVC indoor 400 last year. Lindsey Sayner could also score points in the mile and 800.

Wheaton Academy Warriors

Coach: Chris Felinski

Outlook: Felinski takes over a program that has a good amount of numbers but is still in the building stages.

One athlete to keep an eye on is freshman distance runner Sierra Stapleton, who ran a 5:50 in the 1,600-meter run in her first outdoor meet of the season.

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