CHARLESTON, Ill. — Southland teams have been battling all season for supremacy, and the Class 2A preliminaries Friday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field got them one step closer to the finish line.
Eleven individuals and one relay team punched their tickets for Saturday’s state finals.
Even though she is competing with an injured knee, Rich South’s Dasia Evans, advanced in the high jump and 400-meter dash. Every competitor who advanced in the high jump recorded a leap of five feet. She finished the 400 in 57.84 seconds, good for the fifth fastest time of the day.
“I could feel the knee injury today, especially in the high jump,” Evans said. “I can jump 5-7 and hope to do that today. In the 400-meter, I just wanted to stay with lane 5. I did that for the most part.”
She will not be lacking for local competition in the 400. Bremen’s Christyle Smith and Morgan Park’s Kelsey Ferguson also advanced. Ferguson had the fourth fastest time of the day, clocking 56.60, while Smith, a senior, finished in 57.84, the sixth fastest time.
“I made it today because of last year,” Ferguson said. “I missed qualifying for the finals by a one-tenth of a second. Everyone wants to win a state championship and I do as well. I want to run under 55 seconds. That is my goal.”
“This is the fastest time of my career,” Smith said. “I started off very conservative and I won’t do that in the finals. Lane 6 was my perfect position. I could hear some of them behind me and I could see some in front of me. Both things made me run faster. I want to improve by two spots and get at least fourth.”
De La Salle freshman Jaimie Robinson recorded with the second best triple jump of the day, leaping 37 feet, 6.5 inches. She trails only Peoria Notre Dame sophomore Vicky Gruszka, who jumped 37-8.5.
Thornridge senior Tatayanna Groom finished with the fifth fastest time of the day in the 300-meter hurdles, running a 46.37.