Headlined by Aurora Central’s Karina Liz, the Aurora Flyers and the Aurora Sundowners, it was another strong showing for area track athletes last week at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Liz followed her Class 2A state championship in the 800-meter run by placing third in the 1,500 and fifth in the 800 at the national meet.
The ACC junior ran 4:48.32 in the 1,500, edging Neuqua Valley’s Kathleen Sheehan by 1.6 seconds for third place in the 17-18 women’s division. The competition is divided into nine different age groups for boys and girls, ranging from 8-under through 17-18.
Liz didn’t match her winning state time of 2:10.73 in the 800, but her 2:12.81 gave her fifth in that race.
Sheehan, who runs for coach Tom Boatright’s Flyers, was eighth in the 800 (2:15.45).
Flyers athletes brought home 58 national medals from the meet, including five third-place finishes in different girls relays and a second from the boys 15-16 team that ran a 3:23 and included Jaquere Williams (Waubonsie Valley High School), Isaiah Robinson (Neuqua Valley) as well as Jaylen McMahan (Plainfield East) and Daylen Foster (Joliet West).
Batavia’s Hanna Schlaman, Waubonsie Valley’s Tatiana Moore and Brion Hughes joined Ololade Ayoola of Frankfort to take third in the 15-16 girls 400 relay in 47.9 seconds.
Oswego East’s Morgan Harris was a member of the Flyers’ 17-18 girls third-place 1,600 relay; Mikenna Robinson and Dajour Miles of Aurora took part in the 13-14 girls third place 1,600 relay; Miles was also a member of the team’s girls 13-14 third place 400 relay; Yorkville’s Alexis Grandys was in the 15-16 girls third place 3200 relay; and Aurora’s Alyssa Bondurant, Alexandra Barnard and Hailey Finch were all on the 11-12 girls third-place 3,200 relay.
Rachel Lau (Plainfield North), defending her title in the 15-16 girls 3,000 (10:13), took second to Yorkville’s Skyler Bollinger in the 2,000 steeplechase (7:21) and third in the 1,500 (4:49).
Other individual highlights for the Flyers include Chinara Caldwell (Aurora), fifth in 8-U girls long jump; Dereck Meadows (Aurora), fourth in 8-U boys 800; Paris Bowles (Aurora) seventh in 9-U girls 800; and Alexandra Barnard (Aurora) third in the 12 girls 3,000.
Ty Moss of Plainfield had a hand in a pair of runnerup finishes that headlined finishes for coach Wilbert Walters’ Sundowners.
Moss ran a 1:50.52 to take second in the 17-18 men’s 800. Nick Rayfaz of Aurora was ninth in the same race, finishing in 1:54.02.
They also ran the third and fourth legs of the team’s 1,600 relay that finished second in 3:13.61. Will Moore and Zac Espinoza ran the first two legs. Moss was also 22nd in the 400 and Espinoza 29th in prelim times.
West Aurora sophomore Tamia Rayford was 10th in the 400, running a 57.38 and coming up two places short of advancing to the semifinals. Rashann Ford took 19th in the 17-18 javelin throw (130-7), while Kiyanna Rogers was 29th in the prelims of the 200 hurdles for 13-14 girls.
The Sundowners will hold their annual banquet Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the Prisco Center with former Sundowner thrower/sprinter and current University of Illinois thrower Mariah Smith as the featured speaker.
Other top finishes from area athletes included but were not limited to: Travon Tittle (Aurora), ninth in boys 13 shotput; Alyssa Mayhew (North Aurora) 17th in girls 3,000 and 20th in 1,500; Nia Wood (North Aurora) 18th in 12 girls 200 and 400; Hailey Finch (Aurora) 13th in 11 girls 3,000 and 15th in 1,500; Isabella Orozco (Aurora) 4th in 10 girls 1,500; and Allanah Tittle (Aurora) 11th in 9 girls long jump.