Varsity track teams reach the end of their run
May 24, 2022
Girls’ track season marked by numerous wins and a bid at State
West Chicago Community High School’s girls’ track and field team concluded a strong season over the weekend, which saw sophomore Kali Waller earn a spot on the Illinois High School Association’s All-State team for the second year in a row in the 200-meter.
Waller competed in the State tournament at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston, Illinois, May 18-21. She came in eighth place in the 200-meter, and tenth place in the 100-meter, setting a new school record in the latter with a time of 12.02.
“Competing at State this year was nerve-racking because there was the added stress of having to make it into finals, whereas last year, it was a day event. But it was also very competitive, which is what I love about it,” said Waller.
The 2021-22 season was another strong one for Waller, who broke numerous school records as she climbed to the top, earning her place as the Upstate Eight Conference champion in both the 100 and 200-meter events.
The spring ushered in several powerful finishes for the Wildcats. Right out of the gate, the Varsity team finished second at the meet against East Aurora, Yorkville, Oswego and Bartlett on April 12. The girls finished second at the Hinsdale South Girls Invite on April 20, trailing Oak Park/River Forest High School, then defeated five other schools at the Wildcat Spring Invite, held on April 28 at Memorial Stadium.
“The girls made steady improvement this year and backed up all their hard work at the end of the season scoring 100 team points at conference. I think this is the most the girls have ever scored at a conference meet,” said head co-coach Tyler Belding.
This year’s recipient of the Bob Maxson scholarship, an award that recognizes an outstanding senior distance runner, went to Zomparelli, who, like many track athletes, also participates in cross country.
“I am so grateful to receive the Bob Maxson scholarship. It feels like a rewarding close to my journey as a runner that started all the way back in fifth grade. If I had to go back, I would still run cross country and track, as it has shaped me into the person I am today,” said Zomparelli.
Zomparelli placed second in the 100-meter hurdles at the Hinsdale South Girls Invite (18.45), Wildcat Spring Invite (18.33) and UEC conference meet, where she set a personal record (PR) with a time of 17.88. Zomparelli also performed well in the 300-meter hurdles this season, placing third at the Wildcat Spring Invite (53.04) and second at the Hinsdale competition (53.46).
“This season I realized that the hurdles I’ve had to overcome (literally) are the same hurdles that I need to get over in life. Becoming a better runner has allowed me to become a better friend, student, and athlete all at the same time. This season was a time of reflection for me – knowing why I ran good or bad was not a physical matter this year but a mental one. I’ve learned so much about myself by running hurdles this year that I will undoubtedly apply this newfound self-awareness to all aspects of my life,” said Zomparelli.
Martinez’s 4×200 relay team, which also includes juniors Katherine Rubio and Vanessa Munoz, as well as freshman Ramiah McElroy, was triumphant in the Wildcat Spring Invite, finishing with a time of 1:58.43. The same team came in second at the Hinsdale South Girls Invite, and third at the UEC conference meet.
Martinez’s 4×400 relay group held their own at the East Aurora meet and Wildcat Spring Invite, finishing second and third, respectively.
Allison competed only at the UEC conference meet, placing fifth in the 100-meter and eleventh in the 200-meter.
Schumann took first place in the triple jump at the Wildcat Spring Invite with a distance of 8.94 meters (followed closely behind by sophomore Maggie White, with a distance of 8.63 meters). She saw fourth-place finishes in the same event at both the Hinsdale South Girls’ Invite and the UEC conference meet on May 5, and helped the SMR 200-200-400-800-meter relay team consisting of McElroy and juniors Emily Nosky and Leah Nika place second at the Mike Vandeever Relays held at Geneva High School on April 16.
“This season was my first year in track, so there were a lot of firsts for me. My first time pole vaulting, my first time triple jumping, my first time running a 4×400. Starting from nothing, I saw a lot of improvement and set many new personal records. I even managed to make it into the top 20 for pole vault at our school,” said White.
