Natasha Brown’s 200 title takes Aurora Christian to 1A state championship

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CHARLESTON, Ill. —Now they have a matched set.

Junior Natasha Brown’s win in the 200-meter dash of the Class 1A girls track and field state meet followed four seconds and a third by her teammates Saturday and clinched the team title for Eagles coach Anna McQuade.

“When Natalie came out for the 200, everybody was praying for her and she ran a great time (25.37) and finished strong and as soon as she crossed the line we were good,” said McQuade, whose team finished with 49 points to edge Tremont (45) and Sullivan (44) for the title.

McQuade was a freshman runner on Aurora Christian’s first team in 2005, contributed to a runner-up finish in 2006 and coached last year’s third-place team in her first season as coach that gives the young program three state team trophies.

Senior Peyton Wade, the Maryland recruit, had a big day for the Eagles, taking second in the long jump (18-2), second in the high jump (5-7) and third in the 100 high hurdles (15.22).

The Eagles also got runner-up finishes from the 400 and 800 relays that included the same four girls: Alyssa Andersen, Meghan Hagerty, Hope Montalbano and Brown.

“Natasha Brown and Alyssa Andersen weren’t even sure they were coming out for track this year,” McQuade said. “Alyssa was thinking about focusing on basketball. Natasha, who is a very good student, was thinking of focusing on her school work.”

Aurora Central’s Karina Liz had no doubts and completed her quest after last year’s runner-up finish in the 800 to headline area finishers in 2A competition at Eastern Illinois University.

Liz fought for the lead after 200 meters, took the lead with 150 and led the rest of the way and finished in a record time of 2:10.73. It eclipsed the mark of 2:10.78 set last year by Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs.

It capped an undefeated season in the race for Liz, who wasn’t taking a win for granted.

“I wanted to lead the race from the very beginning, once I got it I wanted to hold it and finish strong,” Liz said. “You might be ranked No. 1 but all these girls are good.”

Kaneland, which got big performances from freshman Nicole Sreenan, finished 11th with 21 points while ACC got 10 from Liz to tie Rosary, among others, for 28th place.

Sreenan took third in the 400, eighth in the 100 and ran a leg on the team’s 400 relay that took sixth and 1,600 relay that finished seventh.

The 400 team included Carly Elliott, Allie Heinzer and Lauren Zick. The 1,600 group featured Oliva Galor, Heinzer and Sydney Strang.

The Royals got a fifth from Sarah Nyaeme in the triple jump, seventh from Madison Ronzone in the 1,600 and eighth from its 1,600 relay of

Emily Bakala, Molly Stefanski, Shea Vero and Abby Hammer.

Also in 1A, Hinckley-Big Rock’s Audrey Harrod was sixth in the 800 and Indian Creek’s Chantel Kyler was sixth in the high jump.

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