Senior Casey Berberich attended her last class at Lebanon High School on Tuesday. She hopes to end her days as a Greyhound with a few more medals.
The reigning Cahokia Conference champion in four events — long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles — Berberich enters the class 1A girls state track and field meet preliminaries Thursday in Charleston with a chance of bringing home three medals.
She already has a pair of fourth-place state medals in the long jump to her credit.
“I think the best (Class 1A) jump going into state is 17 feet, 8 inches. My best is 17-11, so I feel like I’ve got a chance if everything is right and I’m able to hit the (take off) board,” Berberich said. “The thing is just to stay focused on each attempt and each event.”
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Berberich jumped 17-3 1/2 a year ago after jumping 17-10 as a sophomore to place fourth.
Her best jump at the Chester Sectional last week was 16-6, but her efforts in the other three events were better. Her attempt of 34-9 1/2 in the triple jump is among the best in the state, as was her time of 46.47 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles. Berberich ran 16.5 in the 100-meter hurdles.
Berberich played soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and track at the junior high level, but chose to concentrate on basketball and track and field at the high school level.
Basketball coach Chad Cruthis said Berberich was a leader on the court. The Greyhounds spent much of the 2016-17 season top ranked and reached sectional play, where they lost to Hardin-Calhoun.
In the fall, Berberich will attend Maryville University in St. Louis, where she will compete in track and field and major in physical therapy.
“It’s a great school both athletically and academically,” Berberich said. “It’s a place where I can be happy. The track program is very successful, and I really like the coaches. Plus its close to home, but not too close. It’s been a great four years here at Lebanon, and coach Cruthis and all of my coaches have taught me a lot and helped me become the person I am,” Berberich said.
Right now, however, her focus is on her final two days as a high school athlete.
“You learn to pace yourself and not burn your legs out too early in the meet,” Berberich said. “You try to get a break when you can and save a little bit for the finals. You have stay focused on the event you are in, then move on to the next event. You may be in an event final and then have to leave to go run a heat in another event. That can be difficult, but you do the best that you can.”