Track and field notes: Willowbrook’s Evan Weder has high hopes in the high jump

Warriors’ senior aiming to become program’s third All-Stater in event, eyeing outdoor record

Willowbrook senior Evan Weder

Willowbrook senior Evan Weder had quite an encounter with high jump history while winning Glenbard South’s Raider Invite on April 19.

Weder was talking with the event clerk, who was Andy Preuss, the retired longtime Glenbard South boys track and field and cross country coach and a Willowbrook graduate. Preuss still holds the Warriors’ indoor high jump school record of 6 feet, 7 1/2 inches from 1975, when he finished second in Class AA.

“I’ve seen [his name] on I didn’t know it was him,” Weder said. “He came up to me and told me he went to Willowbrook and asked how my season was going. He was kind of helping me out, too, giving me tips.”

Weder wants to become the Warriors’ third top-nine all-stater in the event, especially after clearing a personal-best 2.0 meters/6 feet, 7 inches April 16 at Willowbrook that shares the No. 3 ranking in Illinois this outdoor season. The 6-foot-6 Marshall recruit is going after the 6-8 1/2 outdoor school record by Kurt Keppner, who was fifth in AA in 1980.

“I’m feeling good. I want to try and win state,” said Weder, who went 6-6 3/4 at the DuPage County Meet.

Weder truly is feeling good – and healthy.

Last season, he was hampered by patellar tendinitis in his take-off left knee. He tried sectionals but no-heighted. This season, he’s been proactive.

“I’ve definitely been jumping higher, but I think I’ve just improved in every aspect of being a student-athlete,” Weder said. “Going to the trainer every day, icing after practice. Any time there’s a little bit of pain, just going to the trainer and doing rehab for it.”

Three days before his 6-7, Weder no-heighted at West Aurora’s John Bell Invite.

“I was trying kind of a new approach and it didn’t work that well,” Weder said. “I was pretty upset about it so I think that helped me be aggressive and really want to get that bar.”

Four straight for Trojans

The Downers Grove North girls climaxed a record-setting West Suburban Conference Silver Meet at Proviso East by capturing their fourth straight title (154 points). It’s the second-longest streak in the conference’s 51–year history to Hinsdale Central’s five straight from 2006 to its 2010 state championship season.

Three-time state qualifier Emily Wittmer, Amelia Hansen, Sydney Hnatiuk and Allie Steiner have been on all four championship lineups for Downers Grove North.

“It’s a really fun, exciting feeling to be part of that and contribute to those titles as well. It’s an exciting vibe,” said Hnatiuk, who anchored the second-place 4x400-meter relay (4:02.14) and beat the state cut in the 800 (4th, personal-record 2:16.48). “I’ve PRed every meet this year. It’s really exciting to get better and better as we go on.”

In the 4x800, Downers North seniors Sarah Paul and Pallavi Fisher and juniors Ava Gilley and Hannah Renner ran the state’s No. 1 outdoor time and a Silver Meet and school-record 9:05.47.

York senior Lainey Paul, sophomore Morgan Navarre and juniors Norah Peiffle and Mia Hanger won the 4x100 with a Silver Meet and school-record 47.90 (No. 9 Illinois). Paul also won the 100 and 200.

Blistering 4x800 times were achieved by Glenbard West’s Alexa Novak, Moira Ahern, Elayna Boeh and Mackenzie Gilbert (9:20.51, No. 2 Illinois), York’s fourth-place Maggie Owens, Scarlett Moriarity, Natalie Haske and Gianna Hill (9:27.33, No. 6) and Lyons’ fifth-place Anna Bylsma, Shannon Cranny, Madison Findley and Kristina Findley (9:32.52, No. 9). In the 3,200, Downers North’s Audrey Casten (10:50.75, No. 5), York’s Anna McGrail (10:52.20, No. 7) and Downers North’s McKenzie Willard (10:59.51) broke 11:00. Downers North’s Lily Eddington (2:14.71, No. 8) and Hinsdale Central’s Lily Hodneland (2:14.75, No. 9) were 1-2 in the 800.

More conference champions

Downers Grove South continued its streak of West Suburban Gold titles that started in 2005. Earning three titles were seniors Mariah Gonzalez (100) and Klaudia Sztafa (200), who also were part of the victorious 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Senior Sophie Ring (800, 1,600) and sophomore Karen Boakye (triple and long jump) won twice.

Benet captured a sixth straight East Suburban Catholic title. Junior Delilah Helenhouse (3,200 and 1,600) and sophomore Gabrielle Brown (100 hurdles and 300 hurdles) each won two events. Helenhouse won in 11:04.85 and 5:11.95. Her bests are 10:54.13 April 6 (No. 8 Illinois) and sub-5:07 April 24.

“I’m excited [for state],” Helenhouse said. “I feel like the 3,200 is more my thing but I do like [the 1,600].”

Glenbard East defended its Upstate Eight championship with titles from junior Mackenzie Fodrey (triple jump) and the 4x400.

Wheaton Academy captured the first Chicagoland Christian Meet. Junior Madi Jenkins swept the 100 and 200.

Riverside-Brookfield won its Metro Suburban finale. Two-event champions were senior Jenny Thomas (triple jump and pole vault) and junior Gianna Gelb (1,600) and sophomore Addie Vaia (800), who were both on the 4x800 relay. The Bulldogs join the Upstate Eight in 2025.

Record relay

At the Girls Catholic Conference meet, the St. Francis 4x800 relay of sophomore Margaret Andrzejewski and freshmen Elena Mamminga, Erin Hinsdale and Allie Sheldon.posted the state’s No. 1 time for 2A (9:33.70) and broke conference meet and school records of 9:40.