Junior Anna Lesny concluded a strong season that consisted of four first-place finishes in the 4×400 relay, including the UEC championship. Lesny’s 4×400 relay team regularly placed in the top three in competition, and Lesny herself took first place in the high jump with a PR of 4’6 at the meet at East Aurora.
Kalia DePaz, also a junior, helped her 4×100 relay team, consisting of Lesny, Waller, and sophomore Adeline Draper, place first at the Wildcat Spring Invite on April 28. Lesny’s 4x
With the spring season concluded, the team now looks to its underclassmen, powerful athletes who have impressed fans with their speed, height and distance this spring.
Some of those competitors include White, who took first place in the triple jump with a finals mark of 27′ 9 at the season’s opening meet. In pole-vaulting, White placed first at the Wildcat Spring Invite with a height of 6’6, a PR for the sophomore.
Sophomore Ava Lowell also made strides in long jump this season, finishing second at the meet against East Aurora with a height of 14′ 4.75, and third at the Wildcat Spring Invite with a height of 14′ 10, a seasonal record (SR).
Joselyn Figueroa, also a sophomore, was the Wildcat Spring Invite champion in the 800-meter with a time of 2:42.59, a PR. Previously, she had a strong second-place finish at the Hinsdale meet in the 1600-meter with a time/PR of 6:10.45.
And the team is assisted by Draper, a homeschooled competitor with an impressive track record: she finished first in the 100-meter hurdles four times this season, earning a PR with her 15.96 second race at the UEC conference meet. She also took four wins in the 300-meter hurdles, before placing fourth in the event at sectionals with a PR of 49.47. Draper has also contributed to the winning 4×100 relay team of Lesny, Rubio and Waller, which came in first at the UEC conference meet on May 5 (and placed first at the meets held at East Aurora, Hinsdale and West Chicago). Draper has been a key team member in the 4×400 relay team as well.
The track team also saw the arrival of several talented freshmen, including Helena Jankowska, who rounds out a 4×400 relay team that consistently places in the top three, and saw her own second-place finishes in the 400 and 1600-meter (Wildcat Spring Invite), as well as the 800-meter (Hinsdale South Girls Invite).
“My strongest moment in track this season was when I placed third in my race at conference and was able to run a time that put me on the West Chicago Girls’ Track All-Time List. Next year, I hope the girls track team continues to work hard, break their own personal records, and hopefully score us more points in our competitions,” said Jankowska.
McElroy, too, has proven she is one to watch with three finishes in the top three in the 4×200 relay, which she typically runs with Martinez, Munoz and Rubio.
Although the season has come to an end, many of the team members improved over the last two months, and look forward to the coming year.
“The season overall was so much fun! My teammates and coaches also made practices and meets that much more fun! Next season I am mainly looking for improvement. My main goal is to keep getting better. I am also focusing more on pole vault and hope to clear 10 feet by the end of next season,” said White.
Waller said, “This year’s State meet will shape my goals for next year by not only having the goal of qualifying for State again, but to keep working and training hard to place higher in my events.”
“Everyone has different goals going into future seasons, for some kids it is running milestone times in their favorite events, for some it is placing or scoring at conference in an individual event or relay, and for some it is breaking a school record or qualifying for the State meet,” said Belding.
Boys take multiple first-place finishes at UEC championship
The Varsity boys’ track team at West Chicago Community High School brought home three first-place awards at the Upstate Eight Conference championship on May 12 at East Aurora High School.
The team finished seventh in conference.
“The boys met a lot of their goals from pre-season and performed well at the conference meet, even though a handful of guys were stuck only running one event because of the band concert being that night,” said head co-coach Tyler Belding.
Senior Nikhil Myers, who has been a top-scoring pole-vaulter all season, took the conference win with a height of 12’6, his third first-place finish of the season.
“I was very excited with my conference win. I jumped 12’ 6” which was about a foot over everyone else. I was injured for most of the indoor track season so I was just very thankful for every meet I went to and was able to compete at,” said Myers. “I was also happy to get all-conference again after last year when our 4×200 team won. Overall, it was a great final season with the team.”
