Girls Track and Field: Paced by Vanderbilt recruit Audrey Allman, Glenbard West takes sixth at Pariseau Invitational
By Kevin McGavin - Daily Herald Media Group
GLEN ELLYN – The resumption of the iconic Sue Pariseau Invitational did not disappoint Saturday afternoon in Glen Ellyn.
Fifty years after the landmark Title IX legislation created a new framework for girls sports, the 19-team track and field meet featured three of the last four Class 3A team state champions.
Lincoln-Way East, behind reigning sprint state champion Mariam Azeez claiming three individual titles, proved once again its bona fides as the defending team state champion scored 120.5 points to ease past 2018 state champion Naperville North (85).
Whitney Young, which tied Naperville North for third last June in Charleston, equaled its state finish behind its superlative sprinters.
Barrington, yet another former state champion, was fifth with 58 points, four points better than the 2017 state champion, host Glenbard West.
“The Sue P is a very special meet,” said Glenbard West senior and Vanderbilt-bound Audrey Allman, who cruised to victory in the 800-meter run.
Naperville North has had an unusual dynamic in its latest quest for more state hardware this spring.
Its best distance runner, USC-bound senior Lucy Westlake, graduated early and is literally climbing mountains in the Himalayas before departing for southern California.
Madeline Andelbradt, the Huskies’ first three-event all-stater, is on the shelf with a bum foot.
Emma Berres was instrumental to the Huskies’ razor-thin DuPage Valley Conference indoor championship over Naperville Central only to momentarily depart the team to play soccer.
But the Huskies’ prized freshman made her outdoor season debut a resounding success.
Berres, with teammate Jackie Liu placing second, dominated the open 1,600 run in 5 minutes, 13.98 seconds.
Berres also collaborated with Marissa Magana, Liu and Christine Gu as well as Liu, Ashley Kushner and Gu, the open 400 champion, to record bookend relay titles at 3,200 and 1,600 meters.
“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Berres said of choosing between soccer and track for her spring sport.
The DVC has a loophole that allows athletes to compete in two sports as long as their non-preferred sport — in Berres’ case track — is nonconference competition only.
“There was a little less competition than I expected,” Berres said of many quality distance runners electing to skip the Pariseau in favor of a selective distance invitational Saturday night in Palatine. “In the mile, I didn’t get the time I was expecting.”
The Huskies’ relay quartets won the first and last races of the day with respective times of 9:49.94 and 4:08.94.
“I was very happy with how I did today,” said Kushner, who gave Gu the lead for good with her third-leg performance in the final relay. “We were on the same page.”
“The 400 is my strongest race,” Gu said. “We got off to a very strong start [in the 3,200 relay]. We trusted our instincts for pacing.”
Naperville North senior long jumper Denise Hernandez is flirting with the program record as she settled for runner-up – to the monster 19-3 Azeem effort – at 17-11.5.
Allman and fellow returning all-state metric-mile relay member Carlin Hass swept the 800 as the Hilltoppers’ three-year standout was essentially making her outdoor debut after concentrating on a national schedule bridging the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“That’s a question my coaches and I are going to have to decide,” Allman said of her planned race sequence for the remainder of the season. “I probably won’t decide until the time [conference and the state series] comes around.”
Allman, who clocked a 2:18.12 in the 800, is also a serious state threat in the open 1,600 as well as potentially the 400.
Willowbrook freshman Morgen Turner was the only other local champion.
Improving her finest mark in the discus by 23 feet, Turner uncorked a winning throw of 118 feet, 4 inches.
“I didn’t think I was going to be [on] varsity and throwing this far,” the Warriors’ newcomer said. “My coach [Anthony Pennella] fixed some things and that helped me throw farther.”
Many of the top athletes for West Suburban Silver members York and Hinsdale Central elected to concentrate on Palatine.
But York 3,200 runner-up Katelyn Winton turned in a superlative 10:53.78 time.
Winton, one of the Dukes’ core members of their cross country state championship team, was denied by Barrington freshman sensation Scout Storms’ 10:41.97 performance in the longest race.
“It’s a big jump [from middle school],” said Storms, who also planned to compete in the metric mile at Palatine. “I wanted to get points for my team. I am just trying to improve my times. I felt pretty good through the mile [mark] but I need to come home a little better.”
The bright spot for Geneva was Bridget Hecker.
The Vikings’ freshman was the lone individual athlete to place after her runner-up performance to Gu in the 400.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Heckler, who ran a 60.93. “This is my first year in track. I thought it would be fun to try a new thing. I am trying to get to a 59 and get into state [automatically]. Today was one of those days that helped me.”