Emma Spagnola sparks West Aurora to Kane County title

SHARE Emma Spagnola sparks West Aurora to Kane County title
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It was the same old, same old with a few twists of new at Friday’s 39th annual Kane County Girls Track Meet.

West Aurora, paced by two record-setting performances from among senior Emma Spagnola’s three individual wins, won the team title for the fifth straight year.

The Blackhawks piled up 137 points to roll past runner-up and host Kaneland, which had 92 and edged St. Charles East by one point.

“We’ve still got some work to do with the relays, but overall, I’m very proud of the girls,” West coach Teresa Towles said.

Geneva (81.67), Aurora Christian (61.5), Batavia (47.5), Rosary (43), St. Charles North (40), Burlington Central (32) and Streamwood (27) rounded out the top 10 in the 14-team meet. Hampshire, which had a conflict with its prom, did not compete.

Spagnola had a season-best of 18 feet 9.5 inches to win the long jump and won the 300 hurdles in 44.29 seconds, setting meet records in both. The former erased a 22-year-old mark of 18-2.75 set in 1992 by Monica McCullough of IMSA and the latter a 10-year-old standard of 44.53 set by Dundee-Crown’s Lynsey Ruck.

Spagnola also won the 100 hurdles in a season-best 14.27 seconds that should move to the top of the list in the DyeStat IL state rankings.

“I was actually expecting to go faster,” said Spagnola, who also ran a leg of the Blackhawks’ runnerup 1,600 relay. “I should be running my fastest by sectional in my individual races and I think I’ll be running that relay at sectional, too.”

Aurora Central sophomore Karina Liz was responsible for the other meet record. She won the 800 in 2;14.69 to eclipse the mark of 2:15.58 she set in winning the event last year.

“I didn’t realize I had the record,” a surprised Liz said.

She trailed St. Charles East’s Jordan Shead entering the final lap but overtook her with about 100 meters remaining.

“She kicked early, with about 450 meters left and I started to go with her but held back, so I’d have something at the end,” Liz said. “I love to lead but it really helped me as far as pace.”

Kaneland senior sprinter Lauren Zick went out in style in her final home meet, winning both the 100 (12.81) and 200 (25.95) and notching seconds in the long jump (17-11) and as a member of the Knights’ 400 relay.

“We usually don’t have sprinters like that at Kaneland. Now we do,” coach Doug Ecker said. “I don’t think anyone (from Kaneland) has won both the one and two at this meet.

“She had a nice long jump, too, and did a nice job of leading us.”

The Saints, who will get another shot at the Blackhawks in two weeks at the Metea Valley Sectional, won all three sprint relays but didn’t have enough healthy bodies to make a run for the team title.

“I had 26 kids miss school this week with sickness and yesterday 13 were still out,” said coach Tim Wolf, who shuffled some relay lineups and got strong efforts.

Kim Abels, Shead, Casey McNichols and Allison Chmelik won the 400 in 50.25 seconds, Abels and Cmelik were joined by Keeley Flanigan and Elizabeth Chmelik in winning the 800 in 1:47.43; and freshman Kathleen Strohaker joined Shead and the Chmelik’s in winning the 1,600 in 4:00.41.

Streamwood’s Gabby Juarez cruised in the 3,200, winning in 10:59.97 and probably could have set a meet record if she had been pushed. As it was, she was a mere .37 off the mark.

West Aurora also got indvidual wins from Nadine Dunsing in the pole vault (10-0), Maya Marion in the shot put (41-0) and SaMaya Hunt in the discus (117-11).

Geneva got wins from Foster Ignoffo (5858) in the 400 and Kathryn Adelman in the 1,600 (5:20.84).

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