The Highland High School girls track and field team served as rude hosts as the Lady Bulldogs used their team depth to overwhelm four area opponents to win a five-team home meet Wednesday, March 28.
Highland racked up six first-place finishes en route to piling up a final team score of 128, which was 46 points ahead of the Breese Central Cougars' second-place total of 82. The East Alton-Wood River Oilers came in third place at 65. The Wesclin Warriors wound up fourth at 59, and the Columbia Eagles rounded out the the meet in a distant fifth place with 14 points.
"The girls were so tough tonight," Highland coach Doug Bradley said. "They had a great attitude and gave effort on a miserable weather night. Depth was so important, and it was critical tonight."
The Lady Bulldogs won two of the four relay races, opening the meet with a first-place finish in the 4 x 800-meter relay race and then closing the meet with an exclamation point by taking the title in the 4 x 400-meter relay race.
Highland's 4 x 800 team of sophomore Samantha Hengehold, freshman Julia Loeh, junior Mackenzie Schoeck and freshman Grace Meyer posted a winning team time of 11:45.4, while the meet-ending 4 x 400 team of freshman Taylor Kesner, freshman Paige Schaible, freshman Bella LaPorta and senior Rece Portell joined forces for a victorious time of 4:39.8.
Hengehold also captured the championship in the 800-meter run with a two-lap time of 2:44.1, and also finished second to her freshman teammate Grace Meyer in the 1,600. Meyer posted a winning four-lap time of 6:01.9 while Hengehold was not far behind at 6:07.2.
In addition, freshman Olivia Wilke was the fastest in the 400-meter dash with a winning one-lap time of 1:05.6. Freshman Pagie Schaible won the 3,200 with a victorious eight-lap time of 13:43.3.
Also acquiring second-place finishes for Highland were:
- Kesner in the shot put (34 feet, 7 inches),
- LaPorta in the triple jump (28-0),
- Loeh in the 800 (2:52.2),
- freshman Alysha Robles in the 3,200 (14:20.7),
- junior Megan Griesbaum in the pole vault (6-6), and
- the 4 x 200 relay team of Portell, Kesner, LaPorta and freshman Savannah Graham (1:57.1)
Also placing for the Lady Bulldogs were:
- junior Abby Beyer, third place in the shot put (31-8) and third place in the discus (85-1);
Wilke, third place in the 200 (28.4) and third place in the long jump 14-7.5);
- freshman Chloe Marti, third place in the 300 intermediate hurdles (56.2) and third place in the pole vault (5-0);
- Portell, Griesbaum, Wilke, LaPorta, third place in the 4 x 100 relay race (53.8);
- Portell, fourth place in the 100 (13.5);
- Hengehold, fourth place in the high jump (4-4);
Schoeck in the triple jump (25-04);
Kesner, fifth place in the discus (71-5);
- Griesbaum, fifth place in the 300 hurdles (57.4); and
Anne Marie Beckemeyer, fifth place in the 100 high hurdles (23.0).
On Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs battled through rain, wind and cool weather to place seventh out of 14 squads at the Greenville Invitational.
Mattoon was the team champion with a 116 points. The Green Wave were followed in the top five by Olympia (85), Greenville (71.5), Pana (70) and Pleasant Plains (68).
Rounding out the 14-team event were: Hillsboro (61.5), Highland (50), Wesclin (45.5), Rochester (43), Breese Central (38), Jerseyville (25), Columbia (12), Carlinville (11) and Vandalia (4).
Kesner, the defending SIJHSAA shot put state champion, scored the best finish for the Lady Bulldogs with a second place in the shot put with a mark of 35-4, which was a mere 3.5 inches shy of the first-place throw by Greenville's Madelyn Daiber.
Earning third-place finishes for Highland were Portell in the 800 (2:42.08) and Hengehold in the 3,200 (12:22.74).
Also placing in their respective evnets for the Lady Bulldogs were:
the 4 x 400 relay team of Wilke, Hengehold, LaPorta, and Portell, fourth place (4:30.71);
- Beyer, fifth place in the shot put (33-6) and seventh place in the discus (82-1);
the 4 x 800 relay team of Schaible, Robles, Meyer and Loeh, fifth place (11:25.21)
- Wilke, sixth place in the long jump (13-8.50) and seventh place in the triple jump (29-10.5);
Marti, sixth place in 300 intermediate hurdles (56.89) and eighth place in the 100 high hurdles ();
Griesbaum, seventh place in the pole vault (6-6);
Meyer, seventh place in the 1,600 (6:17.73); and
Schaible, eighth place in the 1,600 (6:20.33).