The Highland High School girls track and field team captured the championship of Friday's Granite City Warrior Relays after the Lady Bulldogs beat out Mascoutah, O'Fallon, host Granite City, Madison and Jennings.
"It was fun and exciting to wait for the results as a team," Highland senior Rece Portell said. "The totals were so close that literally every event mattered. So, I think that the best part was it truly was a team effort. Meets like that remind all of us why we love the sport so much and bring us closer together."
Highland coach Doug Bradley was also very excited by his team's performance.
"These girls rock," he said. "They are very focused girls, and it was a true team effort. I loved so much of what I saw tonight, especially some of the contributions from the girls that don’t get lots of opportunities in invitationals. The relays format made them so important."
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Highland captured event championships with its discus team, shot put team, triple jump team and pole vault team.
The meet-winning discus team consisted of freshman Taylor Kesner, junior Abby Beyer, freshman Bella LaPorta and sophomore Reese Tackett. Kesner recorded a personal-record distance of 100 feet, 7 inches.
The shot put team was made up of Kesner, Beyer, and freshmen Savannah Graham and Jordan Grieve, while the triple jump team was comprised of freshman Olivia Wilke, LaPorta, junior Mackenzie Schoeck and freshman Grace Meyer.
Junior Megan Griesbaum cleared a new personal-record height of 8 feet and joined with sophomore Reese Tackett (6-6) to win the pole vault relay.
Wilke ran to a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash, which was one of only two events not competed as a relay event.
Freshman Alysha Robles earned second place in the other standalone event, the 1,600-meter run, with a PR time of 5:59.4.
Highland also recorded second-place finishes in the following events:
- the varsity 4 x 400-meter relay team of LaPorta, sophomore Samantha Hengehold, senior Alyssa Freimann and senior Rece Portell with a season-best time of 4:18;
- the freshman/sophomore 4 x 400 relay team of all freshmen Wilke, Paige Schaible, Chloe Marti and Alysha Robles;
- the sprint medley team of freshman Kayla Thompson, Freimann, Kesner and Portell;
- the 300 low hurdle team of junior Megan Griesbaum, freshman Chloe Marti, freshman Jordan Grieve and freshman Anne Marie Beckemeyer;
- the long jump team of Wilke, Schoeck, Graham and freshman Navaeh Brown;
- the 4 x 1,600 relay team of Meyer (5:50.6), freshman Julie Loeh (6:03.6), junior Mackenzie Nigh (6:57.4) and Schaible (5:55.1); and
the 4 x 100 shuttle hurdle team of Marti, Griesbaum, Beckemeyer and Schoeck.
Highland also received placements from:
- the high jump team of Hengehold, Beckemeyer, Portell, and Brown, third place;
- the 4 x 800 relay team of Meyer, Loeh, Nigh and Hengehold, third place (11:18.8);
- the 4 x 200 relay team of Kesner, LaPorta, Griesbaum and Rece Portell; and
- the 4 x 100 relay team of Hengehold, Schoeck, Brown and Graham, fifth place; and
- Thompson, eighth place in the 100-metrer dash.
Madison County Championships
The Highland girls and boys teams were good hosts of the large schools division of the Madison County Championships on April 24, but it was the Edwardsville Tigers who stole the show after maintaining their stranglehold on the team title.
Alton won seven events to edge out Southwestern Conference rival Edwardsville by one event title, but it was the Tigers who earned their 18th consecutive county title after edging out the runner-up Redbirds, 172.5 to 155.
Collinsville, which won one event, finished third at 131.5, Triad, which won two events, was fourth at 83, Highland, which went winless, wound up fifth at 76, and Granite City, which won two events, rounded out the six-team large-school division at 71.
"I am proud of the girls tonight," Bradley said. "We didn't match up the greatest with schools twice our size, but we competed well and persevered, and we had beautiful weather. I am really excited by the return of Kate Marti. She ran her first race since the last Saturday of September."
Triad's two event championships came from senior Kelly Pottorff in the throwing events. Pottorff was crowned the champion in the shot put with a strong heave of 127 feet, 7 inches. She won the shot put with a throw of 41 feet, 10.25 inches. Both of Pottorff's distances easily meet the IHSA's standards to qualify for the state competition.
Outside of the champions in each event, the top five placers received medals while the top eight finishers received points in their respective event for their respective teams.
The most points Highland scored in any single event came in the pole vault, where Griesbaum showed the way with a second place in the pole vault after clearing the bar at 7-6. Tackett also added points to the Bulldogs' team total with a fifth-place finish with a height cleared of 7-0.
Highland also scored solidly twice in the shot put, where Kesner matched Griesbaum for the Bulldogs' overall best finish with a second-place showing in the shot put with a throw of 34-11. Beyer also added points in the shot put after coming in seventh (32-0.50).
Kesner and Beyer also both placed in the discus as well, and they did with so personal-record distances. Beyer finished fifth with a mark of 102-6, while Kesner was just one spot back in sixth at 95-11.
Highland's best relay performance on the day came from the meet-closing 4 x 400-meter relay team of Portell, Freimann, Hengehold and freshman Lexie Korte, who joined forces to capture third-place medals with a team time of 4:23.54.
Chloe Marti scored points in both hurdles events with PR times in both. She crossed the finish line in fourth place in the 300-meter low hurdles (53.21) after earlier finishing sixth in the 100 high hurdles (19.81).
Hengehold and Meyer each also earned a fourth-place individual finish. Hengehold nabbed her fourth-place medal in the 800 with a two-lap time of 2:33.01 and Meyer was fourth in the 1,600 with a PR time of 5:51.02.
Highland also scored points by placing in the top eight in the following events:
- the 4 x 200 relay team of LaPorta, Wilke, Korte and Portell;
- LaPorta, sixth place in the triple jump (29-5);
- Schaible, sixth place in the 3,200 (PR time of 13:27.51);
- the 4 x 100 relay team of Portell, Griesbaum, Wilke and Korte, sixth place (53.03);
- the 4 x 800 relay team of Marti, Meyer, Loeh and Robles, sixth place (11:21.717);
- Griesbaum, seventh place in the 300 hurdles (56.34);
- Loeh, seventh place in the 1,600 (PR time of 6:01.80);
- Freimann, eighth place in the 100 (14.23); and
- Schoeck, eighth place in the triple jump (PR mark of 29-1).