Kayleigh Lewis achieved a first in her three years on the St. Charles North girls swim team on Saturday.
The junior had never captured an individual title at a major competition during her career.
But it all changed at the IHSA Sectional at St. Charles North when Lewis was the first to touch the wall in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.45 seconds.
“I just never won one,” said Lewis, who was also runner-up to teammate Jules Engesser in the 50 freestyle at 24.19. “It feels great being able to win something. Have been dropping a lot of time and working really hard in practice.”
Lewis and Engesser were two of five individual champions for the North Stars; the juniors were also members of the championship 200 freestyle relay—one of two for St. Charles North—Saturday in St. Charles.
With seven of the 12 total titles, St. Charles North earned a 302-240.5 victory over Upstate Eight Conference and city rival St. Charles East for the team championship.
Fifteen girls from the two St. Charles high schools advanced to the state finals, to be held at New Trier this weekend.
Engesser captured the 50 freestyle in 24.03.
“Definitely, the 50 free [was my best race],” Engesser said. “It’s my first-ever state cut [in an individual event]. Getting first was a big point for me. I just wanted to win, get the place and worry about the time later.”
St. Charles North senior Audrey Guyett and St. Charles East four-event qualifier Kayla Jones were the only seniors competing for either school Saturday.
The duo both signed national letters of intent to attend Missouri last week.
Guyett, the reigning state runner-up in the 500 freestyle, won her specialty event in 4:58.35.
“I have had a lot of great practices,” said Guyett, who was also a member of two championship freestyle relays at 200 and 400 yards. “There is still work to be done before next week. If I know a girl is going to go out fast [in the 500], I keep it tame. I think [my strategy] depends on who I am racing.”
Megan Armstrong, who qualified in four events for the North Stars, headlined the field at 200 yards in the freestyle with a winning time of 1:35.88.
“A year ago, I was really unsure what races I was going to make [to state],” said Armstrong, a sophomore. “This year has definitely been a more solid year. It is so much better knowing I am more confident and older in general.”
Former state champion Valerie Tarazi (Prairie Ridge) from the Crystal Lake Co-op team was the lone double individual champion.
But St. Charles North junior Mallory Jump claimed the North Stars’ final individual title in the 100 butterfly in 56.19.
“I think my day was pretty good,” said Jump, a three-event qualifier. “My 200 IM [individual medley] was really good. I went for time and place ([n the 100 butterfly].”
Jones and Mary Jania were the St. Charles East leaders.
“I did crazy unexpected,” said Jania, a two-time qualifier in both individual races and relays. “My goal was to make the cut and go to state to perform. We were really excited about [the relays].”
The Saints captured the meet-opening 200 medley relay.
“I am really happy with these times,” said Jones, also headed to the North Shore in four events. “I think after I rest this week that state is going to be really great.I am really proud of all these girls [on the relays].”
The Saints’ Lauren Carne won the one-meter diving competition with 395.15 points.
The Beads won the Neuqua Valley Sectional, edging the host Wildcats 248-237.
Rosary's Sydney VanOvermeiren won the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.67), Anne Tavierne was second in the 500 freestyle (5:04.46) and Athena Ye was second in the 100 backstroke (56.81). Ye was third in the 50 freestyle (23.60), Camryn Streid third in the 100 butterly (56.95) and Elyssa Brault third in the 500 freestyle (5:04.60).