Name: Tori Ortiz
School: Batavia, senior
Sport: Track and field
Why she was selected: Ortiz is competing at the upcoming girls track meet next weekend in four events. A four-time state qualifier, the Illinois State commit will represent Batavia in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, and the 400 and 800-meter relays.
Chronicle sports reporter Jacob Bartelson caught up with Ortiz to talk about her performance at sectionals, state meet expectations, college plans and more. Below is an edited transcript.
Bartelson: In the 200 against West Aurora’s Dajour Miles, she pulled up injured with a hamstring injury. I know you both compete well against one another, so from that standpoint, what’s that dynamic like?
Ortiz: Racing [Miles] is always an honor. She is some of the best competition in the state of Illinois, [and] she pushes me in my races to go faster and get [personal records]. Watching her go down in the middle of our last race was awful, it scared me and honestly if it wasn’t sectionals or such a big meet, I would’ve stopped. At that point I just wanted to make sure she was OK because sectionals is not the time to get hurt.
Bartelson: Batavia, as a whole, cleaned up at sectionals pretty well. Which of your teammates stood out the most to you and why?
Ortiz: The night of sectionals was one to remember. Coming in second place to a powerhouse team my senior year was something I’ll never forget. Everyone performed great, we had lots of PR’s but the one person who stood out to me was senior Marygrace Golden. She lead off the [3,200 relay] with an amazing lead, qualifier for state in the 800, and ran an awesome split in the [1,600 relay].
Bartelson: You’ve been around the block with state before, so how do you manage expectations as a senior?
Ortiz: My expectations for my senior year are the highest they’ve ever been for myself. Coming back to state every year is an honor, so my expectations only continue to grow...This year I have my first opportunity to compete in individuals events, and I can’t wait. It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since freshman year and I’m excited to see what level I can perform at.
Bartelson: Illinois State just won its first Missouri Valley outdoor track and field title since 2000. How excited are you to join that program?
Ortiz: Words cannot describe how excited I am to be a student athlete at Illinois State next year! I have been looking forward to being a Redbird for the longest time and I can’t wait to pursue my dream of running Division I track at a place that feels like home.