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Prep Zone: Cary-Grove's Schulz shows versatility in heptathlon

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 6:16 p.m. CDT
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Cary-Grove's Morgan Schulz excelled at the heptathlon over the summer.

The athlete who is good at everything in track and field took some time over the summer to do an event that includes most everything.

Cary-Grove senior Morgan Schulz demonstrated her versatility in the heptathlon – a series of seven events – at the AAU Track and Field National Championships, which concluded on Aug. 1 in Des Moines, Iowa and took second place in the 17-18-year-old division with 4,728 points.

The heptathlon is comprised of the 100, 200, 800, 100 high hurdles, shot put, high jump and javelin. Schulz had little experience throwing javelin before, since it is not an IHSA event, and her throw of 118-8 would have taken third in the open javelin competition.

Schulz’s finish was not surprising, since few athletes in the state can match her versatility. She pulled off an almost unheard-of double by medaling in the Class 3A 300-meter low hurdles (second) and in the 800 meters (seventh) at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet in May.

“It was totally different, events out of my element,” Schulz said. “It was really fun. I was awful at high jump. I didn’t have any form, I just ran up and jumped. It was very awkward for me.”

Still, Schulz cleared 5-1 once this summer and made 4-11 at the national meet.

Schulz is attracting huge interest from NCAA Division I schools. She should be one of the area’s best cross country runners this fall, although it’s only her second season in that sport.

Trojans girls cross country and track coach Mark Anderson feels her options are wide open for college.

“This summer let her try a couple different things,” Anderson said. “We’ve seen what she can do on the track. She’s gotten a lot of attention as a 400 hurdler, maybe in the [3000] steeplechase or as a heptathlete.”

Schulz has considered the heptathlon for college, while also mentioning 800 or 1,500 and steeplechase. She has a rare combination of speed along with endurance.

Also competing from C-G in the AAU championships were incoming freshmen Tabor Gleason and Paige Schulz (Morgan’s sister) in the 14 division, and junior Maggie Cherveny in the 15-16 division.

Gleason finished eighth in the triple jump and was 12th in the pentathlon (100 high hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800). Paige Schulz was 16th. Cherveny made finals in the triple and long jumps and in javelin.

Gleason and Schulz were part of five school records last spring at Cary Junior High. Gleason set marks in the 100 high hurdles (16.3), triple jump (34-1) and high jump (5-5). She and Schulz ran on the record-setting 4x200 team and Schulz ran on the 4x400 team, which also set a school mark.

Gleason, who is 5-foot-11, was IESA runner-up each of the last two years in the high jump. Her mother, Chaille Gleason, was a state champion in high school at Peoria Bergen and held the IHSA Class A long jump record (18-9) for 17 years.

Chaille coached for 20 years in Palatine’s girls track program and the last few years at Cary Junior High.

“Being her mom that coaches, it’s living the dream,” Chaille said. “She’s gifted in terms of her stature. Her brothers and dad are tall. And she was born in March, so she was probably at her first track meet when she was 10 days old. She’s always been around it. It’s what she knew.”

So C-G, which already is loaded with talent to make a run at its seventh consecutive Fox Valley Conference Meet championship next spring, has even more outstanding young talent on the way.

“It’s wonderful,” Chaille Gleason said. “I was lucky enough to have the same thing. When I went to high school, we won two state titles. There was an expectation of high level work and success. For [Tabor] to have those girls who are established, and she’s known coach Anderson since she was 5. She’s really excited for them to be her teammates.”

More summer happenings: Huntley girls assistant track coach Brad Gallaugher and other area coaches put together the Monster Track Club this summer, which was comprised of athletes from all over McHenry County.

The team worked out at Huntley’s Heineman Middle School and finished its season at the USATF National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships.

Gallaugher said the idea started from Huntley assistant coach Tim Essig, who used to own a warehouse where area athletes would come for pole vaulting camps. They decided to take that further and start a club and passed out flyers to area coaches during the spring season.

Gallaugher coached distance runners, Essig did vaults, Huntley assistant Chris Maxedon worked with throwers, Woodstock assistant Lisa Kucharski worked with hurdlers and Crystal Lake South girls head coach Matt Dunker worked with jumpers.

“Matt said, ‘I just want to make kids in the area better,’ ” Gallaugher said. “I said, ‘Yeah, this area’s tough, let’s make it tougher.’ The cool part was we had kids from Crystal Lake South, Harvard, Prairie Ridge, Huntley, Hampshire and McHenry.”

South thrower Kyle Hedge, who took third in the Class 3A shot put at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet, finished fourth at the Junior Olympic National Meet with a throw of 57-8 1/4.

Switch at Harvard: Harvard athletic director Matt Rife announced that cross country coach Brett Willhoit, who coached the Hornets boys and girls teams, had left to take a job teaching business at Crystal Lake Central.

Harvard girls track coach Casey Seyller has stepped in to coach cross country this season. Willhoit was heading into his fifth year as coach.

• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at joestevenson@shawmedia.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.

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