Druley: Batavia girls track’s Schlaman makes early impression
Hannah Schlaman turned heads once more last week as she darted down the backstretch in her Batavia girls track and field singlet.
The Bulldogs' freshman won the Upstate Eight Conference 100-meter title in 12.84 seconds and finished second to Notre Dame-bound St. Charles East senior Jordan Shead in the 200, 25.81 to 25.95.
Schlaman's debut tour continues with Thursday's Class 3A Metea Valley Sectional, and ideally will end at the state meet in Charleston in two weekends. Maybe then her teammates can catch their collective breaths.
"I heard ... that we were going to have some good freshmen coming in, but I had no idea we were going to have runners like Hannah come in," senior hurdler/sprinter Taylor Stieve said. "She's incredible. She's definitely a good addition to the team."
Schlaman has excelled from the start of indoors, when she placed fifth in an airtight 200 at the UEC indoor championships at Batavia's fieldhouse.
Five of the six entrants were returning state qualifiers; Schlaman, naturally, provided the exception as she concluded eighth grade last spring. Experience with many of the region's top sprinters as a member of the Aurora Flyers club team helped Schlaman feel at ease.
"I definitely felt like there was much competition, me being the freshman, but all in all it was a good experience for me," she said.
Although Schlman since has left hurdling – "I was very scared," she said – Schlaman counts former Batavia hurdles standout Natalie Tarter among her influences.
"Definitely, she's one of my inspirations for running and I definitely look up to her, for sure," Schlaman said.
It could be that a budding Batavia trickster sees Schlaman in a similar light down the road.
"She's doing all the right things with stretching, cool-down, being a team player. Helping everybody out. So, yes, she has great ability, but she's not bragging, not boasting," Bulldogs coach Justin Allison said. "She's very confident but very respectful, and that's what we're looking for in a quality teammate and a leader. So Hannah exudes those qualities."
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The fifth annual Fox Valley Marathon is set for Sept. 21.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.