AURORA – A girls track and field season transforms into an exercise in consistency at different points for different athletes.
On Thursday, several Chronicle-area competitors proved that sometimes, only a slight bit of assembly is required.
Forget about first-time competitors at the IHSA Class 3A West Aurora Sectional – although there were several – and consider the prospect of advancing to next week's state meet in Charleston with just a few months of event training under your belt.
St. Charles North freshman Hannah Schilb faced that opportunity when she won the triple jump. She struggled to fathom it.
"I started to cry and everything because it's, like, my first year, and I made it and it was just a really big surprise," Schilb said. "But without the help of my coaches and teammates and the support of everyone, I wouldn't have been able to do it."
Batavia's 4x800-meter relay of Alicia Grant, Jenny Muehlbauer, Miranda Rea and Dakota Roman could attest. It wasn't until recently that the quartet learned it would comprise the Bulldogs' entry together.
The group – anchored by a freshman, Roman – gathered near midfield as Muehlbauer posed a puzzling yet revealing question.
"Is this the first time we've all four ran together?" she said.
It was, and the key to narrowly eclisping the qualifying standard of 9:38.24 was following the protocol of all the other times spent competing separately.
"We were told in advance what times we needed to hit, and we've known we've done it in the past, for the most part," Grant said.
St. Charles East, which edged the host Blackhawks in the team race – 94 to 92 1/3 – sent the area's largest contingent of qualifiers, including all four relays. Those groups feaature several usual suspects with deep state meet experience.
The 4x400 relay of twins Elizabeth and Allison Chmelik, Britney Williams and Jordan Shead topped West Aurora in the final event to win the meet. Williams opened up a sizable lead after the Saints trailed the Blackhawks through the first two legs.
"Honestly, there was a little bit of, 'Oh, no,' " Williams said. "But I knew I just had to know I could do it and be patient."
Still, the Saints weren't without some novelty, as the quartet of Anastasia Honea, Corrin Adams, Krista Fitzmaurice and Torree Scull won the 4x800 in just its second time together.
East coach Tim Wolf experimented with the lineup, which had different configurations in winning the Upstate Eight Conference River Division and Kane County titles.
The group was first grouped together at a home triangular against Bartlett and Elgin 11 days ago.
"They've been practicing their handoffs and stuff for awhile," Wolf said. "It was smooth."
Here's a glance at a few other notes from the meet. Class 3A prelims are set for May 17, with the finals to be held May 18:
• Geneva junior Kathryn Adelman surged into the lead in the 800 meters at the beginning of the bell lap and only strengthened her lead the rest of the way.
A year after falling just short of qualifying in the 1,600, Adelman left little doubt over half that distance. Her time of 2:15.99 was nearly four seconds faster than the state standard.
Adelman fought back tears and fatigue as she went to the West Aurora infield turf shortly after the race. Her teammates – many of whom shrieked in disbelief as Adelman closed out a huge PR – picked her up literally and emotionally.
"We needed that," Vikings coach Peter Raak said. "After a slow start, I think we needed somebody to pop up with a big qualifying time on the track."
• East senior thrower Amanda Passaglia, who initially took up track to help build strength and conditioning for volleyball, qualified in the shot put with a throw of 39-6.
Passaglia, a Gardner-Webb (N.C.) track and field recruit, recently tweaked her form, putting more of her legs into her approach to generate more strength.
4x800-relay St. Charles East, 9:22.75 St. Charles North, 9:34.49 Rosary, 9:35.11 Batavia, 9:35.974x100 relay St. Charles East, 48.97 3,200 Ashley England, St. Charles North, 11:11.99800 Kathryn Adelman, Geneva, 2:15.99 Torree Scull, St. Charles East, 2:18.32 Corrin Adams, St. Charles East, 2:18.604x200 St. Charles East, 1:44.72400 Jordan Shead, St. Charles East, 56.58 Britney Williams, St. Charles East, 57.651,600 McKenzie Altmayer, Geneva, 5:14.47 Maddie Westerhoff, St. Charles East, 5:15.24 *Pole vault Skylar Schoen, Batavia 11 feet, 3 inches Jenna Ginsberg, Geneva, 10-3 Amy Gladis, Batavia, 10-3 Gabrielle Pearce, St. Charles East, 10-3Triple jump Hannah Schilb, St. Charles North, 36-0.75 Kaylee Raucci, St. Charles North, 35-9.75 Allison Chmelik, St. Charles East, 35-7.25Shot put Amanda Passaglia, St. Charles East, 39-6 * Denotes exact state qualifying standard