Cardinal Classic, 3.1.2018

Post date: Mar 2, 2018 4:37:24 PM

The Minooka girls track and field team that competed in the Cardinal Classic at North Central College looked very different from the one that first stepped on a track 19 days earlier.

In a good way.

Minooka scored 26.5 points and finished 11th in a tough 15-team meet. Acknowledging the high quality of teams at this meet, Coach Gummerson commented, “I think we scored more points at state than we did at this meet last year.”

FACT CHECK: Gummerson is misremembering. In 2017, Minooka scored 14 points at the IHSA State Finals and 29.5 points in the Cardinal Classic. In fact, since we began competing at the Cardinal Classic in 2015, we have always scored more points there than at the state meet. It just feels like we don’t because the Cardinal Classic is darn so competitive. The 2018 Minooka point total at the Cardinal Classic was similar to that of previous years.

In addition to the 14 other competitive teams there, Minooka was also competing against its own ghosts. By the end of the night, there were 12 new entries on Minooka’s Top 5 Indoor Bests Leaderboard. Of the 12, four were at the varsity level, five were at the fresh/soph level, and three were at the freshman level.

That night in the Al B. Carius Field House, we had three freshman indoor school record-holders in the pole vault: Katelyn Gall, who tied the record in 2016; Bethany Bachmann, who set the record in 2011 and was working the long jump pit as part of NCC’s track team; and Ava Bezaire, who set a new record of 9-0.

Alexis Mata would have the new freshman indoor school record in the 200-meter dash if her teammate Jenna Seloover wouldn’t have run 0.08 seconds faster just a few minutes prior. Two freshman in one year at the top of the leaderboard in the 200 is encouraging.

Minooka also tallied 26 individual personal bests and one season best for a relay. In analyzing all those performances, there was a noticeable difference from the first meet just 19 days prior.

Athletes ran strong down the final stretch of their races. Where earlier we had seen runners fading at the finish, their work has started to catch up with them and shown in their performances.

Relay handoffs were faster and crisper. When Makayla Roberts handed off to Mata in the 4x200-meter relay, Minooka easily picked up a beat on the rest of the teams because of how quick and clean the exchange was.

More confidence was evident in the field events. Athletes were no longer tentative and just feeling out their events. They were attacking them with gusto.

One example: Hailey Justak and Emily Goggins had personal bests throwing in their fairly new event of shot put.

Another example: Allison Sartorelli and Brooke McNally took some things they’d worked on in practice and confidently turned them into personal bests in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. (Sartorelli: “I jumped 14-5.5. That doesn’t seem right.” Me: “It’s right. It was a really good jump. You’re looking good out there.”)

Emily Shelton notched the only victory of the night. In another tough race, she ran a strong 10:58.61 in the 3200-meter run while all those field events were still competing. Later, she showed some pop anchoring the 4x400-meter relay, a team that had three runners with personal best indoor splits (Emma Wiegmann, Lauren Widlowski, and Gall).

But possibly the most impressive performance was from Eryn Renison, who collected three personal bests on the night. In the 55-meter dash, she finished 7th at the meet and put herself tied for 2nd all-time for Minooka. In the 400-meter dash, she finished 2nd in a tight race and climbed to 2nd on the Minooka leaderboard. Later, she finished the night with her third personal best of the meet in the 200-meter dash.

If the pieces were scattered all over the field house at the first meet, then many were starting to fall into place at the Cardinal Classic. Coaches were extremely pleased with performances. With still a long season ahead, the girls have established a strong foundation to continue building upon.

Go Minooka!

– Coach Thomas