If everything goes according to plan Friday at Kaneland, Teresa Towles and West Aurora will be taking the fifth.
That doesn’t mean the Blackhawks won’t talk, however.
Towles’ girls should have plenty to say about the outcome of the 38th annual Kane County Girls Track Meet as they shoot for their fifth consecutive team title. They rolled last year, piling up 131 points to easily outdistance runner-up St. Charles East (100.5) and third-place Kaneland (83).
“It’s supposed to be a little cool so we’ll want to make sure the girls don’t pull any muscles and stay as healthy as possible,” Towles said. “I want them to do enough to test themselves. What I’d love to do is get some good solid times going into conference and sectional.”
That’s especially true with her relays, where she still has questions about the lineups she’ll use for the upcoming state series.
“Right now, we’re not set,” Towles said, noting that any of her 400, 800 or 1,600 relay units could be bolstered by the addition of individual standouts Emma Spagnola and/or Kyla Walton.
Those Division I recruits for Minnesota and Central Michigan, respectively, will perform their specialties but Spagnola (both hurdles, long jump) is likely to run in one relay and Walton (300 hurdles, long jump) could do one or two come sectional.
“We’ll give them both all the opportunity to have fresh legs and to do the best they can in their individual events,” Towles said.
Adding either or both to a relay could be key to Towles’ goal of getting one or more relays that can score at state and boost the team’s chances of reaching its ultimate goal: “To bring home a trophy,” she said.
Doug Ecker, coach of host Kaneland, expects West and St. Charles East to again battle for the title.
“Either could win it,” he said. “Other teams, like us, are solid but no one else has the overall depth of those two.”
Ecker likes getting to run against Aurora schools and Batavia and Geneva, which are no longer in the Knights’ conference.
Senior sprinter and state vet Lauren Zick leads the Knights, who have been bolstered by a group of young sprinters headed by freshman Nicole Sreenan.
Sreenan, though, won’t be competing Friday because she’s been committed to a national cheerleading competition over the weekend at Disney World.
Like Towles, Ecker is curious to see how his relays stack up, especially his 3,200, which may feature senior Sydney Strang for the first time this season.
West is coming off invitational wins at Downers North and Lockport, but Spagnola was edged Friday by Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jayla Stewart in the 100 hurdles, 14.33 to 14.46.
“I don’t think Emma has ever been beaten in that race except at state,” Towles said. “She was upset. She didn’t have a great start and hit a couple hurdles but the other girl ran a very nice race.
“I’m glad it happened now rather than at state.”
Later in the meet Spagnola beat Crete-Monee’s Tineja Foy in a photo finish in the 300 hurdles, though both were clocked in 43.74. It ties them for first in the DyeStat IL Class 3A rankings.