JOLIET – In its first year in the conference, Joliet Central played host to the Southwest Prairie Conference girls track and field meet Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
The meet originally was scheduled for Thursday; however moving up a day to take advantage of better weather conditions proved favorable for all teams involved.
After finishing runner-up for the past two seasons, Minooka claimed the team title with 122 points. Plainfield South was second (89), followed by Oswego East (71), Oswego (66) and Joliet West (63). Plainfield East, Romeoville, Plainfield North, Plainfield Central and Joliet Central rounded out the 10-team field.
“It’s great to win the conference meet,” Minooka coach Kevin Gummerson said. “It’s always a goal at the beginning of the season and the kids ran, jumped and threw well today. It was a total team effort and I’m proud of every one of them. This is a great steppingstone for next week’s sectional meet. But today both the varsity and junior varsity did it as a team.”
The Indians had seven individual champions on the day. Senior Mackenzie Callahan led Minooka with wins in the 800 (2:19.75) and 1,600 meters (5:05.33). She was joined by Ashley Tutt, Cierra Bachmann and Emily Johnson on the winning 4x400 relay (4:05.82). Sydney Andreano won the discus (110-101/2), Emily Shelton the 3,200 (10:44.66), Kylie Wissel the 300 hurdles (48.47) and Brooklyn Bachmann tied for the win in the pole vault (9-6).
South had Daijah Brown win the 400 (60.06) and Miranda Cadwell the shot put (38-0).
“Today was a fun day, our kids came and competed so well,” South coach Janeen Carlberg said. “This is such a great track conference, and we had many personal bests today. I can’t say enough about the effort of Daijah Brown. She wasn’t feeling well and just went out there and did what it took to win the 400 and run well.”
Melzina Johnson led Joliet West with a win in the long jump (17-81/4). La-Taydra Thompson won the 100 hurdles (15.82) and Rachel MacDowell jumped 9-6 in the pole vault to tie with Bachmann.
“I’m so happy to be back in this conference,” West coach Sally Pagnusat said. “It’s such a great network of local coaches. The camaraderie among the coaches and athletes is fantastic and that is because we are all so close in the area. It is truly a track and field conference.”
Romeoville dominated the sprints and short relays with Jahnetta Jones winning the 100 (12.42) and 200 (25.18). She was joined by Kiara Carter, Katie Kerwin and Kaniyah Rush to win both the 4x100 (48.61) and the 4x200 relays (1:42.11)
“Qualifying for state and not placing the last two years is a big motivator,” said Romeoville’s Rush, who anchored the victorious relays. “We really want to place at state and we have that confidence this season.”
Romeoville coach Michelle Tellez said the offseason was the key ingredient for the sprinters.
“The offseason conditioning and weightlifting our sprinters did is really paying off this season,” Tellez said. “We really worked on injury prevention, training hard, but getting the needed rest. The girls now compete without ever thinking about injury. They are in fantastic condition and it shows when they compete.”
Alexis Stevens won the high jump (5-3) for Plainfield East.
Minooka also won the junior varsity portion of the meet as the Indians scored 161.5 points.