After Briana Driver anchored Mother McAuley’s 800-meter relay to first place, a Thornton runner asked Driver who she was and where she came from.
Driver, a Class 3A sectional champion last year in the long jump, likely won’t be anonymous to her competition much longer.
Besides running the final leg of the 800 relay, Driver won the long jump and anchored McAuley’s second-place 1,600 relay Thursday night at the Sandburg Invitational.
As expected, defending 3A state champion Lincoln-Way East easily won the 11-team meet. The Griffins scored 160 points to outdistance Thornton (75), McAuley (62) and the host Eagles (54).
Driver, a junior, leaped 16 feet, 10½ inches to win the long jump. Her personal best is 18-1½ at the April 12 Lincoln-Way Central Invitational.
Driver teamed with Raquel Funches, Rachel Brooks and Jasmine Jones on Thursday to win the 800 relay (1 minute, 45.26 seconds). The same foursome took second to Lincoln-Way East in the 1,600 relay.
“I feel I’m a strong track athlete,’’ Driver said when asked to describe her strength on the track. “I’m not really good at my finishing, but I start off well and I just push through it to the end.’’
McAuley finished an impressive second last week to Shepard in the 16-team Hillcrest Lady Hawk Classic that included Crete-Monee and Bloom.
“Since we got new coaches and we keep getting more runners, we’re bringing McAuley up in track,’’ Driver said. “We’re getting more noticeable and trying to go to more meets this year.’’
Lincoln-Way East senior Meghan Marias, a Michigan recruit, led off the first-place 400 relay (48.66) of Dana O’Grady, Alexis Pierre-Antoinne and Alexis Hyshaw to get the Griffins rolling on the track.
Marias added wins in the 100 meters (11.53) and 200 (24.88), a reminder that the Griffins are loaded with elite sprinters.
“We want to do it again,’’ Marias said of winning another state title. “I think we can do it. We all have our mindset on that, the same goal in mind.’’
East winners also included Pierre-Antoinne in the 100 hurdles (15.49) and 300 hurdles (50.50), Ololade Ayoola in the high jump (5-4), Rosemary Ogbonna in the discus (99-0), the 3,200 relay (10:11.24), Alyssa Vogt in the 800 (2:29.24), O’Grady in the 400 (59.78) and the 1,600 relay, anchored by a 58.7 split from O’Grady.
“It’s nice to put the pieces together that we were thinking about,’’ East coach Wendy Hegarty said. “There was some good sprint competition and distance competition. More important, our times are coming down and we’re looking good.’’
Sandburg posted first-place finishes from Casey Jensen in the 1,600 (5:33.87) and Rayphina Foma’i (cq) in the shot put (35-1).