RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton’s Angelina Gersch had a simple goal for her senior season after just missing qualifying for the state meet in the triple jump last season.
Qualify for the meet during her senior season.
But once the season started, her goal evolved. She started competing in the long jump as well, so she decided her new goal was to qualify in both of those events.
Gersch exceeded her expectations at the Class 2A Richmond-Burton Sectional on Wednesday, qualifying for the state meet in the triple jump, long jump and the 300-meter hurdles, breaking program records in each event.
“Just to have more opportunities this year to make it is crazy to me because I didn’t think it was possible after sectionals [last year],” Gersch said. “I’m just super excited to go down to state this year and have the opportunity to do more than one event.”
Lakes won the 13-team team sectional with 132.5 points while Carmel finished second with 70 and R-B earned third at 64. Johnsburg (46.5) took fourth, Woodstock (43.5) placed sixth, St. Viator (30) earned eighth, Woodstock North (29) placed ninth, Marian Central (18) took 10th, Marengo (17) was 11th and Harvard (16.5) finished 12th. The top-two finishers in each event automatically qualified for the Class 2A state meet that will take place May 18-20 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston while other participants could qualify if they met the state-meet standard.
Gersch won the triple jump (11.13 meters) and the long jump (5.32) and placed third in the 300-meter hurdles (47.07 seconds) to lead the Rockets with three qualifications. Jasmine McCaskel won the 400 in 1:00.65, while Alexia Spatz also qualified in the 3,200 in 11:37.98.
Richmond-Burton’s Jasmine McCaskel wins the 400 meter. pic.twitter.com/gaMWgpv1JT— Michal Dwojak (@mdwojak94) May 10, 2023
Gersch said she’s been motivated all season with trying to not only qualify for the state meet but also with trying to make program history. After reaching beyond her goals Wednesday, she’s excited to see what she can do in her final high school meet.
“It’s crazy because I know there’s just so much more to come,” Gersch said. “I just started getting my head into it and putting all the work and proper training I needed to do to get here. I just know I have so much in me that I haven’t shown yet.”
Johnsburg’s Caityln Casella didn’t feel like she ran the 200 well all season, but Wednesday she ran her personal best in order to finish first and qualify for state.
“It’s really emotional,” Casella said. “I was very happy.”
Casella will return to state after qualifying last season. She won the 200 in 25.94 and took second in the 100, finishing at 12.79. She also was part of the 4x100 relay team of Natalie Burke, Lila Duck and Hope Klosowicz who finished second in 51.01 to qualify for state. Natlie Burke finished second in the triple jump (10.86).
Having her teammates at state will be important for Casella.
“It means so much, especially our relay,” Casella said. “We knew we had some shot but to do it with my relays it’s going to be amazing and put me in a good headspace, have fun.”
Johnsburg’s Caitlyn Casella wins the 200 meter. pic.twitter.com/asnzNpo8Dr— Michal Dwojak (@mdwojak94) May 11, 2023
Woodstock’s Hallie Steponaitis changed up her approach this year after qualifying for the state meet her first two high school seasons. She decided to have more fun and relax during her junior season and her new approach paid off when she won the high jump at 1.59 meters.
Blue Streaks teammates Amina Idris and Keira Bogott will each join Steponaitis in Charleston. Idris took second in the 300 hurdles (46.97) and Bogott finished fourth in the 800 2:24.47.
Steponaitis hopes her new approach will help her cap off a strong season.
“I think it’s definitely cool,” Steponaitis said. “I get to hopefully do better than last season. This season already has been so much fun, and I’ve improved so much already. I’m excited to get down there.”
Lakes showed off its depth Wednesday by winning three relays and placing in many events. Paige-Elicia Caruth won the 3,200 (11:29.28) while Lakes earned second-place finishers from Joycelyn Crum in the 100-meter hurdles (15.71), Becca Runyan in the 800 (2:22.90), Madison Twarling in the 1,600 (5:26.92,) Makayla Williams in the 200 (26.66) and Josie Gates in the pole vault (3.58).
“Just to have more opportunities this year to make it is crazy to me because I didn’t think it was possible after sectional [last year]. I’m just super excited to go down to state this year and have the opportunity to do more than one event.”— Angelina Gersch, Richmond-Burton senior
Maidson Perez took third in the 800, Jillian Ellenwood placed fourth in the triple jump while the 4x800 relay team of Twarling, Becca, Brianna Gara and Perez won at 10:00.19, the 4x200 relay team of Shelby Stall, Makayla Williams, Joycelyn Crum and Diksha Guganathan won at 1:45 and the 4x400 relay team of Stall, Guganathan, Runyan and Perez took the race at 4:10.77.
