June 23, 2024

Girls Track and Field: Josie Medema leads large Lyons Township group headed for state

Lions have 13 state qualifiers; Morton's Zahra Sammour earns second straight triple jump berth

BURBANK – Lyons Township senior Josie Medema asked coach Greg Frandsen about trying high jump late in indoor season.

“High jump was just doing their thing and I was doing one of the workouts,” said Medema, who also triple jumps. “Since then I just stuck with it and it’s been pretty great.”

Now Medema is going to her first state meet in the event.

Medema equaled her personal best of 4 feet, 11 inches inches to finish second and be among the Lions’ 13 qualifiers at the Class 3A Reavis Sectional Wednesday with top-two finishes or by achieving state-qualifying standards at the meet. That group is headed to the state meet in Charleston May 17-18.

The Lions added their eighth consecutive sectional team title.

“It’s going to be a fun week ahead,” Medema said.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s very exciting. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication but I have great teammates and a great coach by my side.”

LT senior Marta Kogucki (1,600 in unofficial 5:14) and sophomore Claire Williams (800 in 2:23.69) were individual champions.

The Lions swept all four relays – juniors Kyla Miller and Natalie Swinehart, sophomore London White and senior Renata Wingert in the 400 relay (49.09), Miller, Swinehart, sophomore Cate Judy and Wingert in the 800 relay (1:44.89) and Wingert, senior Lizzie Scotty, junior Maddie Cranny and Judy in the 1,600 relay (4:01.51) with season-best times and juniors Ally Sarussi and Maggie Abbs, Kogucki and sophomore Kate Dickman in the 3,200 relay (9:29.86).

Other second-place qualifiers were White in the 300 low hurdles (47.32) and 100 high hurdles (15.69), seniors Sarah Barcelona (3,200 in 11:44.61) and Olivia Kalata (9-9 in pole vault Tuesday), Swinehart (200 in 26.62) and sophomore Mary Grace Lansing (800 in 2:25.50).

“Hopefully there’s enough room in the vans to go down,” Frandsen joked. “It’s about the performances we expected.”

Morton senior Zahra Sammour earned her second straight triple jump berth by winning and improving her school record to 36-11.

Medema lost a tiebreaker for the title. Morton’s Keyunna White and Kayla Green and LT’s Meg McLean also cleared 4-11 but on the initial tiebreaker were third through fifth.

The Lions return their entire all-state, seventh-place 3,200 relay. Wingert and Cranny return from the all-state, sixth-place 1,600 relay.

“We have a sense of how we race and we run well together so it should be good,” said Kogucki, who will run at Minnesota.

Kogucki dominated the 1,600 by 14 seconds, but the fully-automatic timing system malfunctioned and leaves her with no official seed time for state.

Sammour was nervous about achieving her state return, especially with fasting from sunrise to sunset in observance of Ramadan.

After a two-shoe adjustment to her approach, Sammour hit the board perfectly on her first try for 36-11 – well beyond the 36-2 qualifying standard – and took no other attempts.

“My adrenaline pinched in the last minute right when I needed it, especially with Ramadan. I was a little skeptical about how it would go,” said Sammour, who will compete at Concordia.

“It’s my last year. I really want to make a statement as a senior.”

Barcelona is state-bound for the first time since freshman year. Two years ago at sectionals, also at Reavis, she appeared on pace to advance in the 3,200 but then dropped out with pain from an unknown stress fracture.

“It’s kind of come full circle so it’s kind of cool,” said the Cornell-bound Barcelona.

“When I found out sectionals were here, I was kind of worried. [Then] I was like, it would be really cool senior year to qualify for state on the track that I was really close to qualifying but didn’t.”

The Mustangs’ 3,200 relay of juniors Dayanna Sanchez and Diana Almazan and seniors Paola Gonzalez and Karen Lopez was third (10:11.20), 7.05 seconds from second.