GRAYSLAKE – Before Grace Beattie competed at her conference track meet in eighth grade, she wore a press-on tattoo in honor of her best friend Hope Fuller, a 12-year-old Woodstock girl who died in 2010 of a brain tumor.
Now a freshman at Woodstock, she decided to don that same tattoo, a colorful circle that surrounded the word 'Hope', just above her right hip before the Class 2A Grayslake Central Sectional on Thursday.
Beattie qualified for the state meet next weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston in the 4x800-meter relay and as an individual in the 300 hurdles.
"It's so cool," she said. "I made sure to put on my special tattoo, and I thought about it before the [300 hurdles], which was the most important race of the day for me. I wanted it so bad."
Her mother was worried her daughter would just miss out on the cut, but Beattie placed second in the event in a personal-best 47.21 seconds, which was under the state qualifying standard of 47.84. Grace Beattie started to cry once she found out she qualified for state.
Her sister Maura, who qualified for state in the 3,200 and will be one of Grace's relay teammates in the 4x800 at state, thought Grace was crying because she was disqualified, and it wasn't until a few teary-eyed words later from Grace that Maura found out her sister made the cut.
"It's so crazy," Grace said. "I think I need to stop being so excited."
The Blue Streaks (34) placed seventh in the 14-team field. Lakes (103) took first, Marengo (61) was fourth, Richmond-Burton (59) was fifth, Johnsburg (11) and Harvard (11) tied for 10th, and Marian Central was 13th with nine points.
"Grace was just so amazing in the hurdles," Woodstock coach Steve Erwin said. "She just ran the whole race all the way through so hard and took 1.5 seconds off her best time."
Marengo senior Katie Adams also impressed, winning the 3,200 (10:53.48) and the 1,600 (5:14.38) for a grueling double. Many expect her to win the combo at state next weekend.
Adams bettered the state qualifying time by nearly a full minute in the 3,200 and won the race ahead of Maura Beattie by 13 seconds. She also narrowly beat out teammate Allie Sprague, who found a late burst of speed in the 1,600, by two-hundredths of a second.
"Katie ran great in the mile and two-mile," Indians coach Brian Tveter said. "I think her ceiling is endless and I think she can win the double down at state."
Richmond-Burton also had a good meet as it advanced two relays to state along with several individuals. Miranda Halverson qualified in the 200, while teammate Roxanne Kelly won the triple jump (35 feet, 6 1/2 inches).
Both Halverson and Kelly are partners on the 4x200 relay.
"I'm a little disappointed," Rockets coach Keith Forth said. "The two relays qualified, but they didn't do their best, but I guess that's nice because we still have one week to go to get it to where it needs to be."