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West Aurora’s Emma Spagnola sensational in DuPage Valley Conference sweep

05/08/2014, 11:15pm CDT
By Joshua Welge

Behind another brilliant four-event sweep by the Minnesota-bound Emma Spagnola and two stunning wins on the track, the host Blackhawks captured the DuPage Valley Conference girls outdoor championship Thursday night.

West Aurora is going out on top.

Behind another brilliant four-event sweep by Minnesota-bound senior Emma Spagnola and two stunning wins on the track, the host Blackhawks captured the DuPage Valley Conference girls outdoor championship Thursday night.
West Aurora, leaving the DVC for the Upstate Eight next year, last won the outdoor title in 2011. The Blackhawks matched their indoor championship from March.

“I can’t remember the last time we won indoor and outdoor,” Spagnola said. “That’s amazing that we pulled it off.”

Spagnola couldn’t have scripted a more fitting finish to a transcendent conference career. She swept both hurdles races going away, won the 100-meter dash and the long jump. It gives her 15 out of a possible 16 individual DVC titles over a four-year career, eight in the hurdles.

“That means a lot,” Spagnola said. “It’s awesome to be able to do that. The girls that pushed me, they’re awesome too.”

Spagnola, owner of the fastest times in Class 3A in both hurdles, ran the 100 highs in 14.72 into a headwind, then came back to take the 300 in 44.16, crossing the finish iwhile runner-up Kyla Walton from West Aurora was on the last hurdle.

“I feel like I ran faster than a 44,” Spagnola said. “I don’t really pay attention to stuff like (the wind). When I run, I’m just paying attention to getting my time down.”

Spagnola, though, might not have even been her team’s biggest story. In the quarter-mile, Blackhawks freshman Tamia Rayford knocked off three-time defending conference champion — and the DVC record-holder — Simone Carr of Glenbard North.

Running her first sub-minute 400 this year, Rayford went out fast and finished in 57.74. DePaul recruit Carr closed hard and took second in 57.81.

“I got out of the blocks and ran the best race I could,” Rayford said. “I saw her coming.”

Rayford earlier was part of the other big upset as West Aurora knocked off No. 1 seed Naperville Central in the 400 relay. Tatyana Skokan, Rayford, Rajiah Andrews and Elisa Zinn posted a 49.60 running out of the sixth lane.
West Aurora finished with 124 points, followed by two-time defending champ Wheaton Warrenville South (105), Naperville North (88.5) and Naperville Central (81.5).

WW South senior Erin Zappia broke a 29-year-old record in the high jump, clearing 5-foot-7. In March Zappia set the DVC indoor record, but has struggled to go higher than 5-4 outdoors.

“It was important to get a higher height at one of the bigger meets,” Zappia said. “This is when it matters.”

Naperville North’s stable of cross country crossovers were without peer in the distance races.

The Huskies won the 3,200 relay, went first and third with Claire Hamilton and Judy Pendergast in the 3,200, and got a win from Jenny Gibson in the 800. Capping it off, 3,200 relay members Maria McDaniel and Elly DeTurris went 1-2 in the mile. Neck-and-neck down the stretch, McDaniel’s 5:10.70 bested DeTurris by less than a second.

“We work together in practice every day,” McDaniel said. “We ran this just like practice. Great meet for us.”

West Aurora’s track exploits were matched by that of Marquette-bound thrower Maya Marion. She swept, throwing the shot 40-6 and discus 115-3.

“Even though I didn’t throw my best I know where I can be,” Marion said. “Sectionals coming up, it’s game time.”

In other events, Naperville Central’s 800 relay of D’Jenne Egharevba, Sam Ward, Lauren Erickson and Mary Beth Blank remained unbeaten outdoors with a PR of 1:44.56. Lake Park sophomore Mani Lock won the 200, Glenbard East the 1,600 relay, Lake Park’s Danielle Wojciechowski the pole vault and Glenbard North’s Allison Wahrman the triple jump.

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