GENEVA – Geneva boys track and field athletes jokingly nominated Larkin's 4x400-meter relay team as MVP of Saturday's Mike VanDeveer Invitational.
Larkin's anchor runner caught McHenry's along the frontstretch in the final event of a long day, allowing Geneva (137 points) to hold off McHenry (135) and avoid a tie.
Before that, several Vikings did their part in putting Geneva in strong position to avenge last season's distant runner-up finish to the Warriors.
"I think we have a really, really strong team this year. We have a lot of fast kids," said Vikings junior Tim Roels, whose 200-meter title provided Geneva's late cushion. "Everyone's stepping up this year who needs to."
The Geneva girls scored 109 points to finish closely behing champion Palatine (116). Geneva took the 4x400 behind the quartet of Jenna Ginsberg, Kathryn Adelman, Janie McCloughan and Foster Ignoffo, creating its own drama in the closing event.
Ignoffo also anchored the victorious 4x100 and won the individual 100, edging fellow freshman Leah Narup of Batavia – 13.14 seconds – to 13.39 on the strength of an explosive start.
"We've been working on that start really hard throughout practice," Ignoffo said. "I've just been getting that down and giving it my all to finish first."
Here's a look at some other highlights from the meet, which also included the Batavia and St. Charles North girls, as well as the Burlington Central boys and girls:
• Central senior Katie Trupp established a new meet record in the girls high jump when she cleared 5 feet, 5.5 inches. That topped the previous standard of 5-5, a mark Trupp did not know existed before she approached 5-2 in the early going.
"It's kind of a spur of the moment thing," she said. "Today, I didn't realize what the record was until I jumped, like 5. So then it's, 'OK, let's jump 5-5.' "
The Southern Illinois-bound Trupp also claimed the pole vault title, clearing 11-3 to defeat a tight field that included Batavia senior Skylar Schoen (second) and North junior Jessica Gril (third).
Grill sensed the formidable competition but didn't slink away.
"I knew, but I wasn't nervous," she said. "I just wanted to do the best that I could."
She did, establishing a new personal record of 10-9.
• Cold and windy conditions represented a hurdle for Geneva senior thrower Kyle McNeil, who ultimately navigated the elements en route to winning the shot put (46-7.5) and discus (151-2).
"I wanted to throw state qualifying today [in the discus], but that's for a better day," McNeil said. "It was nice to get that. I was struggling before that, so it was good."
• Oh, very young. Ignoffo wasn't the only freshman to shine, as Burlington Central's Lucas Ege won the 110 and 300 hurdles in boys competition.
For the girls, North freshman Hannah Schlib credited competitive practices for her long jump title. Schlib went 15-7 to clip North Stars senior Kaylee Raucci by three inches. Teammate Sarah Kaplan took fourth.
"We push each other to go farther. It's really good motivation, and I look up to the older girls, and it helps a lot to have girls that are so good at the event," Schlib said. "It makes me want to do just as good."
Narup, a Rotolo Middle School alum who recalls competing against Ignoffo when Ignoffo attended Geneva Middle School North, won the 100 hurdles title.
Narup already was a hit with teammates, so this should only help.
"All of them are really welcoming," she said, "so it was easy."
• The BC girls finished sixth among 10 teams, while the boys took third out of eight. The Rockets, who compete in Class 2A in the postseason, relished the opportunity to see different competition.
"Lots of bigger schools, which I like," said boys sprinter Trevor Davison, who anchored the winning boys' 4x100. "Usually, our schools that we compete with, they're good, but it's always nice to face the 3A schools."
Chronicle-area event champions
GIRLS100 meters: Foster Ignoffo, Geneva, 13.14100 hurdles: Leah Narup, Batavia, 16.094x100: Geneva (Janie McCloughan, Hannah Davison, Aimee Dappas, Foster Ignoffo), 52.043200: McKenzie Altmayer, Geneva, 11:37.53800: Kayla Wolf, Burlington Central, 2:18.594x400: Geneva (Jenna Ginsberg, Kathryn Adelman, Janie McCloughan, Foster Ignoffo), 4:06.75High jump: Katie Trupp, BC, 5-05.5Pole vault: Katie Trupp, BC, 11-03Long jump: Hannah Schlib, St. Charles North, 15-07Triple jump: Hannah Davison, Geneva, 34-08.5
BOYS110 hurdles: Lucas Ege, BC, 15.87200: Tim Roels, Geneva, 23.194x100: BC (Ryan Olsen, Alex Johnson, Jason Berango, Trevor Davison), 44.56400: Ryan Olsen, BC, 50.71300 hurdles: Lucas Ege, BC, 42.41Shot put: Kyle McNeil, Geneva, 46-07.5Discus: Kyle McNeil, Geneva, 151-02