Congrats to our girls ... they placed themselves in a position to compete for a Sectional Championship last night, eventually placing second, just missing first place Galesburg by 4 points. Meets like this come down to just a split second here or a half inch there. I can't imagine we were not one of the youngest teams and smallest schools of the 16 teams there but our athletes competed, without excuse, for the title. It is a tribute to their patient commitment through a long season of training to peak the last couple meets. It is also a tribute to the leadership provided by a small group of upper-classmen who helped our younger athletes through this entire season. I am convinced our success is due to these outstanding leaders who help a young team believe in the system, their teammates and themselves when it would be easier to make excuses and give up their goals. You should be proud of your athlete and their team. We certainly are! (Author's note; I couldn't be more proud of my own Senior, Lyndsay ... thank you so much! You made coaching my own child easy ... a wonderful experience I wouldn't trade for anything!)
We are not through yet, thanks to some wonderfully talented and dedicated girls. We qualified athletes for 8 of the 18 events at next week's IHSA State Championships.
Representing the U-High Pioneers at next week's meet are:
Sydney Billingsley in the 3200 and 1600 (Outdoor Season best/school record 5:07.03)
Erika Simple in the 200 and 400 (Season best/school record 58.62)
Christy Hulett, Alexandra Walch, Katie Herrman and Morgan Cross in the 4 x 800 (9:56.74 ... enjoy that haircut Coach Neisler!)
Gabi Jacobs in the Discus and Shot Put
Tatyana Peck in the High Jump
Ashley LaFayette in the 3200
We had others come very close to qualifying and certainly were outstanding in their events, scoring for our team and setting PR's. I cannot possibly name everyone who has contributed so I will not try, but I am certainly happy to call myself one of the coaches of these young ladies. They have shown, as a team and as individuals, they have the courage to compete with anyone. Last, but not least, they conduct themselves in a manner which makes us the envy of many programs. Thanks to all the athletes who are now finished with their season ... enjoy some well earned rest (and definitely some ice cream ... yes I do remember I owe some of you ice cream!). If you want to continue to work out, we'll be there after school! Finally, I want to thank what has to be the best parent support group we have had in all the years I have been associated with track. You guys have been a wonderful group to work with. I certainly appreciate you!
I will send out information regarding the state meet early next week. We will leave around noon Thursday and return Saturday evening. Competing athletes and alternates will be provided room and board. I do, however, encourage parents and athletes not competing to try their best to come to this meet. Class 2A Prelims will be Friday morning and all finals will be Saturday. It is an outstanding meet, well run with, traditionally, some of the nation's best high school athletes. I have never been disappointed watching this meet and would be a wonderful experience (and incentive) for our younger athletes. If at all possible, please attend and cheer on the best student athletes we, and Illinois, has to offer! (If you do decide to attend, you must excuse your student from school per U-High's policy. A note, signed by the parent, is required to be turned into the office)
We will have practice this afternoon and, for at least some, tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's practice time will be set this afternoon.
PS Thanks to Mrs. Kneller for our Grove Street cookies and water bottles to make our long trip home last night a bit more sweet! The cookies were a hit with our tired young ladies (and coaches!) Very thoughtful and much appreciated!
Quote of the Day:
Winning is not about headlines and hardware [medals]. It's only about attitude. A winner is a person who goes out today and every day and attempts to be the best runner and best person he can be. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.
Amby Burfoot (Thanks to Matt and his book, The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life )