Girls track and field: Downers N. edges Huskies for sectional title

Girls track and field: Downers N. edges Huskies for sectional title

Updated 5/14/2022 7:42 AM

Metea Valley sophomore Anna Murphy just missed qualifying for the Class 3A girls track and field state meet last year.

She tied for third in high jump to miss a top-two automatic berth and her height did not achieve the 5-foot-3 state-qualifying standard.


"I was kind of bummed that I got third because I feel like I could have mad eit, but it pushed me to jump higher this year because I really wanted to go to state," Murphy said.

Murphy came back at Friday's Class 3A Hinsdale Central Sectional and cleared an outdoor school-record 5-5 to be among numerous area qualifiers.

West Suburban Silver champion Downers Grove North won the sectional 83-81 over Naperville North behind numerous third-place finishes.

Murphy became the first of the Mustangs' state qualifiers since 2017. Senior Maria Lambert won the 100-meter dash (12.50) and sophomore Kyla Harris won the 400 (57.49) in which five qualified.

"I think it's really cool. (Hopefully) it will inspire other people to want and join track," Murphy said.

Naperville North senior Denise Hernandez not only won long jump but her 19-2 set a school record. Senior Christina Gu was on all three winning relays.

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"I'm stoked. I finally hit 19 feet so hopefully at state, get top 10,"Hernandez said. "I think we did really well. A lot of people (got personal bests), which is really great."

Gu won the 4x800 relay with Jackie Lu, Sydney Day and Emma Berres (9:25.7), the 4x200 relay with Ashley Kushner, Lily Logenbaugh and Hernandez (1:42.99) and 4x400 relay with Kushner, Berres and Megan Schoenjohn (4:01.02).

Senior Madeline Andelbradt (5-3 in high jump), Kushner (10-3 in pole vault) and Berres (800 in 2:21) were second. Andelbradt, fourth at state in high jump last year, is in her second meet back from a stress fracture in her only event.

"It's been wild to be back. I'm so happy to be back, though," Andelbradt said. "I think I have a lot to work on with form. Just having that week of rest is going to help."


Naperville Central sophomore Brooke Sawatzky was second in triple jump (35-1 1/4) and the 100 high hurdles and part of the qualifying 4x400 relay. Junior KaitMcHale won pole vault (11-9) and junior Sophie Kusserow was a qualifying third in the 400 (58.42).

Sawatzky tied for third in high jump with 2021 but is not competing the event this season because of a back injury.

"I'm really excited because last year I came so close. It's really exciting to finally (have it where) everything's playing out to where I want it to," Sawatzky said.

Downers North senior Elle Kowalski was second in long jump (17-9 1/2) after taking fourth last year. Senior Kyla Wilkerson was second in discus (100-8) and the second-place 4x200 relay advanced.

Downers Grove South junior Na'Kiyah Robertson was a second-place advancer in shot put (36-5) on her final throw after finishing third at 2021 sectionals.

Downers South senior Sophia McNerney, second at state in 2021 in the 3,200, beat an incredible field (10:44.91) in which seven runners topped the 11:07.39 state-qualifying standard and then won the 1,600 (5:03.01).

"Three months ago, I didn't even think I was going to be able to run any of the qualifying marks," said McNerney, injured most of the indoor season. "It meant a lot to me. I'm definitely excited (for state) to get out there. I'm just excited to have the opportunity."

Also advancing were Lyons Township's Catherine Sommerfeld (10:49.22), NapervilleCentral's Ava Hendren (10:59.22), Hinsdale Central's Sarah Fischer (11:01.65), Downers North's Claire Pyne (11:05.95), Naperville North's Julie Piot (11:06.48)and Metea Valley's Sarah Maggio (11:06.63).

Pyne made an incredible time drop from her previous best of 11:19.54 at conference.

"I was like OK (I have a chance). The coaches were like if you just stick with the main group instead of try to analyze every split, we think we you can make it," Pyne said. "Really just happy and kind of surprised but also kind of like yeah."

Hinsdale Central junior Catie McCabe, fourth in the 1,600 at state last year, scratched from that event but won the 800 (2:16.14). Hinsdale Central also advanced its 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

West Aurora is sending junior Jasmine Angel, who won discus (101-2), and ZoeLittlejohn, who was second in the 100 (12.55) out of Lane 1 in the fastest section and then was the last 400 qualifier (5th, 59.16) by .02.

"I qualified in the 100 the last year with my senior friend (Savannah Ming) and she's running at Drake so it's just me alone. I felt like I had to qualify again for her," Littlejohn said.

West Aurora senior Megan Sporny advanced in the Wheelchair 100 (34.70), 800 (4:12.23) and 400 (2:03.40) and 200 (59.71)..

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