After winning the Class 2A state cross country championship in the fall, Waterloo junior Jenna Schwartz is now one of the favorites to win the 3,200-meter state championship.
And maybe the 1,600-meter state crown as well.
A three-time Belleville News-Democrat runner of the year in cross-country, Schwartz's time of 11 minutes, 4.05 seconds turned in at the Herrin sectional last week was the top time run in the event in 11 sectional meets throughout the state. Schwartz also has the fourth-best time in the 1,600 meters (5:09.40). and is just one of several metro-east area athletes who could contend for state championships on Saturday at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Class 1A preliminaries begin the three-day competition on Thursday with Class 2A and Class 3A preliminaries set for Friday. Finals are set for Saturday.
Schwartz is just one of several Class 2A athletes hoping to contend for state crowns this weekend. The East St. Louis Flyerettes could be in the running for a top three team finish in form holds true in Class 2A
Leading the way will be senior Evangelynn Harris. who has the second best throw in the discus (125 feet, 6 inches) and the shot put (43-5 1/2). The Flyerettes also have three relay teams that could contend for state championships.
East St. Louis has the top time in the 1,600-meter relay (3:55.56), the second-best time in the 800-meter relay (1:42.84) and fifth-best time in the 400-meter relay (48.61). Also hoping to score points for East St. Louis are Ahmia Dorsey, seventh in the triple jump (36-3 1/2); Shonjahnea Griggs, third-best in the 400 meters (57.44 seconds); and Veronica Sherrod, sixth-best in the 300 hurdles (46.28).
While Harris figured to be a threat in the discus and shot put, so to should Triad senior Kelly Pottorff, whose throws of 41-11 in the shot put and 119-6 in the discus were both the fourth-best in the state a year ago.
Cahokia senior Jayla Crosby has the fifth-best time in the 100-meter hurdles (15.24), while Freeburg senior Stephanie Jacobs was 10th in the pole vault (11-0).
While East St. Louis figures to be in the trophy hunt in Class 2A, another Southwestern Conference school, Belleville West, could be in contention in Class 3A.
Leading the way for the Maroons will be junior LaQwasia Stepney. In her first season at Belleville West after transferring from Cahokia, Stepney turned in the second-best time in the 100-meter hurdles (14.37) and 300 hurdles (44.67). Teammate Jessica Coughlin has the fourth-best time in the 400 meters (57.11).
Belleville West (48.18) and Belleville East (48.19) have the seventh- and eighth-fastest times in the 400 meter relay, while the Maroons have the fourth-fastest time in the 800-meter relay (1:42.18).
Madison junior Janiya Collins figures to be a contender in two Class 1A events. Collins has seventh-best high jump at 5-1 and the third-best time in the 100 meters (12.46).
Okawville senior Madelyn Tepe had the fourth-best time in the 800 meters at 2:22.49.