Girls track: Fulton runs away with title at 1A Bureau Valley Sectional

Newman, Erie-Prophetstown, Bureau Valley, Amboy sends multiple athletes to state

Fulton's Emery Wherry does the triple jump during the Class 1A Sectional meet on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at Bureau Valley High School.

MANLIUS – Fulton junior Emery Wherry said she can’t explain it, but she’s made a huge leap forward during this track and field season.

Boy, did it show when it mattered most.

Wherry had personal records in three events to qualify for the Class 1A State Meet in all three from Wednesday’s Class 1A Girls Track and Field Bureau Valley Sectional Meet.

Wherry won the triple jump with a leap of 10.47 meters and placed second in the 100-meter hurdles (16.05 seconds) and 300 hurdles (48.51).

“I am so excited,” Wherry said. “This is brand new. Usually, I got in as an alternate, so being in my own events is extremely exciting, and I am really proud of myself and how far I’ve come. I’ve had a big-old takeoff. Last year, I was not nearly as good.”

Wherry called her win in the triple jump “shocking and exciting” but credited a strong second phase for her PR jump.

“I would say my second phase for sure [was key], because before I would always be super choppy with it and everyone would always tell me and I just couldn’t fix it for some reason, even though I knew if my head I had to,” Wherry said. “But today I just really focused on striding, and it really helped me.”

Behind Wherry and eight other state qualifiers, the Steamers ran away with the team title with 126 points to outdistance second-place Bureau Valley (88.5).

“It’s so exciting,” Wherry said. “I’m just super proud of my team and how far we’ve come and how we’ve all improved. We’ve all improved so much.”

Paige Cramer won the long jump (5.33) and teammate Miraya Pessman was runner-up (5.26). Kylie Smither qualified by finishing second in the discus (31.39) and third in the shot put (10.97), and Brooklyn Thoms placed third in the 100 (12.72). Cramer, Pessman, Smither, in the discus, and Thoms all recorded PRs.

The Steamers also are sending all four relays to state as they won the 4x200 (1:47.53) and placed second in the 4x100 (51.05), 4x400 (4:14.99) and 4x800 (10:31.67).

Thoms and Pessman ran on the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays.

The Storm qualified three relays for state.

The foursome of Connie Gibson, Taylor Neuhalfen, Kate Salisbury and McKinley Canady won a strong field in the 4x100 (50.58) that saw six teams advance and placed second in the 4x200 (1:49.23).

“It’s amazing,” said Canady, a first-year track runner as a junior. “I love my relays. They’re really great.”

Canady anchored both sprint relays.

“I could see in the corner of my eye that Fulton was struggling with the handoff, so I just knew I had to push for the last straightaway,” Canady said. “I could tell that we had it at that point.”

Salisbury, Cady, Gibson and Emma Mussche just snuck in in the 4x400 as they placed third in 4:19.66, beating the state-qualifying standard of 4:19.68.

Bureau Valley sophomore Maddie Wetzell pulled off the distance double with titles in the 3,200 (12:43.11) and 1,600 (5:47.26).

“I’ve been working all season for this, so it’s nice to see everything pay off in the end,” Wetzell said.

While Wetzell cruised to a 17-second victory in the 3,200, the 1,600 was more of a battle.

She was just behind Riverdale’s Jillian Murray when the bell rang signifying the final lap, and she still trailed on the back straightaway before overtaking Ostrowski on the final curve and winning by 3.5 seconds.

“I was thinking, I don’t want to lose,” Wetzell said. “I’m a very competitive person. I heard my coaches and people cheering for me saying I had to go. I really wanted it, so I had to fight for what I wanted.

“[When I passed her] I was just thinking, ‘You have to go.’ I didn’t know how close she was behind me. I couldn’t really hear anything. I just wanted to cross that finish line.”

Teammate Addie Wessel joins Wetzell as a double state qualifier as she beat the mark in the 100 hurdles (16.65) and 300 hurdles (49.07), while Lynzie Cady leapt 5.01 to be one of five qualifiers in the long jump.

Newman's Kennedy Rowzee throws shot put during the Class 1A Sectional meet on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at Bureau Valley High School.

Newman had three qualifiers in Elaina Allen, Kennedy Rowzee and Ella Ford.

Allen ran a PR 12.56 in the 100 to edge Henry-Midland’s Daniella Bumber (12.57). She later finished just behind Bumber in the 200 (26.03).

“As a freshman, it feels amazing,” Allen said. “I really liked how that (100) race ended up. I felt like I got out good. I may have slowed a little bit in the middle, but I came back and won it.

“I’m proud of [the 200]. I had a PR. I think I ran my best, and I’m happy with the outcome.”

Rowzee placed second in the shot put with a toss of 11.01, while Ford took third in the high jump by clearing 1.53.

Erie-Prophetstown had a strong night in the field events.

The Panthers swept the throws with Claire Reymer winning the discus (33.86) and Kennedy Buck claiming the shot put (11.13).

“It feels really good,” Reymer said. “I missed [state] the past two years just by a little bit, so I just felt real good making it. We threw here two years ago and I didn’t have good memories here. I decided I had to make some better memories. I just wanted to have good memories leaving BV for the last time.

“I knew I was ranked first and had a high chance of going, so I just told myself to go out there and just grip it and rip it. That’s been my motto this whole season.”

E-P had a pair of qualifiers in the pole vault as Olivia Purvis took third (2.92) and Gracelyn Abell was fourth (2.77).

Sarah Link placed second in the 800 (2:31.25) and anchored the Panthers’ 4x800 relay to a third-place finish in a state-qualifying 10:34.97.

The Amboy co-op also had multiple qualifiers in Elly Jones in the 100 hurdles (third, 16.56) and triple jump (third, 10.33), Bella Yanos in the long jump (fifth, 5) and Jillian Anderson in the high jump (second, 1.53), along with the Clippers’ 4x100 relay (sixth, 52.05) which included Jones and Yanos.

Erie-Prophetstown's Sarah Link competes in the 800 meter race during the Class 1A Sectional meet on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at Bureau Valley High School.
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