St. Charles North senior Kaylee Raucci aspires to study kinesiology at Wisconsin-Whitewater beginning next school year.
She is not out to diagnose her recurring shin splints. The field simply fascinates her.
In the past few weeks, Raucci has compiled her own research on the ins and outs of human movement. It’s a simple lesson, and one she hopes will boost her to a medal in the triple jump at this weekend’s 3A state meet in Charleston:
Removing yourself from many events to save yourself for one recharges the battery.
“Now the shins feel good,” Raucci said. “They don’t hurt. So it definitely helped getting that state qualifying for this one.”
In no particular order, Raucci also competed in the long jump, 300-meter hurdles, 100 and 200 during her North career, as well as running as part of the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
Her versatility added up to competitive invitational meet scores for the North Stars, which was by design.
Once the postseason approached, however, the strategy shifted to sending Raucci downstate for the second successive spring in the best shape possible.
“We were wanting her prepared and totally focused on the triple jump,” North Stars coach John Osmanski said. “Going into sectionals, we knew that was her best shot and we wanted her 100 percent focused on it, and it worked.”
Raucci finished second at last week’s West Aurora Sectional, clearing 35 feet, 9.75 inches – nearly four inches better than the state qualifying standard.
While North Stars freshman Hannah Schilb edged her mentor for the sectional title with a jump of 36-0.75, both athletes talk openly about a friendly rivalry.
So what if Raucci took up track as a seventh grader at Haines Middle School and Schilb is new to triple jumping this season? They’re on the same team and constantly talking technique.
“She’s a great supporter and she made it with me, and so we’re going to go down to state together,” Schilb said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, I think. It’ll be a good experience for me to experience it with her.”
Raucci registered a state preliminary jump of 35-0.25 as a junior. The 12th and final athlete to advance to the Saturday finals cleared 36-10.
Rested and conditioned from a recent slate of low-impact workouts – including elliptical training and biking – Raucci is eager to make a healthy move up the standings.
Considering the absence of shin pain, which had been nagging her since the end of indoor season, she likes her chances.
Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Mike Johnson has targeted Raucci as a decathlete next season, bringing a return to busier days for the NCAA Division III Warhawks.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Raucci said. “He said if I’m pretty strong in one thing and not so strong in one that it will compensate for it, so that will be pretty good.”
For now, though, she only has tunnel vision for the triple jump pit.
“I actually have a goal in mind. I’ve been there before, I know,” Raucci said. “So it’s like I’ll just see what I can do now. Hopefully it’ll be better than [last season].”
Area girls track and field state qualifiers
Prelims today (1A) and Friday (2A, 3A) at EIU in Charleston
Finals for all classes Saturday
Skylar Schoen, pole vault
Amy Gladis, pole vault
Kathryn Adelman, 800
McKenzie Altmayer, 1,600
Jenna Ginsberg, pole vault
ST. CHARLES EAST
Lauren Towne, 200
Torree Scull, 800
Corrin Adams, 800
Jordan Shead, 400
Britney Williams, 400
Maddie Westerhoff, 1,600
Gabrielle Pearce, pole vault
Allison Chmelik, triple jump
Amanda Passaglia, shot put
ST. CHARLES NORTH
Ashley England, 3,200
Hannah Schilb, triple jump
Kaylee Raucci, triple jump
Victoria Clinton, 1,600
Brianna Bower, 3,200
Lauren Zick, long jump
Christina Delach, pole vault
Ashley Castellanos, triple jump
Kayla Wolf, 800
Jasmine Castillo, 300 hurdles
Katie Trupp, pole vault, high jump
Natalie Overstreet, pole vault
AURORA CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Lisa Rodriguez, 100, 200
Karina Liz, 400, 800
Jenna Koerner, 1,600
Megan McShea, 3,200
Amanda Nunley, 100 hurdles
Natasha Brown, 100
Becca Wert, 800, 1,600
Taylor Knauf, pole vault
Meghan Hagerty, pole vault
Peyton Wade, high jump, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles
Alyssa Anderson, high jump