Maura Beattie’s promising running career took an unexpected turn two years ago.
While training a few days before the IHSA Class 2A Belvidere North Track and Field Sectional Meet, Beattie, then a freshman at Woodstock, suffered heat stroke.
At that point, she and her senior sister Kayla were the only Class 2A girls who had broken 11:00 in the 3,200 meters. Maura almost surely would have stood atop the medals stand with Kayla at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
After the training incident, Woodstock coaches and the Beatties felt it best for Maura not to run in the sectional, so she did not run at state.
Maura trained some over that summer, but needed time to think things out. She took her sophomore cross country season off. Debbie Beattie, her mother, said Maura liked running, but did not want it to become what she is.
“She wanted to take some time and decide,” Debbie said then. “We told her she didn’t have to run because of the family you’re in.”
Maura Beattie returned last spring and had a solid track season. She had another good season in cross country last fall, taking 17th in the Class 2A state meet.
On Saturday, Maura became a state champion as a junior when she won the Class 2A 3,200 meters in 10:55.77, her best time since the 10:48 she ran as a freshman.
“I’ve just been working on getting stronger and lowering my time each race and trying to stay consistent,” Beattie said.
Kayla, who ran at Iowa and will transfer to Arizona this year, won the Class 2A 3,200 in 2010 and 2011, so this is the third time in four years the gold medal for that race ends up in the Beattie’s home.
“She’s very focused and very dedicated,” Woodstock coach Steve Erwin said. “The difference with her this year is she’s stronger, there’s more spring in her step. We’ve seen it pretty much all season long.”
Unusual combination: Hampshire senior Jenny Dumoulin demonstrated what kind of an athlete she is by qualifying for state in three events, the 4x100 and 4x200 relays and the shot put.
It’s not often an athlete has that kind of power and speed. Dumoulin took ninth in the shot at 38 feet, 6 inches, although she had thrown 40 feet four times this season.
“I definitely say it’s because of my coaches and my teammates,” Dumoulin said. “My teammates are so competitive and running with such good competition really pushes you.”
She also credited fellow thrower Anna Baxter for pushing her in that event.
Super fan: Huntley resident Jim Overstreet, better known as the “Hey-Hey Huntley Guy,” made the trip to Charleston as usual to cheer on the Red Raiders.
It was a nice sight when Huntley senior Omo Tseumah, shortly after winning the high jump, took a couple minutes and walked over to the fence to talk to Overstreet. Tseumah was the Class 3A runner-up last year and flip-flopped with Lyons Township sophomore Emma Haugen this time. Both made 5-8, but Tseumah made it on her first attempt, while Haugen cleared on her third.
Commencement of sorts: Jacobs seniors Tori Tamburrino and Sam Baran knew they were going to miss their commencement, which was Saturday, after qualifying in the Class 3A 4x800 relay with Molly Barnes and Lauren Van Vlierbergen.
So Friday evening, Tamburrino and Baran donned their caps and gowns and took their own graduation photos on the infield at O’Brien. Instead of a stage, they used the medals stand. They were back on the stand Saturday after taking fifth place.
Mark of a champ: Marengo’s Katie Adams finished her high school career in style by winning the Class 2A 1,600 for the second straight year. But how Adams did it was remarkable.
Adams was undefeated in cross country until the state finals race when she turned an ankle in the first 400 meters. She was the overwhelming favorite to that point and managed to finish ninth.
Earlier Saturday, Beattie took the 3,200 out hard and lost the other competitors. Adams was the favorite there as well. Adams looked tired and tight, but she regrouped and went out as a champion.
“It was really tough,” Adams said. “I had to come back mentally. I had to calm myself down and focus. I had to tell myself I could do it.”
Adams, who will run at Iowa, ran her career-best in the 1,600 in 5:00.84.