Poglitsch wins 800, second in 1,600; Wheaton North's Leeya Zander wins 200, leads sprint relay title
BATAVIA – An inkling of what was in store for the first DuKane Conference girls track and field season was unveiled last fall during cross country.
“To pretty much place in a distance race in this conference you have to be a state qualifier,” Geneva coach Peter Raak said Saturday after Batavia turned back St.Charles East 126-108 to capture the indoor conference championship.
Wheaton Warrenville South had 102 points to finish third, while Geneva was fifth with 53; Wheaton North tied Glenbard North for sixth (45 each) and St. Charles North was eighth with 20 points.
Batavia freshman sensation Katrina Schlenker and fellow reigning all-state cross country runner Alice Abbott of St. Charles East were engaged in a seemingly brilliant encounter in the 3,200-meter run.
Schlenker pulled away down the stretch for the first of two individual titles as the Bulldogs’ defending state runner-up in Class 3A cross country established a new Batavia fieldhouse record with her time of 10 minutes, 32.62 seconds.
Abbott was seemingly the runner-up in 10:40, only to be disqualified for a lane infraction early in the event.
Schlenker later added the 1,600 title – in 5:03.56 – to her growing list of achievements. The Bulldogs added field-event triumphs from Amy Zabka in the shot put (39 feet, 4.5 inches) and Mackenzie Benkers (9-6) in the pole vault to power their team title.
“I had positive vibes,” Schlenker said. “It was real cool knowing our whole team could stick together. It’s not just sprinters and distance runners; it is the throwers and pole vaulters. In practice you are always in your little space. But when a meet comes, like conference, the whole team comes together.”
Abbott was mystified by her penalty.
“I didn’t know I was DQ’d, but you learn from your mistakes,” Abbott said. “I might have been DQ’d from the race, but they can’t take my time away.”
Emily Nichols capped her indoor season in style for the Saints.
The senior sprinter duplicated the Schlenker achievement with two individual titles with victories in the 55 and 400 dashes.
Wheaton North junior sprinter Leeya Zander cost Nichols a third sprint title by five one-hundredths in the 200 dash (26.57-26.62).
“I was in Lane 5 and couldn’t see [Zander] coming from behind me,” said Nichols, who shaved Batavia sophomore Davinia Wilson by two hundredths with her win in 7.91 in the 55 dash. “When she came up from behind me, I was surprised I could take it to the end.”
Nichols and Saints ' freshman teammate Torrie Kortan swept the 200.
St. Charles East also emerged victorious in the 1,600 and 3,200 relays behind twin participant Venezia Munoz.
WW South sophomore Sam Poglitsch bested Abbott in the 1,600 to finish runner-up to Schlenker after earlier taking the top prize in the 800 with her time of 2:22.75.
“When I found out about the new conference, I wasn’t sure about the competition,” said Poglitsch, all state in the 1,600 last May. “It’s great having Katrina here.”
“We battled hard,” WW South coach Rob Harvey said. “Batavia has got a great program. They finished strong in cross country. These distance races are great.”
Zander and Christie Macris are returning all-state sprint-relay runners for Wheaton North at 800 meters.
The two powered the Falcons to victory in 1:47.84.
”This week I have spent a lot of time working on sticking to my racing form,” Zander said. “This year we think the four-by-two can go very far. We graduated a few runners. We have had a lot of other younger people step up.”
“I think we have a lot of potential, a lot of talent,” Macris said. “It was a great accomplishment [being all-state last year]. All these girls have worked real hard.”