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Track preview: St. Charles East girls primed for 2014

Saints eager for banner season after strong '13

St. Charles East girls track and field coach Tim Wolf offered athletes the option to enjoy their spring break this week.

He'd still hold optional workouts at school in the morning, but stressed that those so inclined to soak up the sun or the beach or any other locale could feel free.

Coming off a strong 2013 and a solid indoor season, Wolf knows the Saints won't stray from training for long. It's almost as if spring break is a blip on the path to next month's Class 3A state meet.

"Our group's real ambitious, so they're always kind of flying high," Wolf said. "The few kids that I have that are hurt are healing well and looking to come back, so I'm kind of excited about that, too. Get them back in the mix and strengthen things up a little bit."

East got a leg up on what it hopes could be a podium team finish in Charleston with several big efforts at Saturday's Illinois Prep Top Times meet in Bloomington, the unofficial indoor state meet.

Junior Allison Chmelik won the 3A triple jump (36 feet, 5 1/4 inches) before joining Casey McNichols, Corrin Adams and Jordan Shead on the winning 4x400-meter relay (3:59.72). Shead also placed second in the 400.

There's plenty more where that came from, the Saints insist.

"We've been pretty intense now, but it will be nice that now we can train outside with the curves and all that," Chmelik said. "It's more [true]."

Shead, Allison Chmelik and Chmelik's twin sister, Elizabeth, return from last season's defending 3A 4x400 outdoor champ. The group helped the Saints finish seventh in the team race, just six points from tying for third.

Elizabeth Chmelik (hip) missed Prep Top Times and East's run to the Upstate Eight Conference indoor title because of an injury, but her and other absences ultimately offered another pride point.

Wolf, a longtime track official in his second season with the Saints, called the conference championship one of his top moments in coaching considering the way the team regrouped around a different lineup.

Still, the usual suspects won't stray too far from the mix, and figure to be especially reliable in early outdoor meets as those athletes who missed indoor time build their stamina. Junior distance standout Torree Scull certainly is one go-to point-scorer, and ran around five minutes in the 1,600 at Prep Top Times.

"She's running extremely well right now," Wolf said. "She's actually, in my opinion, probably running the best I've seen her run yet as a high-schooler."

If the Saints have their way, superlatives will be the norm at the end of the spring, even by way of spring break.

"Just get your daily workout in," Wolf said, "and when you come back, hopefully everybody's rejuvenated a little bit and ready to go."

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