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Girls track and field dominate the 3A Wheaton Warrensville South sectional meet

Senior+Katherine+Tomaska+sprints+her+way+to+the+front+of+the+lead+pack+during+her+leg+of+the+state+qualifying+4x800+meter+relay%2C+prompting+her+competitors+to+try+and+keep+up+with+her.+May+10%2C+2018.+
Senior Katherine Tomaska sprints her way to the front of the lead pack during her leg of the state qualifying 4x800 meter relay, prompting her competitors to try and keep up with her. May 10, 2018.

Senior Katherine Tomaska sprints her way to the front of the lead pack during her leg of the state qualifying 4x800 meter relay, prompting her competitors to try and keep up with her. May 10, 2018.

Photo courtesy of Milesplit IL

Photo courtesy of Milesplit IL

Senior Katherine Tomaska sprints her way to the front of the lead pack during her leg of the state qualifying 4x800 meter relay, prompting her competitors to try and keep up with her. May 10, 2018.

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When you think of the York girls track and field program, many things may come to mind such as winning, success, or talent. But after Thurs. May 10, the word “state” will forever be associated with the team. Despite the sectional meet being on a Thursday night when a majority of the team’s meets have been on Fridays or Saturdays, the girls track and field program was able to qualify 17 girls to go down to the state meet, more girls than any other season in the recent years.

Two of the team’s relays, the 4×800 meter relay, which placed first with a time of 9:23.72, and the 4×400 meter relay, which placed seventh with a time of 4:03.79, both qualified for the state meet. The girls in both of these relays worked extremely hard both indoor and outdoor season to drop their times in their open and relay events, and it paid off with both relays running season record times.

“I am so proud of the entire team, especially our 4×8 because we were able to run our best time of the season at such an important meet,” senior Katherine Tomaska said.

Junior Sarah May started off the 4×800 meter relay, running an unofficial split time of 2:19, which placed the York runners in a great position to start moving their way to the front of the pack. Senior Katherine Tomaska received the baton from May and fortunately, this time did not lose her shoe during the handoffs. Tomaska fought her way to the front and strategically passed her competitors, showing them just how strong of a runner she is. She then passed the baton onto sophomore Emma Kern, who in return, held onto Tomaska’s position and pushed the pace into her last lap. With the image of once again running on the big blue track at EIU, Kern kicked it in on the final straightaway to give the baton to sophomore Lydia Hickey. Once Hickey, arguably the biggest powerhouse in not only the 4×800 meter relay but the entire team, got ahold of the baton, it was all over. She completely annihilated her competitors, finishing more than three seconds faster than the second place team.

Photo courtesy of Milesplit IL
Sophomore Lydia Hickey looks incredibly strong as she rounds the curve of the second lap of her leg in the state qualifying 4×800 meter relay. May 10, 2018

“We were really hoping to qualify both the 4×400 and 4×800, but since we hadn’t hit the state qualifying time in the 4×400 before, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do it,” Hickey said. “When we saw the time on the clock and realized that we qualified, the level of excitement we had was indescribable.”

Hickey not only ran in the state qualifying 4×800 meter team, but she also anchored in the 4×400 meter state qualifying team. The relay team, composed of freshman Sydney Malaga and sophomores Bella Walker, Marissa Chavez, and Hickey, ran more than four seconds faster than their previous season record set at the West Suburban Conference meet, almost unheard of in the sport of track and field. The girls had their minds set on hitting that infamous time of 4:04.53 all season, and ended up running almost a second faster than that at the sectional meet. Having never run the state qualifying time before, it was extremely intimidating for the girls to set a goal so high, but being the hardworking and dedicated athletes that they are, they were able to come together and exceed it, inspiring all of their teammates in the process.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Chavez
The state qualifying 4×400 meter relay team, composed of (from left to right) freshman Sydney Malaga, sophomore Marissa Chavez, sophomore Bella Walker and sophomore Lydia Hickey, pose for a picture with the baton used in the race after learning that they have qualified. May 10, 2018.

“We ran a really great race at sectionals, but I know that we can drop our time even more at the state meet,” Malaga said. “I think we can get each leg under a sub-60 (seconds), which would put us in a really great position at state.”

The team not only had two relays qualify, but they had four athletes qualify for individual events.

Senior Molly Evans once again qualified for the state meet in the triple jump with a jump of 36’-04.50, continuing to push the limit of how far she can leap. She has broken numerous records this season, including the long-standing indoor triple jump fieldhouse record. Evans has not only proven her work ethic and talent this year, but she has shown her true character. As the jumps captain, Evans has risen as a true leader, making team announcements and taking underclassmen under her wing. It is unfortunate that this will be her last season jumping as a York Duke, but Evans has definitely left her mark on both the team and the sandpit and will continue to break records jumping in college for Marquette.

