Girls track and field: Glenbard West's Allman, Glenbard North's Schager bring home gold
CHARLESTON -- Audrey Allman had a grand strategy.
Grace Schager was an equally brilliant tactician.
As a consequence, the distance-running legacy in DuPage County remains ever intact.
Allman, the Glenbard West Vanderbilt-bound senior, and Schager, a Glenbard North junior who has taken her athleticism to a new level, left their imprint at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University Saturday.
Allman built a commanding lead at the mid-mark of the Class 3A 1,600-meter run and completed her dominant state-title run with a victory in excess of 30 meters.
Schager, meanwhile, opened the individual girls track and field state finals by authoring the finest of 19 athletes breaking 11 minutes in the 3,200 run.
Schager became the first state champion for the Panthers in 19 years with her triumph in 10:17.12.
Allman followed in the considerable footsteps of former Glenbard West greats Madeline Perez and Katelynne Hart by winning the metric mile in 4:49.81.
"I have total faith in this program," Allman said. "I have been dreaming about (this moment) since I was a kid. It was a long time coming."
The 3,200 run had a compelling back story as defending champion in both the longest race as well as the reigning state cross-country champion, University of Washington-bound Oak
Park-River Forest senior Josephine Welin, ran in the slow heat after making her outdoor season debut at the Proviso East sectional.
"It was definitely a different race plan," Schager said of Welin, who finished fourth overall, running in the first heat. "I feel like I would have loved having her in my heat. She is incredible."
Neuqua Valley sophomore Zawadi Brown anchored the Wildcats' 400 relay to third; the lacrosse athlete was also fifth in the 200 and 400 dashes with respective times of 25.17 and 56.99.
"It's been a great day," Brown said. "I went in with high expectations and am happy with how it ended."
Naperville North had twin runner-up developments as Denise Hernandez, who ran the third leg on the Huskies' fifth-place 800 relay, was unable to overtake two-time long-jump champion Alex Johnson of Huntley.
"I knew I had to get to six (as in six meters) -- but I am very happy about placing in the top three," Hernandez said. "I placed my goal at 19 feet -- and I got it (19-2)."
Freshman Emma Berries' anchor leg powered the Huskies' 3,200 relay (9:21.38) to their other second-place finish.
Hinsdale Central junior Catie McCabe was runner-up to Normal Community defending state champion Ali Ince, owner of the fastest time in the nation, in the 800.
York half-miler Brooke Berger was fourth after earlier playing a starring role on the Dukes' third-place 3,200 relay.
Neuqua Valley hurdler Inara Ukawuba was fifth and eighth in the 100 and 300 distances.
In Class 2A, Glenbard South hurdler Gianna Huerta, one year removed from a lost season due to a serious knee injury, was third in the 300 hurdles after placing sixth at the shorter distance.
Benet distance runner Louisa Diamond I was seventh in the metric-mile and 2-mile.
In Class A, I C Catholic Prep senior Carly Manchester earned the only area medals by ply fifth in the 3,200 and eighth in the 800.