Even shorthanded, the Aurora Christian girls proved Saturday they can be a force by winning the Plano Track and Field of Dreams Invitational.
Senior standout and Maryland recruit Peyton Wade has been slowed by a hamstring injury and did not participate in her usual hurdles races.
She was limited to the high jump, which she won clearing 5-6, and the future heptathlete added a fourth in the shot put.
“(Wade) has been out a while but is making progress with her therapy and the doctor says she’ll be ready to hurdle in another week,” Aurora Christian coach Anna McQuade said. “Meanwhile, we had other girls step up and do the job.”
Key was the performance of a thrown-together 1,600 relay team that eked out a second-place finish to allow the Eagles to hold off Lowell (Ind.), 123-122 for the team title.
“If we had finished third we wouldn’t have won,” McQuade said.
Mendota was third with 90 points and Plano fourth at 87.
Becca Wert, who also took first in the 800 and second in the 1,600, was the only regular in the Eagles’ 1,600 unit. Hope Montalbano and Alyssa Andersen, who sometimes run it, were joined by newcomer Carolyn Logsdon.
“Andersen really closed the gap on the anchor leg and Logsdon surprised us with a nice 400,” McQuade said.
The foursome of Andersen, Brown, Hagerty and Montalbano also teamed up to capture both sprint relays for the Eagles. Hagerty won the pole vault and Brown took first in the 200 and second in the 100.
Plano’s Alexis Smith (16-1) won the long jump and Ijeoma Agomo, who preceded the meet with an excellent rendition of the national anthem, took the triple jump (35-6).
On the boys side, a senior quartet showed why they’ve been dubbed the “Fearsome Four” by leading the host Reapers to the team title.
Reaper senior Jon McDermott won both the long jump (21-8) and triple jump (45-1) and set meet records while tying the school records he already held in both events.
“It’s kind of upsetting because I wanted to extend those school records,” he said. “I wasn’t satisfied.”
Teammate Javon Montgomery was also a double winner, taking the 100-meter dash (11.31) and the 200 (23.08).
Those two also joined Weslye Brown and Shaun Wollenweber in the 400 and 800 relays. It’s the same quartet that qualified for state last year in both.
They won the 800 in 1:32.20 and would have won the 400 walking away, but McDermott took a tumble several steps after handing off the baton and was disqualified because his arm ended up outside his lane when he fell.
“I just wiped out,” he said. “Everyone was nice about it, saying better to happen here than at sectional or state.”
Sophomore Tommy Brown also picked up a win for Plano in the shot put (45-10).
“That’s a nice 1-2 punch with Jon and Javon,” Plano coach Brad Kunz said. “Combined with their relays, they’re often good for 40 points.”
The Plano boys finished with 157 points, topping runner-up Mendota by 24.
Joe Feemorlu won both hurdles races and Wal Khat took the 800 and 1,600 to lead Mooseheart to third with 122. Jonah Walker won the discus (160-11) and freshman Tanner Chada went the distance, taking first in the 3,200 and second in both the 800 and 1,600 as ACS took sixth with 55 points.