CHARLESTON, Ill. — Alexis Hyshaw has been here before, so she knows what time it is in Friday’s Class 3A girls state track and field preliminaries.
“Today is just about getting to the next round,” said the Lincoln-Way East senior, who was second in the 100-meter dash finals last year. “That’s all that today is about.”
Hyshaw is through — and she’ll have company.
The defending state champion Griffins have 10 finals qualifiers — seven in individual events and three relay teams — and are poised to repeat in Saturday’s finals at Eastern Illinois University.
The next highest representation comes from four schools with six events each.
Hyshaw, who anchored the 400 relay that ran a prelim-best 46.24 and also qualified by going 11.98 in the 100 and 24.71 in the 200, is ready to hoist another team trophy.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Hyshaw said. “Let it all hang out (Saturday).”
Teammate Meghan Marias is in the finals in the 100 with a prelim-best 11.88 and also in the 200, and Julia Junkroski qualified in the pole vault and high jump. Lincoln-Way East also qualified Ololade Ayoola in the high jump as well as its
400, 1,600 and 800 relays, the latter of which ran a Friday-best 1:39.27.
Lemont’s Vika Marmaite put up another eyeopening performance. The junior, who moved with her family from Lithuania in February, bested her school record of 39 feet, 6 inches in the triple jump by soaring to 39-7.
It was the top triple jump by two feet until Alton’s LaJarvia Brown popped a 40-31/2 on the day’s final attempt.
“It’s good. That’s all I have to say,” Marmaite said.
“You could tell right away it was a good one,” Lemont coach Tim Plotke said. “Now for her (Saturday) she can let it all hang out. If she doesn’t go over 40 feet so be it.”
Homewood-Flossmoor advanced in two relays and two individual events.
Vikings junior Jayla Stewart erased past disappointments. A girl fell in her lane and Stewart pulled a hamstring in the 100 hurdles prelims two years ago — Stewart didn’t make it to the finals — and she pulled a hamstring in the 400 at sectionals last year.
Friday she blazed to a 14.18, good for first in her heat and second-best overall to West Aurora standout Emma Spagnola.
“I’ve been wanting this so bad,” said Stewart, who also ran on H-F’s finals qualifying 400 and 800 relays. “It feels really good.”
H-F junior Antoinette Broughton, who anchored the 400 and 800 relays, also advanced in the 200.
Bloom will be running in four finals events, qualifying its 400 and 800 relays. Brittany Thomas ran lead on the 800 and also advanced in the 100 and 200. It’s the first time Thomas, a senior, had run at state.
“I wanted to make sure I executed out of the blocks,” Thomas said. “Running in three events (Saturday), that was the plan.”
Richards sophomore Kyla Jimmar set personal bests in all three races she ran Friday and will have the opportunity to do even better while going for her first state medal Saturday.
Jimmar qualified in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.77 and later ran 45.24 in the 300 lows.
“I got my lead leg down faster and I sprinted through the race,” Jimmar said after the 300.
Other area finals qualifiers included Lockport’s 3,200 relay, Lemont’s Jacque Desmond in the pole vault, Reavis’ Paulina Gal in the shot put, Thornwood’s Janez Winston in the discus, Sandburg’s Renee Letz in the 800, Crete-Monee’s Tineja Foy and Shepard’s Courtney Dalton in the 300 hurdles, Mother McAuley’s Briana Driver in the long jump and the Mighty Macs’ 800 relay anchored by Driver.