Myers bested his conference height with a personal record (PR) at the sectional competition held at St. Charles North High School on May 19, where he came in at 13’4.25.
“My first reaction was [that of] surprise. Our senior, Mason Wright, really came through for us to secure the win,” said Mason Williams.
In fact, Wright concluded his winning season as the third fastest 100-meter racer in the school’s history, clinching the UEC championship with a time of 11.06. The victory comes as no surprise, as Wright dominated in the 100 all season, placing first in the team’s three April meets. He earned first-place finishes in the 200-meter at the meet against East Aurora, Yorkville, Oswego East and Bartlett on April 12, as well as the Wildcat Spring Invite held at the high school on April 28.
“For me personally, this track season was one I will never forget. It was my final track season, and although it didn’t finish the way I wanted to, I still really enjoyed all of it. For the team, it went very well for all of us as we all progressed throughout the year closer to our goals, even if we didn’t fully reach them,” said Wright.
Wright’s 4×200 relay team, which included Mason Williams, Rosales and Myers, also took first place at the Wildcat Spring Invite.
“My proudest moment was running down 2 teams in the conference 4×200 to become the UEC conference champs for the race. I took a lot of pride in this because we were major underdogs and I was able to bring home the win as the anchor after being put in a great situation due to the running of Jaden Bates, Mason Williams, and Hugo Rosales,” said Wright.
“We are all family, we look out for each other, uplift each other, and I could not ask for a better team,” said Mason Williams.
Bloss, Salazar and Rosales’ 4×400 relay team consistently shaved seconds off their time this season. At the East Aurora meet on April 12, Bloss and Salazar, with Gallian and junior Connor Zentner, finished with a time of 4:03.3h, placing second to Yorkville. Rosales stepped in along with Bloss, Salazar and Gallian at the April 28 invitational meet, placing third, but with a decreased time of 3:51.15. The four runners came in fourteenth place at Sectionals, but with a time of 3:47.53, their best of the season.
Bloss also rounded out the 4×800 relay team that included Zentner, as well as junior Noah Herbst and freshman Judah McLean. The team placed in the top 4 in every meet this season, taking the win at the East Aurora competition with a time of 9:39.5h. They placed second at the UEC conference championship.
Diaz, Herbst and McLean took the win alongside sophomore Diego Macias, brought up from the freshman/sophomore (f/s) team, in the 4×800 relay at the Wildcat Spring Invite.
Herbst performed well at the East Aurora meet, too, coming in second place in the 800-meter with a time of 2:16.3h, a PR, beating teammate Diaz, who placed fourth with a time of 2:19.1h.
Gallian continued to improve in pole vaulting, setting a PR at 8’ 2.75 at Sectionals. His 4×200 relay team, which featured Salazar as well as juniors Josiah Weems and Fernan Reyes, earned a second-place finish at the East Aurora meet, falling by fractions of a second to Yorkville.
Reyes also placed second at the East Aurora competition in long jump with a distance of 18’2, and third in high jump with a height of 5’ 1.75, a personal record.
Losacco, who typically competes in the 1600 and 3200-meter races, placed fourth at the East Aurora meet with a time of 12:27.2h. He later set a PR at the April 28 Wildcat Spring Invite, slashing 18 seconds off his previous time.
The Wildcats made strides in the hurdles competitions, with Burton placing third (with a PR of 19.03) in the 110-meter hurdles at the height of his competitive season.
“Our kids work hard. Many of them play sports year around, and with their commitment, they will definitely make big progress to meeting their goals before next year even starts,” said Belding.
Looking ahead, the team has a number of strong f/s competitors who are looking to move up to Varsity in the coming season. Sophomore Matt Dewees was the UEC conference champion in the 110 and 300-meter hurdles, while freshmen Romeo Alfaro, Lucas Gallian and Logan Bryson, as well as sophomore Owen Williams, placed first in conference in the 4×800 relay with a time of 9:32.08. Owen Williams was the UEC champion in the f/s 1600-meter run with a strong finish at 5:10.83.
“Our freshmen and sophomore runners really performed well at the end of the year which means the future is bright,” said Belding.