Girls track and field: Area athletes hoping to bring home hardware

Plainfield South's Jahnel Bowman competing in the triple jump during the IHSA 3A Sectional track meet  on Wednesday, May. 08, 2024, at Minooka.

The girls state track and field meet takes place this weekend at O‘Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and the Herald-News area will be well represented.


Most of the area athletes will compete in Class 3A. According to the times or distances posted in the sectional, several area competitors will be in medal contention.

Plainfield South’s Jahnel Bowman, for example, is seeded second in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump heading into the weekend . Bowman also qualified in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, in which she is seeded seventh and fourth, respectively.

“Jahnel is going down in four individual events,” Plainfield South coach James O’Connell said. “She is currently ranked top 10 in all four of those events. She has a really good shot at winning multiple events downstate.”

Romeoville’s Tania Miller and Lincoln-Way East’s Kyra Hayden also qualified in four events. Miller qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays, while Hayden qualified in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles as well as the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays

“I think I can win the races at state,” said Miller, who is seeded fifth in the 100 and 13th in the 200. “I didn’t have the best seed in the sectional in the 100 and I won that. I’m excited to get down there and see what I can do.”

Lincoln-Way East’s Kyra Hayden took 4th and qualified for state in the Girls 100 Meter Hurdles at the Class 3A Lockport Sectionals on Friday, May 10, 2024 in Lockport.

Lockport’s Mckena Migliorini is the top seed in the pole vault, with Jaiden Knoop of Lincoln-Way East seeded third and Lincoln-Way Central’s Camryn Friedl seeded 11th. Lockport’s Ella Cline is seeded sixth in the long jump, while Lincoln-Way East’s Aria Henry is seeded 12th.

The area’s top qualifier in the high jump is Lincoln-Way Central freshman Nicole Demma, seeded 15th, while Lemont’s Ashley Wrublik is the top qualifier in the shot put, seeded sixth. Minooka’s Laila Richardson (6th) is the top qualifier in the discus.

The 4x800 relay promises to have a strong local flavor as Lincoln-Way Central is seeded second and Plainfield North third. Plainfield North is also seeded fourth in the 4x100 relay, while Plainfield East is 14th.

Marlie Czarnewski of Plainfield North is the top area qualifier in the 3,200-meter run as she is seeded 10th. Hayden is the top area qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles, seeded 23rd and in the 300-hurdles where she is seeded fourth.

“I prefer to run the 300 hurdles,” Hayden said. “The 110 is a lot about technique. The 300 has more room between the hurdles and gives you a little more freedom.”

Miller is the top qualifier in the 100, seeded sixth, while Taylor McClain of Plainfield North is seeded 16th, Courtney McDonald of Plainfield East is seeded 17th and Joliet West’s Jerie McClellan is seeded 18th. In the 800-meter run, Lincoln-Way Central’s Mia Forystek is the top area qualifer, seeded 14th, while Joliet West’s Janellisa Oceguera is seeded 17th.

In the 4x200 relay, Plainfield North has the top area entry, seeded fifth, while Joliet West is seeded 20th. Bowman is seeded fourth in the 400, while Lincoln-Way East freshman Alaina Steele is seeded eighth and Lockport’s Sydney Fontaine is seeded 12th. In the 1600-meter run, Plainfield North’s Kaitlyn Ward is the top area qualifier, seeded 17th.

Bowman is the top qualifier in the 200, seeded seventh, with Plainfield North’s Taylor McClain seeded ninth and Miller 13th. In the 4x400 relay, Plainfield North had the top area entry, seeded sixth, while Lincoln-Way East is seeded ninth and Minooka 11th.


In Class 2A, Joliet Catholic Academy saw Claire Blotnik (1600). Ella Heinen (800), Symone Holman (100, long jump) and the 4x800 relay of Mary Kate Moran, Jordan Reeves, Sophia Michelich and Annie Tibbott qualify for the state meet. Morris, meanwhile, qualified its 4x200 relay team of Gisselle Reyes, Ava Conley, Mackenzie Enger and Ella McDonnell qualify for the state meet.

“Symone is hoping to return to the long jump final this year and also has a chance to advance to the final in the 100,” JCA coach Rachel Reyes said. “Ella is returning in the 800 this year and hopes to run a personal best time. All of the girls have put in consistent hard work this season, and they’re excited to compete.”

For Coal City, Evelyn Wills qualified in the high jump, while Ella Wills qualified in the long jump and triple jump. Peotone’s Celeste Richards qualified in the 1,600, while Reed-Custer’s Alyssa Wollenzien qualified in the 110 hurdles. Providence Catholic’s Kathryn Flynn qualified in the pole vault.


Seneca took second in Class 1A last season, and the Fighting Irish will send a large contingent to try and bring home another trophy.

Leading the way for Seneca are Faith Baker (shot put, discus), Gabi Maxwell (shot put and discus), Teagan Johnson (pole vault), Addison Stiegler (pole vault), Lila Coleman (long jump), Cassidy Fosen (100), Natalie Misener (800), Evelyn O’Connor (1600), Lilly Pfeifer (100 hurdles), the 4x800 relay team of O’Connor, Clara Bruno, Misener and Gracie Steffes and the 4x400 relay team of O’Connor, Bruno, Misener and Coleman.

Seneca’s Faith Baker competing in the shot put during Thursday’s track and field sectional at Seneca.

““I’m really proud of our girls having another strong year after our strong finish last year coming in second at state,” Seneca coach Terry Maxwell said. “We lost some big pieces to the team from last year, but these girls have worked hard to keep the tradition of success going. While I don’t think we have enough to be in the mix for a team trophy this year, I think we have a chance to have a lot of girls back competing on Saturday. I know our girls will show up and compete well on Thursday.”

Qualifying for Dwight is Isabella Bunting in the shot put and Mikayla Chambers in the 200, 400 and 800, while Wilmington’s Brooklyn Flores qualified in the 1,600 and 3,200.