MANLIUS – Two Amboy-LaMoille girls’ track team members are headed to the state meet after their performances in the Bureau Valley Class 1A Girls’ Sectional Track & Field Meet on May 11 at Manlius.
Sophomore Elly Jones led the Lady Clippers as she finished first in three events and was third in another, qualifying for state in all four events. Senior Lauren Althaus also punched a ticket to state after a first- and second-place finish.
Jones took top honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.23 and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.40. In field events, she bested the rest of the competitors in the long jump with an effort of 16-6 and grabbed third place in the triple jump with a leap of 34-3. Jones’ triple jump measurement exceeded the state qualifying standard of 33-11.
Althaus was the first runner to cross the finish line in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.6 and she placed second in the 200-meter dash in 1:01.24.
The Lady Clippers were fifth in the team standings with 56 points. Kewanee Wethersfield won the sectional title with 125 points, followed by Erie-Prophetstown (83), Fulton (79) and Indian Creek (59).
Althaus is elated that she was able to finish first in an event in her senior year.
“It’s a great feeling to have, especially since this is my last year and I’ve been doing it for the last seven or eight years,” Althaus said. “It’s a good closure to the sport. I left all I had on the track. The competition at sectional was tough, but I kept up with the runners. There was a girl in the 400 and another girl in the 200 who were neck to neck with me. Once I saw a girl out of the corner of my eye, I took off. I gave it all I got.
“I haven’t won a sectional event before. I’ve been pretty close, but I haven’t actually won one. It’s my senior year and I came out on top. There’s no place to go now other than state. I put in a lot of hard work and dedication. I feel like the hard work has paid off.”
Jones said she worked hard in the off-season on refining her technique in the hurdles and that paid dividends when it came time to compete.
“It’s a good feeling to be the best,” noted Jones. “I have to work for it and it’s motivation to keep getting better each year. In the offseason and in practices through the year, I did a lot of technique exercises. I had the basics down, but I had to make sure I had the little things right. That definitely helped me a lot this season.
“I had a lot of competition in the 300 hurdles at sectional this year. I was a little nervous because coming around the last corner I was in fourth. I really had to pull away at the end to walk away the winner. In triple jump, I got third, but I figured I wouldn’t jump anymore because I had a state qualifying mark.”
Head coach Michael Robinson said both of his state qualifiers rise to the occasion when the heat is on, and that’s exactly what they did in the sectional meet.
“You know they’re going to step up when the time comes,” he said. “They’re going to compete. Lauren likes to complain that she can’t run when it’s cold. Sectional was a perfect example for her because as the heat rose, she did too. In the 200, she bumped herself up to No. 2 on the all-time school record behind Erika Zimmerlein. Those are pretty big shoes to compare.
“Elly is a gamer. When it’s time to compete, she always steps up. We had some questions coming in. There were some concerns about the 300 hurdles since she was seeded third. She won the sectional title. They both knew what they needed to do coming in and they stepped up and did it.”
Heading into the state meet, Althaus has the 10th best time in the 200 and the 11th best time in the 400. Jones has the ninth best time in the 100 hurdles, 29th in the 300 hurdles, 15th best distance in the long jump and ninth in the triple jump.
The IHSA State Track & Field Meet will be held May 19-21 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Bureau Valley Sectional
Kewanee Wethersfield 125, Erie-Prophetstown 83, Fulton 79, Indian Creek 59, Amboy-LaMoille 56, St. Bede 46, Bureau Valley 18, Riverdale 17, Milledgeville 15, Sterling Newman 13, Ottawa Marquette 12, Hall 12, Cambridge 6, Morrison 5, Putnam County 2
A-L 1st place: *Lauren Althaus, 200m dash, 26.6; *Elly Jones, 100m hurdles, 16.23; *Jones, 300m hurdles, 50.40; *Jones, long jump, 16-6
A-L 2nd place: *Althaus, 400m dash, 1:01.24
A-L 3rd place: *Jones, triple jump, 34-3
A-L 5th place: Taylor Jahn, 800m run, 2:51.27; Lexi Ketchum, high jump, 4-5
A-L 6th place: 4x400m relay (Lily Searing, Jahn, Ketchum, Althaus), 4:52.65
A-L 7th place: Ketchum, 2:55.58
A-L 9th place: 4x200m relay (Dezi Cater, Reilly Schafer, Skyler Ware, Mallory Henert), 2:13.9; Laela Shevokas, shot put, 29-0
(* indicates state qualifier)