CHARLESTON – Woodstock’s Maura Beattie finished her high school career with her personal-best time of 10:42.22 in the Class 2A 3,200 meters, 13.55 seconds faster than her winning time from last year.
But this time Beattie did not have a gold medal to show for it. Peoria Notre Dame’s Maryjeanne Gilbert overtook Beattie in the final 600 meters to win the race, leaving Beattie as the state runner-up.
Still, Beattie had that accomplishment and helped the Blue Streaks’ 4x800 relay team take fifth Saturday at the girls track and field state meet at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
“It’s weird to be over,” said Beattie, who will run at Central Michigan next year. “I don’t really want it to be over. I’m really happy with my time.”
Marengo’s Allie Sprague also finished her career Saturday with a fourth-place medal in the 800, the same spot she took last year. Hampshire’s Elizabeth Pagan was the other area athlete to medal in the Class 2A finals, taking ninth in the long jump.
Beattie led off Woodstock’s 4x800 relay, followed by Lacey Heaver, Kate Jacobs and Grace Beattie, the youngest of four sisters in the famous Woodstock running family. The Streaks ran 9:31.82, their best time of the season, to take fifth.
“It was a mind game; it was pretty crazy,” said Grace Beattie, who was passed by runners, then passed them back in the final lap. “We gave it our all. It absolutely shows.”
The girls became the first relay team in school history, boys or girls, to win a state track medal. The four girls had their customary “HOPE” temporary tattoos in honor of Hope Fuller, Grace Beattie’s best friend, who died four years ago of brain cancer.
Elise Beattie, the oldest sister who recently graduated from New Hampshire, was there for the finals. As was brother Luke, who qualified Friday night in the 3,200 meters for next week’s boys state meet.
“It was really nice. I’m glad they came here to cheer me on,” Maura said.
Kayla Beattie, who still has the state meet records in the 1,600 and 3,200, was at school at the University of Arizona.
Maura Beattie pushed the pace as she did last year in winning the 3,200 and led until the last 600 meters. Gilbert, who won in 10:34.37, made her move there and had too much left.
“I wasn’t expecting that pace,” Gilbert said. “I knew I had to give whatever I had. It was painful, but it was worth it.”
Sprague, who will run at South Carolina, was worried by traffic early in her 800 race.
“I was thinking, ‘This is not good,’ ” Sprague said. “I just let the pack pull me around. I focused on going with 300 meters left, and then I found a little room and worked my way through.”
Sprague eventually got some open space in the final 100 meters and passed four runners to take fourth in back-to-back years.