Hannah Schilb began long-jumping in seventh grade and triple-jumping in ninth grade.
Guess which event is considered the stronger one on the St. Charles North sophomore's Class 3A girls track and field state meet itinerary?
While Schilb and her coaches tout her triple jump chances more firmly than the long jump, she remains dialed in to both as Friday's preliminaries in Charleston approach.
"They say if you can long jump, you can triple jump. If you can triple jump, you can long jump. So [triple] was like one of those things that I tried and I was kind of good at it, I guess," Schilb said. "I enjoy it a lot, too. It's kind of different and it's difficult, and when things are difficult, not a lot of people do it. So it's kind of a good event to do because not a lot of people do it."
Schilb proved to be one of the state's top athletes in the triple jump in her debut season, advancing to the prelims as a freshman. Her best effort of 35 feet, 11 1/4 inches fell short of the top 12 cut for finals, however.
Reminiscing on the experience a year later, Schilb recalls the portrait of an athlete competing with uncharacteristic nerves.
"When I got down there, I was just kind of like wide-eyed and looking at everyone around me," Schilb said. "Everyone kind of did their own thing the whole time, and I was really unaware of what I should be doing, so my coach helped me out a lot."
Naturally, North Stars coach John Osmanski is happy to assist Schilb along with the rest of his state-bound athletes: seniors Ashley England (3,200 meters) and Jessica Grill (pole vault).
Still, he knows Schilb also accelerated thanks to an offseason regimen with DuPage Track Club. The club features a handful of coaches from Lake Park, a perennial jumping events contender at the state meet.
It was time especially well spent for Schilb's triple jump technique.
"Because she's so strong, she got the form easily. It was a question, a matter, of her running down the runway and learning how to bound, which made her successful in the triple jump," Osmanski said. "And once she learned how to do that and then going to her camp in the summer … she carried that over through here."
Schilb increased her personal records to 36-11 1/2 in the triple jump and 17-9 in the long jump this season.
Her effort of 36-1 3/4 at the 3A Illinois Prep Top Times meet – the unofficial indoor state meet – in Bloomington in late March was good enough for seventh.
Grill and England also qualified for Prep Top Times, and are eager to improve their standing two months later.
"We have the experience between us," Grill said.
St. Charles East junior Allison Chmelik won the triple jump at Top Times, and also edged Schilb at sectionals, 36-2 to 36-1 1/2, to earn runner-up behind Glenbard North's Allison Wahrman.
In the long jump, Schilb's 17-7 3/4 eclipsed the qualifying standard by 1 3/4 inches, making her the sectional's fourth entry in the event.
Less than a week later, those results might as well be ancient history in her mind.
"You just kind of clear your head and don't think about it too much, otherwise, you're going to overdo it," Schilb said. "Just do what you know, and it'll be fine."
Schilb said her mother, a former middle school track athlete, reminds her before each meet to have fun.
The practice figures to hold this weekend, even as Schilb demonstrates her focus.
"I'm just ready for state. Hoping to medal," she said. "That's what I'm going into this for."
Area girls track and field state qualifiers
Prelims today (1A) and Friday (2A, 3A) at EIU in Charleston
Finals for all classes Saturday
At Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Stadium, Charleston
BATAVIA 4X800-meter relay Hannah Schlaman, 100 meters, 200 Taylor Stieve, 300 hurdles
GENEVA 4x800 4x400 Kristin Higgins, high jump Kathryn Adelman, 800 Foster Ignoffo, 400
ST. CHARLES EAST 4x800 4x100 4x200 4x400 Allison Chmelik, triple jump Jordan Shead, 400 Torree Scull, 1,600
ST. CHARLES NORTH Ashley England, 3,200 Jessica Grill, pole vault Hannah Schilb, long jump, triple jump
KANELAND 4x800 4x100 4x200 4x400 Christina Delach, pole vault Maddie Keifer, high jump Elle Dattoni, shot put, discus Brianna Bower, 3,200 Nicole Sreenan, 100, 400
AURORA CENTRAL CATHOLIC Karina Liz, 800, 400
BURLINGTON CENTRAL Bryce Weinrich, 100 hurdles Jasmine Castillo, 300 hurdles Katie Bush, 1,600
ROSARY 4x800 4x100 4x200 4x400 Emma Knudtson, pole vault Sarah Nyaeme, triple jump Abby Hammer, 300 hurdles Madison Ronzone, 1,600
ST. FRANCIS 4x200 Molly McCarthy, high jump Amanda Peterson, 100
AURORA CHRISTIAN 4x800 4x100 4x200 4x400 Peyton Wade, long jump, high jump, 100 hurdles Meghan Hagerty, pole vault Rebecca Wert, 800, 1,600 Natasha Brown, 200