Maura Beattie’s excitement level has reached an all-time high.
The Woodstock distance star will be defending her Class 2A 3,200-meters state championship in her final high school competition this weekend in the IHSA girls track and field state meet.
That would be enough to thrill anyone. But there’s more for Beattie, who has a legitimate shot at ending her Blue Streaks’ career with another medal, this one in the 4x800 relay.
Woodstock’s 4x800 time of 9:32.46 was the best out of the state’s 11 Class 2A sectional meets. So Beattie, Lacey Heaver, Kate Jacobs and Grace Beattie have a chance to do something else special at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Beattie has run 5 seconds faster than her state title-winning time (10:55.77) from last year. Beattie, a senior who will run at NCAA Division I Central Michigan next year, will run in Friday’s preliminaries with the 4x800. If they qualify for one of the top 12 spots, Beattie will have two races Saturday.
“I’m feeling really well,” Beattie said. “I feel like I’m stronger (this season). My mind is not as much thinking as I am just running. I’m a lot stronger overall.”
Beattie will try to bring the Class 2A 3,200 title back to her family for the fourth time in five years. Her sister Kayla, now a sophomore at Arizona, won the race in 2010 and 2011.
“She’s much faster on a much more consistent basis,” Woodstock coach Steve Erwin said of Maura Beattie. “She’s really matured and she’s experienced now, too. [The 3,200] is important to her. She wants to do well in the relay also. She likes the relay. Anything can happen at state (in the 4x800). Times always drop when you get on the big, blue track.”
Erwin said the 4x800 has been a five-person team this season, with Megan Hansen also running the second leg at times. Heaver’s fourth-place finish at the Fox Valley Conference Meet on May 2 propelled her into the No. 2 leg.
Grace Beattie ran in the 4x800 and 300 low hurdles at state last year, while Jacobs, who qualified in the 1,600, is a freshman.
“Oh, my gosh, I’m so excited,” Grace Beattie said. “Last year we handed off to each other. This year, we get to start and end the race. [The top seed time] doesn’t make me nervous. I have confidence in all my teammates. It motivates us more to prove who we are.”
Grace Beattie said the Riverside-Brookfield Invitational on April 12 opened the girls’ eyes as to what was possible.
“We almost beat Montini, which had the best time in the state,” she said. “We ran the state-qualifying time there without Maura. We want to not just get on the stand, but maybe get on top of the stand.”
The Streaks are trying to become the first relay team in any sport in school history to earn a state medal. If it happens, Maura Beattie might miss picking up her medal while preparing for the 3,200 final. Normal University High’s Sydney Billingsley has the state’s best Class 2A time this season at 10:46.98.
“I would feel the same as I did last year if I win,” Maura Beattie said. “I’d be just really proud that I could do it again and the training paid off over the last year.”