Girls Track: Yorkville distance star gives steeplechase a whirl, and wins national AAU title

SHARE Girls Track: Yorkville distance star gives steeplechase a whirl, and wins national AAU title
BOLLINGER_ABN_081014_630x420.jpg

Skyler Bollinger is no glutton for punishment, just talented at her craft.

The Yorkville distance runner extraordinaire, who has helped lead the Foxes to back-to-back IHSA Class 2A State Cross Country Championships, added a couple twists to her summer training in the past month as she prepared for her junior season.

Running the race for only the fourth time, last week she traveled to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and claimed a national title in the 2000-meter steeplechase.

Bollinger won the girls 15-16 division of the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games, finishing in 7:14.91, six-plus seconds ahead of runnerup Rachel Lau of Plainfield.

It came about a week after Bollinger won her 15-17 age group in the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon (13.1 miles).

“I enjoyed it more than open races,” Bollinger said of the steeplechase, which is just as much obstacle course as distance run, requiring competitors to clear five hurdles and a water pit each lap of the race.

“We don’t have it in high school (competition). It’s kind a fun to mix it up.”

Bollinger also qualified for the USATF nationals in Texas but chose not to make the trip.

“It’s something I might try in college if my college coach wanted me to run it,” Bollinger said of the race. “It’s tough, especially making the (water pit) jump when you get to that last lap.

“My high school coaches (Chris Muth for cross country, Ben Draper for track) didn’t really mind me doing it at all as long as I got my workouts in. I didn’t train specifically for the steeplechase, didn’t do any speed work, which is something I would do if I were focusing on it.”

Bollinger is a two-time all-state performer in cross country (5th and 16th, individually as a freshman and sophomore, respectively) and track (5th and 7th, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run).

In the half marathon, she finished in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 43 seconds.

She placed 138th of 13,864 competitors overall, 17th of 8,394 female runners and first of the 140 girls in the 15-17 division.

It’s the third time Bollinger has run the event, finishing 126th overall in 2013 and 331st in 2011.

Is there a full marathon in her future?

“Maybe in a while,” she said, “but not any time soon. It just wouldn’t be good for cross country training.”

Yorkville teammates Alexis Grandys finished 10th in the 1,500 for girls 15-16, finishing in 5:03.48, and Rachel Augius tied for 12th in the high jump for women 17-18, clearing 5-4.

The Latest
Officers responding to a call in the 2300 block of North Laramie Avenue about 7:02 p.m. Monday swerved to avoid hitting two people on a scooter. The squad car struck struck a parked car and caught fire.
Blue Demons can go all sorts of ways with successor for Stubblefield, but one coach stands out most
One person was killed and three others wounded in a shooting Monday in the 7100 block of South State Street, police said. The gunman was wounded and taken into custody. A second shooter is at large.
Last week, several people made antisemitic comments during the public comments portion of a City Council meeting. The speakers are affiliated with the Goyim Defense League, which the Anti-Defamation League calls a white supremacist hate group.
Whereas the Rams (27-7) looked a step slow and overwhelmed, the Broncos (29-7) were ferocious and took Monday’s 44-25 Class 3A super-sectionals game against the Rams to advance to the Illinois state semifinals in Bloomington-Normal.