St. Viator’s Emmi Scales won the 100, 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Carmel’s Izzy Bing won the 1,600 and took second in the 3,200. Paulina Sroka won the discus and the 4x200 relay teams of Ella Dicarra, Nora Christensen, Abby Hartzer and Natalie Ferguson and 4x400 team of Ashlyn Beattie, Christensen, Angela Coe and Hartzer each placed second.
Marengo’s Michaela Almeida will return to the state meet after placing second in the high jump while Woodstock North’s Ashley Janeczko placed second in the discus (30.47 meters) and the shot put (10.57).
Marian’s Amelia Reiche had one number in mind: 5.15. She hadn’t reached 5.15 meters all season in the long jump, but at sectionals, she finally hit the mark in order to go down to state.
“I was just so excited and so grateful because I worked so hard all summer just to get down to state this year,” Reiche said. “I’m just so excited.”
Class 2A Richmond-Burton Sectional (top-two automatically qualify for state meet)
4x800 (State qualifier: 10:13.76)
- Madison Twarling, Becca Runyan, Brianna Gara, Madison Perez, Lakes - 10:00.19
- Olivia Mauer, Charlotte Kroll, Nora McCabe, Chloe Thiel, Regina Dominican - 10:07.87
4x100 (State qualifier: 50.59)
- Sara Byrne, Haneefa Adam, Tiffany Richards, Kendall Williams, Regina Dominican - 50.04
- Natalie Burke, Lila Duck, Hope Klosowicz, Caitlyn Casella, Johnsburg - 51.01
3,200 meters (State qualifier: 11:47.44)
- Paige-Elicia Caruth, Lakes - 11:29.28
- Izzy Bing, Carmel - 11:33.99
- Alexia Spatz, Richmond-Burton - 11:37.98
100-meter hurdles (State qualifier: 16.48)
- Emmi Scales, St. Viator - 14.29
- Joycelyn Crum, Lakes - 15.71
- Tessa Myatt, Northside - 15.80
100 meters (State qualifier: 12.70)
- Emmi Scales, St. Viator - 12.25
- Caitlyn Casella, Johnsburg - 12.79
800 meters (State qualifier: 2:25.63)
- Lulu Ton-That, Northside - 2:20.07
- Becca Runyan, Lakes - 2:22.90
- Maidson Perez, Lakes - 2:23.71
- Keira Bogott, Woodstock - 2:24.47
4x200 (State qualifier: 1:48.52)
- Shelby Stall, Makayla Williams, Joycelyn Crum, Diksha Guganathan, Lakes - 1:45.43
- Ella Dicarra, Nora Christensen, Abby Hartzer, Natalie Ferguson, Carmel - 1:48.94
400 meters (State qualifier: 1:00.71)
- Jasmine McCaskel, Richmond-Burton - 1:00.65
- Zuzana Bielek, Northside - 1:01.44
300-meter hurdles (State qualifier: 48.55)
- Emmi Scales, St. Viator - 43.23
- Amina Idris, Woodstock - 46.97
- Angelina Gersch, Richmond-Burton - 47.07
1,600 meters (State qualifier: 5:26.27)
- Izzy Bing, Carmel - 5:24.46
- Madison Twarling, Lakes - 5:26.92
200 meters (State qualifier: 26.29)
- Caitlyn Casella, Johnsburg - 25.94
- Makayla Williams, Lakes - 26.66
4x400 (State qualifier: 4:13.85)
- Shelby Stall, Diksha Guganathan, Becca Runyan, Madison Perez, Lakes - 4:10.77
- Ashlyn Beattie, Nora Christensen, Angela Coe, Abby Hartzer, Carmel - 4:11.53
- Zuzana Bielak, Tessa Myatt, Leah Runyan, Lulu Ton-Than, Northside - 4:12.09
Long Jump (State qualifier: 5.15 meters)
- Angelina Gersch, Richmond-Burton - 5.32 m
- Natalie Ferguson, Carmel - 5.15 m
- Amelia Reiche, Marian Central - 5.15 m
Pole Vault (State qualifier: 2.97 m)
- Joycelyn Crum, Lakes - 3.58 m
- Josie Gates, Lakes - 3.58 m
High Jump (State qualifier: 1.54 m)
- Hallie Steponaitis, Woodstock - 1.59 m
- Michaela Almeida, Marengo - 1.54 m
Shot Put (State qualifier: 10.79 m)
- Tessa Myatt, Northside - 10.88 m
- Ashley Janeczko, Woodstock North - 10.57 m
Triple Jump (State qualifier: 10.56 m)
- Angelina Gersch, Richmond-Burton - 11.13 m
- Natalie Burke, Johnsburg - 10.86 m
- Naneefa Adam, Regina Dominican - 10.79 m
- Jillian Ellenwood, Lakes - 10.64 m
Discus Throw (State qualifier: 33.83 m)
- Paulina Sroka, Carmel - 31.34 m
- Ashley Janeczko, Woodstock North - 30.47