CHARLESTON – Kaneland senior Abby Peeler may never forget her final high school throw.
Peeler and Knights throws coach Mike Thorgesen did not want to hold anything back. That aggressiveness paid off big-time.
Peeler unleashed a throw of 40-3 3/4 to take fifth place at the Class 3A Girls Track and Field State Meet Saturday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
Peeler would have finished ninth and won a medal, but her last throw was almost 2 feet longer and moved her up four spots.
“We just decided to go for it, we went big,” Peeler said. “Just go after it and attack the throw. It was much better than the others. I was so happy and relieved to finally get a good throw in. I just celebrated with my family (parents Chris and Lisa) and coaches. It was such a good moment.”
Peeler will throw at Wisconsin next year.
“Abby was absolutely amazing, ending up in fifth place,” Knights coach Andrew Franklin said. “She was pretty relaxed and came up with a very nice throw. We were very happy for her.”
Kaneland sophomore Jessica Phillipp also competed in the pole vault and finished 22nd at 9-6. Phillipp was disappointed at not making her best height, 10-6, yet thrilled with her first state experience.
“This is my first year and it was a really awesome experience,” Phillipp said. “I didn’t (get a personal record) and it was not the outcome I was looking for, but I was happy to qualify. It was great to compete against the best girls in the state.
“I felt strong, but I wasn’t finishing my jumps and hitting the bar on the way down. I’ll just come back next year even harder and PR and come back stronger.”
Franklin was excited about Phillipp gaining state meet experience.
“We were proud of Jessica making 9-6,” Franklin said. “It was her debut at state as a sophomore so we’re very proud of her and she gained a lot of experience.”
DeKalb sophomore Sariyah Watson qualified in the 400 meters, but Barbs coach Tywon Green said a lower-body injury kept her from competing.
“She couldn’t overcome in time for Saturday,” Green said. “But she’s only a sophomore and her future is bright.”