Track and field notes: York runners headed to Oregon Relays

13 Dukes to compete at prestigious Hayward Field in Eugene.

York seniors (from left to right) Lainey Paul, Maggie Owens, Katherine Klimek (back row) Margaret Maston, Emma Owens, Leila Arzon and Anna McGrail are going to the Oregon Relays.

For York senior Katherine Klimek, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happened again.

Klimek was among the York girls track and field athletes and three returnees who competed in the annual Oregon Relays on April 19 and 20 at the University of Oregon’s prestigious Hayward Field in Eugene.

“Going there as a sophomore, I didn’t know if it would be the last time I would ever run there. I was just trying to appreciate it. But I’ll be really happy to go there and compete again,” Klimek said before the Oregon Relays. “I’m looking forward to the whole experience. It’s a really good environment. It’s just beautiful and inspiring to run there.”

This year’s group was seniors Leila Arzon, Klimek, Margaret Maston, Anna McGrail, Emma Owens, Maggie Owens and Lainey Paul, juniors Mia Hanger, Scarlett Moriarity, Norah Peiffle, Sofia Stoddard and Adell Weseloh and sophomores Morgan Navarre and Sophia Galiano-Sanchez.

They competed in the distance medley, the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays and individually in the 100, 200, 400, 800, mile and high jump.

“One of my favorite memories is walking on the field for the first time and seeing how cool Hayward Field was and being there with all of my friends,” said Maggie Owens, who this time was joined by her twin sister. “Getting the experience was really cool because a lot of famous people have run there.”

In her 2022 debut, Paul laughed about assistant coach Niko Karavolos getting her in the top-seeded heat of the 200. Paul responded with a personal best.

“I was super stressed but it ended up being amazing,” Paul said. “[I learned] just to not overthink it and be too intimidated by the track itself. Take it all in and don’t stress about it too much like I did.”

This year, Paul was seventh in the 100 finals with a time of 12.47 seconds.

The 4x200 relay of Paul, Peiffle, Hanger and Navarre was fifth in 1:43.23.

The 4x800 relay of Klimek, McGrail, Maggie Owens and Galiano-Sanchez was fifth in 9:38.71.

Navarre was 12th in the 400 in 58.68.

Moriarity, Galiano-Sanchez, Klimek and Stoddard were 13th in the distance medley in 12:31.11.

Arzon was 16th in the high jump.

Ritter champions

Downers Grove North senior Sarah Paul competed in the 1,600 at last year’s annual home Bruce Ritter Invitational but was battling a fever.

“I dropped out at about 1,000 meters,” Paul said. “I thought I’d be able to muscle it out but I have asthma so when I get sick, my asthma gets a lot worse.”

In the April 12 race, Paul posted an outdoor-best 5:10.65 and was among five event champions who helped the Trojans win their 16-team invite for the first time since 2017.

Ava Gilley (800 in 2:14.97, No. 4 Illinois), Layla Williams (10.98m/36-0 in shot), the 4x800 (Hannah Renner, Pallavi Fisher, Helen Justice, Lily Eddington in 9:38.52, No. 6 Illinois) and the 4x400 (Renner, Gilley, Sydney Hnatiuk, Emily Wittmer in 4:03.05, No. 6 Illinois) also were first for Downers Grove North.

Paul finished strong with a winning time second only to the 5:07.89 that won the indoor West Suburban Silver Meet.

“I had a lot left but I got first and did what I needed to do for the meet and I’m hoping it’ll build me up,” Paul said.

Gilley followed her 800 victory with a personal-best 57.9 split in the 4x400.

At the indoor Silver Meet, Gilley’s all-time 800 best of 2:13.12 broke the indoor school record and the 2:13.64 meet record by Glenbard West multiple state champion Katelynne Hart.

“Finding out I broke [Hart’s record] was kind of a surprise and just a really cool thing,” Gilley said. “I’m just really looking forward to the end of the season and what our whole team can do.”

State leaders

The St. Francis girls 4x800 relay of sophomore Margaret Andrzejewski and freshmen Erin Hinsdale, Elena Mamminga and Allie Sheldon posted the fastest time in 2A and No. 10 for Illinois (9:44.95) in winning Hinsdale Central’s Devilette Invite.

“I knew we had a really good team because we did really well in cross country but it was so much fun to see it realized,” Andrzejewski said.

In the 1,600, Andrzejewski (5:17.45) and Hinsdale (5:18.13) finished 1-2 with the No. 6 and 9 times for 2A. At 2A state cross country Nov. 4, 2023, Mamminga (26th) and Hinsdale (27th) just missed top-25, all-state honors.

“It was really disappointing but I’m really excited for next year and this track season, too,” Hinsdale said.

Senior Abbie Sheldon hopes to return to state in discus after a personal-best 34.95 meters/114 feet, 8 inches April 6 (No. 11 in 2A). At state, all three throws were out of bounds to the right.

“I just really overhyped myself, made myself really anxious,” Sheldon said. “I was just going for the mark. This time I’m going for the experience of competing.”

Fast relays

York’s 4x100 (42.33) shares the state’s No. 1 boys time with Kenwood.

Downers Grove North’s 4x200 time of 1:28.41 is No. 2 in the state.