“I am mind-blown by how well our team performed tonight,” Evans said. “Almost everyone met or exceeded their personal records, which is incredible. I jumped my season PR in triple jump and qualified for state, which has been a goal of mine ever since I qualified last year and I am so excited to be going back again one last time.”

Photo courtesy of Milesplit IL
Sophomore Zoe Clark leaps into the sand pit, extending her legs to try and lengthen her jump. May 10, 2018.

Sophomore Zoe Clark, had an incredibly remarkable performance in the long jump pit. With her previous personal record at 16’-0.25, Clark had her eyes set on the state qualifying length of 17”-06 all season. She went into the meet focused and prepared for the task ahead of her, and it paid off. On her last jump, she hit 17’-06, a huge lifetime record, automatically qualifying her for the state meet. There’s no stopping Clark as she continues to jump farther and farther into the long jump pit and great things are expected for this talented jumper throughout the state series and the next two years of her high school career.

“Coming into sectionals, my goal was to clear 17’-0” feet because my PR (personal record) was 16’-9”,” Clark said. “I ended up jumping 17’-06” on my last attempt, which I wasn’t expecting at all. I am so excited to be going down to state with all of my teammates and my goal is to try and jump farther than 17’-06” and get another PR.

Freshman Lilly Curry truly was a standout star this meet. Going into it, Curry had never cleared 5’-0”, let alone the state qualifying height of 5’-02” and didn’t think she was going to qualify. As the heights kept getting higher and Curry kept clearing the bar, she realized that she had a real chance of going to the state meet. When the bar was moved up to 5’-2” and Curry cleared it with ease, the realization hit her – she was going to state. She was the first athlete to qualify and set the positive and excited tone for the rest of the meet, which inspired so many of their teammates to run, jump and throw their own personal records.

“Of course I’ve really wanted to go to state all season, but I never thought that I would be qualifying for state as a freshman,” Curry said. “I wasn’t feeling so confident at the start of the high jump and during warm-ups, I was really unsure of how it was going to go, but when I started jumping I started feeling a lot better. It still hasn’t really sunk into me yet that I am going to be jumping in state. 5’-2” was a lifetime PR (personal record) for me so if I could hit that at state, that would be awesome, but I am just so happy that I qualified.”

Photo courtesy of Milesplit IL
Junior Sarah May strides for the last few meters of her race with her eyes locked on the finish line. May 10, 2018.

Junior Sarah May not only qualified for state in the 4×800 meter relay, but she individually qualified for the 1600 under the lights of Red Grange Field. All season, May was determined to qualify for the mile and through her hard work and dedication to the sport of track and field, she was able to accomplish her goal. May ran a 5:06.64, putting her in fourth place, not far from some of the fastest runners in the country. She came off a very successful cross country season, determined to keep improving and dropping her time, which pushed her teammates to follow in her footsteps. This will be the third time May will be heading back to the EIU track, and she is ready to make this state her best one yet.

“I definitely had a lot of nerves going into this meet, but once I got there, they all went away,” May said. “There were a lot of good vibes going on in the 4×8, which pumped me up for my mile and I ended up running a season PR of 5:06.64. I really think that we have a shot of getting all-state for our 4×800 meter relay this year and as an individual, my goal is to qualify for the 1600 meter finals on Saturday and get all-state.”

After all of the blood, sweat and tears shed by both athletes and coaches, Coaches Keegan Kilrea and Ashley Tucker were met with an impressive 10th place finish and the more girls qualifying for the state meet than either one of their years coaching at York. Both coaches were incredibly proud of their athletes, both qualifying and non-qualifying, and were apart of each celebration after an athlete qualified.

“I am so proud of every single girl that competed,” Kilrea said. “The girls were incredibly supportive of one another and came together and believed in each other, which proves that great things can happen when everybody believes.”

Now that the initial shock and excitement of qualifying is over, the coaches have refocused their athletes back onto their performances at state and are encouraging them to strive to get to Saturday, the day of state finals.

“I want us to go down to state and do something more meaningful than we’ve ever done before,” Tucker said. “I want to be able to drive home feeling good about what happened and know that we left everything out on that track.”

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About the Writer
Sarah Pinkowski, Features Editor

Sarah Pinkowski is a senior and is ecstatic for her second year on the York-Hi staff and her first year as a features editor. She is heavily involved...

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Girls track and field dominate the 3A Wheaton Warrensville South sectional meet