The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by: Joanna Sholl, For The Quill
Two Saturdays ago, the Illini Girls Track team managed to pull off something that has never done before in area track history.
The tiny, but mighty team amassed enough team points to take the golden prize at the end of the meet; the Class 1A championship team trophy.
The state team, which consisted of only 6 athletes, and an alternate gathered points here and there to total the magic number of 52 points by the meet's end to edge out Jamaica Sidell by 5 points.
The Illini West girls competed in 9 events, and received awards in all 9 events. To say it was a team effort is an understatement.
Heading into the final event of the day, the team was down by 5 points, which meant that the Chargers needed to step up and get the win. They did not disappoint the crowd.
The 4x400m relay team of Michaela Gronewold, Aubrie Carlisle, Brianna Grotts, and Mariah Brodie have dominated this event all year. ( Zoey Hartrick was ready on the spot, as alternate if needed.)
They run with ease, handoff flawlessly, and make the grueling event look like a walk in the park.
On Saturday, when the chips were down, the team pulled together and did what they do best; they won their race, to secure the state championship.
Earlier in the day, Michaela Gronewold medaled with an 8th place finish in the 100m dash, Mariah Brodie finished 3rd to medal in the 800m race, and Junior Carly Garnett crossed the finish line in the 3200m run with a time of 11:30 for a 5th place medal.
Junior Megan McElroy once again brought her game face to the ring, and threw discus 130' for a 4th place medal.
McElroy set the school record earlier in the season with a throw of 140'3", and holds the Illini West school record.
The relay team that won the 4x400 also took 2nd place in the 4x100m relay race.
Carlisle, Grotts, Gronewold, and Brodie clocked a time of 49.8 seconds. The quartet, with a busy meet, also finished 3rd in the 4x200m relay with a time of 1:45.16.
In the 300 hurdles, Aubrie Carlisle finished with a 5th place medal, which was good enough for 5 team points. Carlisle had an ankle injury early in the season which prevented her from competing in hurdle events earlier this spring. She was thrilled with the top five finish at state, needless to say.
Last but not least, Carly Garnett finished her 2015 track season with an 8th place finish in the 1600m run.
Garnett, who was strong all season long in the distance events, came to prove she has what it takes to get in the finals and compete with the top distance runners in the state.
Unfortunately, the winning time for the mile came from a running phenom, which was 5:03. Garnett finished with a more than respectable 5:16, which is closer to the average state time for mile.