The four-peat was never in doubt.
A St. Charles East quartet obliterated the meet record by 16 seconds in the 3,200 relay, the opening event of the finals at the 37th annual Kane County Girls Track Invitational Friday night in Geneva, but West Aurora sprinters answered the challenge with a win in the 400 relay in the next event.
Junior standout Emma Spagnola then accounted for 36 team points with three individual wins — 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump — and a third-place finish in the high jump to lead the Blackhawks to the team title for the fourth straight year with 131 points.
The Saints, who also got wins from their 1,600 relay, discus thrower Amber Passaglia and Torree Scull in the 1,600, were second with 100.5 points. Scull led off the record-setting relay and was followed by Corrin Adams, Jordan Shead and Britney Williams. Anastasia Honea and Allison Chelik joined Williams and Shead on the 1,600 relay.
Kaneland, which got its lone win from triple-jumper Asheley Castellanos (35-0), was third with 83. Hampshire (71), Geneva (69), Batavia (54), St. Charles North (49.5) Rosary (47), Burlington Central (46) and Aurora Central (30) rounded out the top 10 in the 15-team meet.
“I’m just happy we were able to get out and run the meet,” said West Aurora coach Teresa Towles, whose team has been idled by weather-related postponements for two weeks and enjoyed the nice spring day.
“That was horrible when we didn’t get to run,” said Spagnola, whose winning times of 15.12 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 45.31 in the 300, gave her winning margins of 1.6 and 2.0 seconds, respectively.
“It was a lot warmer than it’s been so I ran a lot harder. I’ve been working on technique for the 100s and mostly looking for time. It’s tougher [not being pushed] but I push myself.”
Saffa won the 100 dash in 12.44, a margin of .37 of a second over Aurora Central runnerup Lisa Rodriguez, but the Charger runner came back to win the 200 (25.74).
Saffa, who has been bothered by a strained Achilles’ tendon, was fourth in the 200, second in the 400 and ran a leg of the 400 relay. She was joined on that unit by Monique Dunum, Elisa Zinn and Tykia Neal — they ran a 49.5.
‘That [time] needs to come down but it’s a nice start, a very nice start,” said Towles.
Maya Marion notched the Blackhawks’ other win, with a throw of 41-10 in the shot. She added a personal best of 124-2 in the discus to take second.
“It’s been better,” Saffa said of her ailing tendon. “I wasn’t mentally prepared to run three individual races tonight. I need to ice and stretch it better. This was a good wakeup call.”
Aurora Central freshman Karina Liz won the 800 in a personal best 2:15.58, which was a mere .06 of a second off the meet record. Burlington Central junior Kayla Wolf took second in 2:18.02.
“She beat me in that race at indoor state. She’s a really good runner,” said Liz. “I was really determined I wasn’t going to let her pass me. I kept thinking she’d pass me but it never happened.”
Rodriguez said her goal was to finish in the top two in the 200.
“This is the big dogs for us. You’re running against the best (with strong Class 3A competition in the field),” said Rodriguez, whose team competes in 2A in the postseason. “I was in lane 3 for the final and could see runner on both sides and that really helped pushed me as I was coming around the curve for the final 100.”
Rosary got a win from its 800 relay of Sydney Zaragoza, Molly Stefanski, Stephanie McDermott and Megan Conlin.
“The really put it together,” said Royals coach Vic Mead. “We’ve been waiting for one of those. They’re running a little bit better at this time than they did last year. This group set the school record at state last year and they weren’t far from it tonight.”