ASSUMPTION — Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond's Kenli Nettles qualified for state in all four her events, while St. Teresa won the Illinois High School Class 1A girls' sectional Thursday with 106 points. Shelbyville placed second with 76 points.
The top two in each event plus ones that equaled or surpassed the qualifying times or distances advanced to the state finals set for May 16 at Eastern Illinois Universities O'Brien Field.
St. Teresa won its fifth consecutive Class 1A girls' track sectional. DaeLin Switzer qualified in the 200, high jump, 100 and 300 hurdles. Noelle DeJaynes is going in both the shot put and discus.
"I thought we had some great performances even from kids that are not going to state," said St. Teresa coach Todd Vohland. "Paige Ford finished fourth in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 100 hurdles. So those were big. Julie Whitney was fifth in the pole vault and it was the first year for her vaulting. Marie Delaney got a P.R. and placed sixth in the shot put. We were picking up points here and there. it takes everybody. All of those points add up. I am really happy for those kids because they are not going to state, but we need everybody. That is the exciting thing about winning is that it is a team thing."
Nettles won the high jump at 5-6, which was her best outside this year. She also won the 100 and 300 hurdles in highly competitive races with times of 14.56 and 44.08. She wrapped up her day with a 200 time of 25.98. in another close victory over St. Teresa's DaeLin Switzer, who was also in the same events.
Nettles made 5-2 and 5-4 on her first attempt. On her first attempt at 5-6 she didn't attempt the jump as she realized she was too close to the bar.
"When I normally jump I turn my foot outwards too soon," said Nettles, a junior. "I was already backwards to the bar so I think I was focused too much on that instead of the jump. It was raining hard in the middle of my warmups but had stopped when I jumped. I used to prefer jumping in the rain when I was in junior high. It was kind of relaxing. The mat was really wet and didn't feel like a normal mat. I think since it was wet it was really rough and so my knees and shoulders are all scratched up."
It is the first time Nettles had gone 5-6 since indoor track.
"It is exciting and I am glad I am over my slump. I just have to keep my head back longer and arch my back a little longer, but those are easy, fixable things and I will work on it this upcoming week and be ready for state," she said.
Nettles won the 100 hurdles in a race that featured two other state qualifiers in Northern Illinois bound-Switzer and Meridian's Chloe Moyer. Nettles won by .45 over Switzer.
"I felt really fast," said Nettles. "I had not run against Moyer, but had against Switzer before. They pushed me a lot. I want to go to state with the No. 1 seeded time and having both of them beside me really pushed me."
Nettles and Switzer were even coming down to the final two hurdles when Nettles pulled ahead and won by .42 over Switzer. In the 200 Switzer led with 50 meters to go when Nettles made one last surge and won by just .06.
Shelbyville freshman Gabrielle Spain qualified for state in all four of her events and junior Ailey Mitchell is going in all three of her events. Spain won the pole vault at 9-6, won the 800 with a time of 2:26.08, which was nearly three seconds ahead of the second place finisher and was second in the 1,600 with a time of 5;42.17.
Mitchell won the 1,600 with a time of 5;29.94 and took first in the 3,200 with a time of 11:24.12, winning the eight-lap event by 1:08.33. Both Spain and Mitchell were on the 4x800 relay that qualified with a time of 10:27.97 on a cool and damp day. They won by 15.14 seconds. Other members of the relay were Elizabeth Bowyer and Rachel Throneburg.
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"I am really excited to be going to state as a senior," said Bower, who ran the third leg. "I got the baton with us in the lead and I just wanted to stay in the lead. That is what pushed me."
Mitchell said of the 4x800: "I felt pretty good. I wanted to get my team as big of a lead as possible so we would have a good chance to go to state"
Last year Mitchell was in the state in the 1,600 and this is the third straight year she has qualified.
"In the 3,200 I felt pretty good," said Mitchell. "I wasn't really trying to kill it I just wanted to make it to the fast heat at state and in the 1,600 I was just trying to stay ahead of the qualifying time (5:34.99). I didn't' want to push it too hard. I had only been to state in one event before. I am looking forward to it and I think I can do pretty well."
The second place finish was one of the better ones by the Lady Rams in recent years.
"I like to help my team get to great things and I am proud of everyone one," said Mitchell.
Spain sad the pole vault warmed up twice due to the rain and began in the rain.
"I didn't start until 9-0 so I avoided the rain," said Spain. "I have been working all season in pole vault and sometimes it is hard to balance it between the running events. It is great to have Carson Beyers (finished third and qualified for state at 9-0) with me."
As for the 800, Spain said, "I felt good. The wind was rough at some points,but I don't think it affected me that much. I try and get out as fast as I can and to get the lead and then try and maintain it. On the last lap, I try and kick int he last 200 if I have anything left.I wish we had better weather, but I was happy with my time."
Sullivan's Esther Miller was second in the triple jump at 34-9 1/2 and qualified for state. She was also second in the 400 and is going in the 4x400, which also placed second with a time of 4:25.43.
Miller made the finals in the triple jump by going 33-7 1/2 on her second attempt. In the fiinals, it was her first attempt that got her into state as she beat the qualifying distance of 33-9 by going 34-4
"My goal the entire season has been to get 35-3 1/2, the school record," said Miller. "So I was just trying to that on my last two jumps."
Miller scratched her second jump before unleashing a 34-9 1/2.
"I don't think I had warmed up as much before the prelims as I had gone to Minnesota last weekend for a wedding and was in a car for 24 hours. My legs were stiff and I just tried to stretch them out more before the finals."