Amid the Lincoln-Way East state qualifiers at the Class 3A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional, where the Griffins put themselves in position to chase another state title, H-F’s Jayla Stewart still stood out.
A year ago, Stewart suffered a pulled hamstring during the 400-meter relay and had to sit out the rest of the sectional meet.
“I couldn’t run at all,’’ she said. “I was very disappointed. I was crying and everything.’’
Stewart was smiling Thursday night when she raced to a sectional championship in the 100-meter hurdles (14.51 seconds). The H-F junior entered the meet with the top seed (14.17) and lived up to it.
Stewart saw this year’s sectional meet as a chance to make up for what happened to her last year.
“Yes, very much so,’’ she said. “From the moment I actually pulled my hamstring, I was ready to get back to work because I knew I would be able to get back and do much better.
“And so I did. I ended up working really hard in practice, getting my times down each time I ran.’’
Stewart also ran on H-F’s second-place 400 and 800 relays that qualified for the state meet next week.
As expected, Lincoln-Way East won the team championship of the 15-school meet with 148 points. H-F was second (69.33), Bloom third (67), Thornwood fourth (60) and Lincoln-Way Central fifth (53).
Alexis Hyshaw was a workhorse for East. She anchored the winning 400 relay (47.08), won the 100 meters (12.19) ahead of teammate Meghan Marias (12.20), won the 200 (25.13) barely ahead of H-F’s Antoinette Broughton (25.14) and came right back to anchor the second-place 1,600 relay to a state berth before she dropped in exhaustion.
“She doesn’t really question it. She just does it,’’ East coach Wendy Hegarty said of Hyshaw.
Other East winners were Julia Junkroski in the pole vault (13 feet, 6 inches) and high jump (5-3), Asia Brown in the 400 (59.67), the 800 relay (1:42.27) and 3,200 relay (9:43.42).
“This meet moved along really quick and the girls stayed on top of their game,’’ Hegarty said.
Crete-Monee’s Tineja Foy put together an impressive performance. She was second in the 100 hurdles (15.20), third in the 300 hurdles with a 46.82 qualifying time and she ran on the 400 relay that clocked 49.16 to beat the 49.44 standard. H-F’s 400 relay was second.
Thornwood senior Janeah Stewart, seventh in the state shot put last year, earned her second sectional title with a 38-9 on her next-to-last effort.
“Basically, I was just trying to get the technique right,’’ Stewart said. “My coach told me on the throw before that to keep my chest up and to grunt. I did those two and it came out pretty good.’’
Thornwood’s Janez Winston won the discus (122-6) and teammate Janaia Carter won the 300 hurdles (46.32).
Bloom’s 1,600 relay foursome of Kierra Griggs, Sullibet Ramirez, Angelique Hamilton and Jazzmin Ruiz finished the meet with a first-place finish in 4:00.06.
Ramirez also had a first-place finish in the 800 (2:22.88).