Girls track and field: Kiara Wesseh, Sunny Weber score state championships in Charleston

Newark’s Kiara Wesseh clears the bar in the 1A high jump Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the IHSA girls state track meet in Charleston.

CHARLESTON — Newark star Kiara Wesseh had a final state meet to remember.

The senior earned all-state medals in all four of her events on the day, as well as her second consecutive state championship in the Class 1A high jump during the IHSA girls track and field state championships at Eastern Illinois University.

Wesseh, who will compete in the heptathlon at Baylor, won the high jump after clearing 1.67 meters (5 feet, 5.75 inches) on her first attempt. Wesseh said that she was super excited after clearing the bar on the winning height on her first attempt.

“It started off a little rough, because I cleared the first height, but missed on some of my first jumps early on,” Wesseh said. “But then towards the end, I made my final two jumps on my first try, so I was really happy.”

Wesseh also earned all-state honors with a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (46.96 seconds) and two fifth-place finishes in the 100 hurdles (15.95) and 4x200-relay (1:47.59).

The senior said she was heading into her final meet for Newark with the goal of medaling in all four events, so to pull it off as a final hurrah was special. In the end, Wesseh won her second straight state high jump title, and finished her career with 15 state medals.

“It really hit me this morning that this was the last time I was going to run for Newark, and I realized I was really going to miss it,” Wesseh said. “But I’m excited to end it on a good note, and I’m excited for college.”

Tess Carlson also had an all-state finish for Newark. The junior cleared 3.35 meters (10-11.75) in the pole vault to secure seventh place in the event.

Sandwich’s Sunny Weber runs with a pack in the 2A 3200 run Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the IHSA girls state track meet in Charleston.

Also finding the top of the podium on the day was Sandwich sophomore Sunny Weber. After finishing second in the 3,200 last year, Weber used a kick in the final 600 meters to secure the victory with a new personal-best time of 10:30.16.

Weber, who ran the majority of the race with Waterloo’s Cameron Crump and University’s Zoe Carter and Natalie Bierbaum, said that she wanted to make sure that her move for the win would stick when she crossed the finish line.

“My game plan was just to try as hard as I could,” Weber said. “I feel like the lactic acid were going right into my legs, but I just tried to ignore it.”

Weber also got a second place in the 1,600 in 5:02.68. Weber said she was really happy to come away with a silver in the event, especially after coming into the race thinking she was going to get third or fourth.

“I think I know to race how I feel in the future,” Weber said. “I was going to let the leader do her thing while I stayed with the pack, but then I realized I had more. So I just started pushing, and I think if I did that more throughout the race I could have gotten a PR, but I’m still really happy.”

In Class 1A, Seneca received a third from Teagan Johnson in the pole vault (3.70 meters), a fifth from Evelyn O’Connor in the 1,600 (5:11.40), a sixth in the 4x800 (9:50.61) thanks to Clara Bruno, Natalie Misener, Gracie Steffes and O’Connor, and a seventh from Faith Baker in the discus (117-6).

Dwight’s Mikayla Chambers took ninth in the 1A 800 (2:20.78).

Somonauk-Leland freshman Alexis Punsalan placed 11th in the 1A pole vault (3.05).

Seneca’s Teagan Johnson eyes the runway in the 1A Pole Vault Saturday, May 18, 2024 at the IHSA girls state track meet in Charleston.
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