Girls track: Mendota’s Mariyah Elam top seed for high jump entering 2A state meet

Princeton’s Morgan Foes eyeing medals in both throws; L-P sending 2 to state

Mariyah Elam of Mendota High School jumps cleanly over the bur during the girls varsity high jump at Mendota High School on May 3, 2024.

Mariyah Elam only started competing in track and field as an eighth grader.

Now a year later, the Mendota freshman will be in the mix for multiple state medals at the IHSA Class 2A Girls Track and Field State Meet, which is Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

“I’m expecting to get better and have bigger expectations from last year,” said Elam, who medaled in high jump at the Illinois Elementary School Association state meet last year.

Elam won titles at the Rochelle Sectional in the high jump, triple jump and 100-meter hurdles.

“Honestly, the trickiest thing was what four events do we limit her to?” Mendota coach Joe Hughes said about the sectional. “We knew she’d have a chance to compete in each one. We thought first place was a real shot in high jump and triple jump, and she exceeded our expectations in both.”

Elam enters the state meet tied for the top seed in the high jump with her sectional mark of 1.64 meters. She’s tied with Macomb’s Aubrey Holhaus.

Elam’s best high jump this season is 1.68 meters at the Three Rivers Conference Meet.

She’s also seeded ninth in the 100 hurdles (15.91) and 10th in the triple jump (10.89).

“This is my first time going to state as a coach, so it’s going to all be a new experience for everyone,” Hughes said. “But if she can compete and keep this mindset of wanting to be the best and working hard in practice, I think we have a chance to bring home a couple things of hardware.”

Princeton's Morgan Foes throws shot put during the Class 2A girls track and field Sectional on Thursday, May 9, 2024 in Princeton.

Princeton senior Morgan Foes also will be in the hunt for multiple state medals.

Foes is seeded fifth entering the state meet in the discus and shot put with tosses of 35.87 and 11.3 meters at the Princeton Sectional.

“I’m really proud of how far I’ve come, and being a top-five seed means a lot to me,” Foes said. “It shows I have made some great strides this season, and I’m hoping to use those seedings and make PHS proud. No matter what happens, I have had a breakthrough season, especially in shot put.

“I want to place at my seeding level or higher and keep my consistency. I’ve made improvements in practice, and I want to be able to show those improvements in a meet.”

Last season, Foes brought home a fifth-place medal in the discus and also competed at state in the shot put, placing 17th.

“I do think my past state experience will help me this year because I’ve been through the first-time jitters,” Foes said. “Hopefully, I will be able to go to state with a good attitude and see some personal bests.”

Teammate Camryn Driscoll once again will join Foes at state.

The sophomore is seeded 13th in the 400 meters in 1:00.15. Driscoll ran a 59.78 at state last year to place 16th.

La Salle-Peru junior Elli Sines and freshman Aubrey Duttlinger also hope to reach the podium.

Sines placed 14th at state in the 100 hurdles last year in 15.97. She’s beaten that mark four times this spring, including a personal record 15.48 on April 23.

She recorded the 13th-best sectional time at 16.08.

“I have two goals for state this year. My first goal is to make it to finals, and the second goal is to get a personal record or even break the school record,” Sines said. “I think that a key to being successful at state i to believe in myself because I had to get through some good competition to make it. I am also going to stay calm, relax and enjoy the experience.”

Duttlinger is tied for the ninth seed in the long jump at 5.2 meters. She’s also seeded 22nd in the triple jump.

L-P's Elli Sines (center) competes in the 100 meter hurdles during the Class 2A girls track and field Sectional on Thursday, May 9, 2024 in Princeton.
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