Looking to become the first female athlete in 23 years from Lebanon High School to earn a medal in IHSA Girls State Track and Field Meet, Greyhounds sophomore Casey Berberich is halfway home.
Competing on a cool, crisp Thursday morning at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston, Berberich jumped a career best 17-feet, 10-1/2-inches and is in fourth place in the long jump after the preliminary round of the Class 1A girls track and field championship.
Looking to join former Greyhounds’ Brittany Johnson and Nina Jenkins as the only girls athletes in school history to earn state medals, Berberich’s leap is well behind front-runner Amanda McClain of Sullivan’s leap of 18-8 1/2, but well within medal contention. The top nine athletes in each event earn state medals.
According to IHSA records, Jenkins placed sixth in the 200 meters in the 1991 Class A finals, while Johnson was fifth in the 3,200 in the 1991 finals and fourth in 1992.
Berberich is hoping to improve her place in Saturday’s finals.
“I’m thrilled to jump as well as I did today (Thursday). But I know I can do even better,’’ Berberich said
Berberich is one of six local Class A athletes who advanced out of Thursday’s preliminaries.
Althoff senior Grace Rowan earned a bid to the finals of the 800 by running the 10th-best time of 2 minutes, 22.35 seconds. Also advancing was Teah Bliven of Wesclin, who cleared 10 feet in the pole vault.
Red Bud junior Keri Burmester will be in two finals. One of the premier distance runners in the state, Burmester had the 10th fastest time in the 1,600, when she clocked in at 5:21.73. She also will run in the 3,200 finals. There are no preliminaries in the 3,200.
Mallory Unverferht of Okawville also will compete in the 3,200.
While Berberich is looking to become the first Lebanon athlete in more than two decades to win a state medal, Madison sophomore Delphanae Griffin is looking for the Trojans first medal sicne 1993. Griffin sits 10th in the triple jump after a leap of 34-11 1/2.
Nashville senior Easten Hoepker also is in 10th place with a throw of 116-1 in the discus.
Finals in all three classes are set for Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.