Neuqua Valley senior sprinter and jumper Savannah Carson described her relationship to sophomore teammate Maya Neal as “sort of big sister-little sister.”
The “track sisters” got some help from teammates and delivered Neuqua Valley its second straight Upstate Eight Conference indoor track and field championship Friday at Batavia with 109 points to St. Charles East’s 107. A 1-2 finish by Carson and Neal in the 200-meter dash gave the Wildcats a 11-point lead going into the final event with only 10 left going to the Saints as winners in the 1,600 relay.
“Those two were amazing all day long,” Neuqua Valley coach Gretchen Parejko said. “It didn’t matter what event they were in: sprinting, hurdling, long jumping.
“Whatever they want to put their mind to, those two will accomplish it.”
They did it with conference record time and distance, too. Neal broke a record in the 55-meter hurdles that she set last year as a freshman, clocking an 8.43. She broke the record by .15 seconds. Carson long jumped a record 19 feet, 3.75 inches, which was just three-quarters of an inch off the distance she had when she won the state outdoor title last May.
“I still think I have a lot of work to do — I really do with my running,” said Carson, who set the long jump mark on her first effort of the meet.
“The one thing I will say about my jump that was different was my mark was actually on. That was the only difference between that and my other jumps.”
When Carson won the long jump, Neal took second (18-10.5). When Carson won the 200 meters in 25.63, Neal was .07 behind her in second. Carson won the 55 dash in 7.13 seconds. Neal took second in the 400 meters (58.29), just behind St. Charles East’s Jordan Shead (57.98).
Like Carson, Neal expects much better.
“At this point I wanted to be a little faster,” she said. “I’m not really where I wanted to be at this point in the indoor season but I still see myself only going up from here.
“My career best in the (hurdles) is 8.18 and I really wanted to be at 8.1. I felt like I got slower in the finals than in the prelims because I guess the adrenaline was pumping more in prelims.”
Parejko credited freshman Kenna Lonergan with scoring big points in the high jump and hurdles. She was third in the hurdles behind Neal, but in the high jump finished second to Lake Park senior Tyshai Freeman at 5-4. She actually cleared 5-4, which matched the meet record Freeman had set last year, but Freeman got the victory with fewer misses.
“She has tremendous upside,” Neal said. “She’ll be great to bring the team up after I’m graduated, just like it is with Savannah and me.”
Batavia pole vaulter Skylar Schoen beat her own previous best by six inches at 11-6 and broke a meet record by six inches, but didn’t get the victory because Lake Park’s Maya Golliday had missed at a lower height more often. They both beat the fieldhouse record too.
“I’ve been waiting for (Golliday) all indoor season because I basically haven’t had that much competition,” Schoen said. “It’s always good to have that competition
“Getting a field house record is big for me. It was a big day. Now I want to be going after 12 feet.”
Batavia had 32 points for sixth in the meet. Metea Valley finished fifth with 45 and was led by a 1,600 relay team that finished second (4:16.17) and thirds from Kendall Cast in the 3,200 (11:33.4) and its 800 relay team (1:52.45).
Geneva was seventh with 19, led by a second from Kathryn Adelman in the 1,600 (5:16.43) and fourth from freshman Foster Ignoffo in the 400 (1:00.63). Waubonsie Valley had 10 points for eighth, with eight points coming from Alli Wilson’s runner-up finish in the 3,200 (11:26.47).