Track and field notes: After state basketball run, Hinsdale South’s Amerie Flowers set for state track debut

Flowers qualifies for first state track meet with lifetime-best shot put

Hinsdale South senior Amerie Flowers

Hinsdale South senior Amerie “Mimi” Flowers had a memorable state ride during girls basketball with the Class 3A fourth-place finisher.

At the Class 3A Downers Grove North Sectional Friday, Flowers qualified for her first track and field state meet in shot put with a second-place, lifetime-best 11.62 meters/38 feet-1 1/2 inches. Flowers entered never throwing further than 36-0, 10 inches from the state-qualifying standard.

“(Basketball) was the best season any senior could ask for, and now to qualify again for track, it’s just amazing,” Flowers said.

Flowers officially qualified with her second throw in prelims (11.25m/36-11), the second-place tiebreaker over Downers North sophomore Layla Williams’ personal best.

“Even (head coach Michele Koehler) came over and said, ‘You’re not done yet,’ and I also knew. And at state, I plan to throw even further,” Flowers said.

At Lake Park, Wheaton Warrenville South senior Jenna Bachara’s fourth-place, lifetime-best 2:18.99 in the 800-meter run (2:20.60 qualifying standard) earned her first state trip.

“I knew it was something within my reach and with the help of my teammates and (coach Rob Harvey) it happened and it was really amazing for it to come to life,” said Bachara, who ran 2:19.71 at the DuKane Conference Meet. “I’ve had all of the tools to get there, but I’ve felt like my mentality really held me back. I finally was able to get to the right place mentally (this season) to get it done.”

At the 2A Carmel Sectional, Wheaton Academy senior Quynh Sedlacek gained her first state berth in pole vault by equaling her school-record 10-3, the 3A qualifying standard.

In 1A, Timothy Christian sophomore Ella Potoshnick needed 12:26.55 at Seneca to reach state in the 3,200. She ran 12:24.62 – a personal best by 14.22 seconds – as the race’s seventh qualifier. Potoshnick was injured during cross country.

“I knew that it would be a stretch to qualify but not impossible,” Potoshnick responded. “I thought I could keep improving, so I had a positive mindset. The quality of the competition helped me.”

Sectional standouts

Downers North’s 4x800 relay of seniors Sarah Paul and Sydney Hnatiuk, junior Alayna Todnem and sophomore Lily Eddington (9:15.60) ran the state’s fastest 3A sectional time at the Downers North Sectional Friday. The Trojans’ school-record 9:05.47 May 3 is the state’s fastest. Wheaton North freshman Sophia Dalrymple shares the fastest 3A 300 low hurdles time (44.65 Friday).

Class 2A sectional bests came from Montini’s 4x200 (Sofia Fisher, Keisha Berry, Camryn Amouzou and Julia Gergen in school-record 47.62) and the St. Francis 4x800 (Allie Sheldon, Elena Mamminga, Margaret Andrzejewski, Erin Hinsdale in 9:38.60) May 8. Berry (100 in 12.64) and Fisher (200 in 25.59) also achieved school records. The Spartans ran a school-record and 2A-best 9:33.70 May 4.

Silver standouts

Hinsdale Central senior Aden Bandukwala (4:06.62) -- the 2023 3A state champion in 4:10.39 -- Downers Grove North senior Ryan Eddington (4:08.83) and York senior Brady Golomb (4:12.71) ran the state’s No. 1, 3 and 7 fastest 1,600 times at the boys West Suburban Conference Silver Meet Friday.

“It was one of the most run races in my life,” Bandukwala said. “That being said, I’m not getting too high because the season isn’t over yet.”

Bandukwala broke Eddington’s 4:07.91 meet record from 2023. “I would say that’s definitely one of the top three track races I’ve been involved in,” said Eddington, second at state last year in the 800 (1:52.84). “Records are meant to be broken. I’m just glad to be a part of the race. Aden’s really deserving because he ran a crazy race.”

Second-place Glenbard West again won the 4x800 with seniors Anthony Nitti, Tim Meehan and Chuck Halden and junior Graham Faris in 7:53.24 (No. 5 Illinois). Nitti also was part of the winning 4x400. Senior Luke Benson’s winning 6-6 3/4 high jump is a school record.

Big hurdles

Wheaton Warrenville South junior Amari Williams swept the 300 intermediate hurdles (season-best 38.34) and 110 high hurdles (lifetime-best 15.15) at the DuKane Conference Meet Friday. Last year, Williams was ninth at state in the 300 hurdles (41.76) after a lifetime-best 38.28 in prelims, the program’s No. 2 time. He’s now No. 3 in the 110s.

“That was one of my goals, leaving South with breaking one of those (hurdles) records,” Williams said.

Jon Schweighardt owns both records (14.32 and 36.77) when he won both events and the Tigers captured the 1999 Class AA state title. The 36.77 remains the IHSA state finals record. Senior Dai’jon Riley (100) and junior Jacob Brocious (200) were individual DKC winners and on the first-place 4x100 and 4x200 with senior Ethan Campbell.

More conference highlights

The Glenbard South boys won the Upstate Eight title as seniors Tim Jochum (800, 4x400 and 4x800), Harper Bryan (110 and 300 hurdles, 4x100) Jaden Frederick (3,200 and 1,600) had multiple titles. Sophomore pole vault champion Kyle Quaid-Bowman set the all-time school record with 15-0.

Downers Grove South made it three straight West Suburban Gold championships. Multiple winners were Hinsdale South junior Amari Alexander (100, 200 and 4x200) and Morton sophomore Alex Rodriguez (1,600 and 3,200), senior Daniel Ariaga (800) and junior Christian Valadez (400), all part of the winning 4x400.

Riverside-Brookfield won a fourth straight Metro Suburban Conference championship. R-B seniors Will Kallas (800 and 4x400 and pole vault), Luke Smithing (110 and 300 hurdles) and Jack O’Brien (1,600 and 4x800) and Westmont senior Abe Johnson (triple, long and high jump) were multiple event champions.

St. Francis sophomore Gavin Mueller (shot put, discus), Benet junior Griffin Schneid (800, 4x800) and Lemont senior Quinton Peterson (110 and 300 hurdles) won twice at the Chicago Catholic, East Suburban Catholic and South Suburban meets, respectively.

At the first Chicagoland Christian Conference Meet, Wheaton Academy senior Canyon Roberts won all four of his events (110 and 300 hurdles, discus, pole vault). Junior Emery Eckert swept the 100 and 200.