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WW South claims meet behind 3,200-relay team

05/02/2014, 9:15pm CDT
By Josh Wegle

The foursome of Emma Dalan, Alex Enright, Sara Atkins and Melinda Franke won the 3,200 relay in a state-qualifying time of 9:37 to guide WW South to a first-place finish at the Tiger Invitational.

Wheaton recognized one of its past track greats Friday, then took care of business in the present.

Wheaton Warrenville South christened the 400-meter dash at its 37th Tiger Invitational in the name of state champ quarter-miler Karon Lackland, and went on to take the team title for the fourth straight year.

Lackland, a 1981 Wheaton Central graduate, as a senior won the 400 at state — Wheaton’s first — and later was part of a record 1,600-meter relay team at Eastern Illinois.

She presented a plaque to 400 winner Charlyncia Stennis of Bolingbrook.

“This has been a home, and a family to me. This community embraced me and took me in,” Lackland said. “I’m really humbled.”

WW South got the night started well on the track.

Running for the first time together, the foursome of Emma Dalan, Alex Enright, Sara Atkins and Melinda Franke won the 3,200 relay in a state-qualifying time of 9:37.0, a PR. Enright, usually a jumper and hurdler, ran a 2:25 in her first-ever outdoor 800 and sprinter Dalan set the pace with a 2:20 first leg.

“It’s a big difference, but it’s worth it,” Enright said.

WW South finished with 107.5 points, with Naperville North second with 89.5 followed by Oak Park and Naperville Central.

North’s Stephanie Mueller cleared 5 feet, 5 inches to win the high jump and Morganne Freeman won the shot with a 37-6.5 effort and was third in discus.

“Morganne’s really having a strong senior year,” Huskies coach Joanna Wilson said. “We had a lot of girls show some senior leadership tonight.”

Naperville Central continued to dominate in the sprint relays, the quartet of D’Jenne Egharevba, Lauren Erickson, Sam Ward and Mary Beth Blank sweeping the 400 and 800 with season-best times.

The Redhawks took the 400 in 49.44, then remained unbeaten outdoors by blowing away the 800 field in 1:44.94.

“I could tell we were definitely in the lead when I got the baton,” said Blank, who ran a 25.9-second anchor. “At that point you’re kind of running against the clock.”

If an individual MVP was named, it could have been Glenbard South’s Katelyn Hill.

Hill completed a hurdles sweep by coming from behind in the 300 to beat Oswego’s Princess Shodipo on the lean in 46.74 seconds.

“I wasn’t feeling good, I didn’t get out good, but I had to catch her,” Hill said. “I was a little surprised I won. I guess I got her at the lean.”

Earlier Hill blazed to a 14.98 PR in the 100 hurdle prelims, then beat Shodipo in the finals - in the rain - in 15.03.

“I didn’t think they were going to make us run in the rain,” Hill laughed off. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

A steady drizzle that lasted about 30 minutes soaked the discus circle, but WW South’s Naomi Yamane still managed a throw of 107-08 to beat out teammate Hannah Kats by two feet.

“Under the circumstances, I thought I did OK,” Yamane said.

Other winners were Proviso West’s Emani Johnson in the long jump, Bolingbrook’s Jessica Watkins in the 100, Oak Park’s Norma Abdur-rafia in the 200 and teammate Mary Blankemeier in the 3,200, Glenbard West’s Lindsay Graham in the 1,600 and Downers Grove South’s Michaela Hackbarth in the 800. Hinsdale South’s Maya Thompson won the triple jump.

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