As a freshman, Brooke Probst took sixth in the Class 1A girls state track and field tournament.
Now a junior, Probst is heading back to Charleston with three other Timberwolves who weren’t even in high school the last time she - or anyone else, for that matter - qualified for state.
“She’s been very approachable about things,” Indian Creek co-head track coach KC McCarty said. “These four girls are all great kids and get along well. She doesn’t have the air of ‘Well I’ve been there and you haven’t.’ It’s a team atmosphere and everyone going down there to have fun. She’s more of an adviser.”
After the 2020 track season was wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 version will be different. The 1A event goes Thursday, 2A Friday and 3A Saturday. There are no prelims and finals, just multiple heats.
Sycamore has a pair of athletes at the 2A event, DeKalb has an athlete at the 3A event, and Kaneland is sending two athletes to compete at 3A as well.
For the Timberwolves, more than half of the seven athletes on the roster qualified for the season finale.
“The best you can ask for when you go to a sectional meet is a [personal record],” McCarty said. “Some didn’t make it but still got PRs. It’s always nice to see, always nice to get a girls downstate let alone four in six different events. If you look at the overall body of work, the field events are a strong point. We’ve got two pole vaulters, Brook in the long jump and high jump, plus those 3,200 girls have been putting work all year.
The Timberwolves send four athletes in six events, with Brooke Probst and Caroline Bend competing in two each.
At 5-3.5, Probst is 2.25 inches behind top-seeded New Berlin junior Kylie Periman. It’s the second trip to state for the Indian Creek junior after qualifying her freshman year. Probst is also seeded 18th in the trip jump at 32-1.5.
The Timberwolves will have a pair of pole vaulters competing in the field, each making their first trip to Charleston. Freshman Reagan Gibson is seeded ninth with a vault of 10-9.25, while sophomore Caroline Bend is seeded 24th with a vault of 8-11.75.
Bend will also run the 3,200, seeded 15th at 12:29.60. Sophomore Jolee Larsen rounds out the IC contingent, seeded 10th in the 3,200 at 12:15.06.
While McCarty was on paternity leave this spring, athletic director Ehren Mertz filled in as coach and the duo has been acting as co-caches this season.
Mertz said he’s seen Probst step up not just to the other high school athletes but the lower levels as well.
“She helped out earlier in the year at a middle school meet where she ran the high jump for us,” Mertz said. “So she’s helping the younger kids in the program. I’ve seen her talking to the younger athletes on what to expect in Charleston, like it’s probably going to be warm there and there is not a lot of breeze. She’s letting them know what to expect.”
In Class 3A, Kaneland senior Abby Peeler is set up to bring home a medal, seeded fourth at 40 feet, 7 inches. That’s about six feet behind the No. 1 seed, senior Julia Reglewski of Grayslake Central.
Sophomore Jessica Phillips is seeded 17th for the Knights in the pole vault at 10-3.
DeKalb sophomore Sariyah Watson is seeded 17th with a 59.49 in the 400, the lone entrant for the young Barbs.
In Class 2A, McKenzie Reser is seeded 13th in the 200-meter run for Sycamore with a time 26.71, less than 0.4 off a top-10 finish.
She’ll be joined in the field by Sycamore high jumper Karissa Clawson. The freshman is seeded 10th at 5-1.75, half an inch from moving up and an inch behind a top-five finish.