High school girls track and field: McHenry's dynamic sprinting duo give Warriors edge for county meet

McHenry sprinter Janessa Kruse heard the scouting report last year about an eighth-grader who was erasing Molly Machometa’s records at Parkland School.

Kruse was well aware of how fast Machometa was. Kruse knew it meant she had to work hard to not be left in a freshman’s dust for her senior season. She attended a Nike running camp, along with college running camps, so she could get better.

“I was blown away because those were times I was trying to beat (in middle school),” Kruse said. “I’ve grown up super-competitive in sports, and that was like a news flash, that I can’t be the fastest on my team all the time. It was a great motivation for me.”

That freshman, Holly Vogt, has been as good as advertised. Vogt, along with Kruse, makes McHenry a threat to take the girls team title at the McHenry County Track and Field Meet, which runs Thursday and Friday at Huntley’s Red Raider Stadium.

The field events start at 4 p.m. Thursday and will finish that day. Running preliminary heats in the 100 and 200 meters, and in the high hurdles, also will take place Thursday. Running events will start at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

The host Red Raiders are the defending champions for boys and girls. The Raiders’ boys team has won five consecutive county meet titles; the girls won their first title last year.

Vogt and Kruse were instrumental in McHenry nipping Huntley by 11/2 points at the Crystal Lake Central Invitational last week. Vogt won the 200, while Kruse was second. Vogt was third in the 100, with Kruse taking fourth. Vogt won the long jump, and they both ran on the Warriors’ winning 4x100 relay team.

“The competition’s a lot tougher this year,” Vogt said. “I always have to do my best at every meet because the competition’s so much harder. I really hope we can win at county. Hopefully, our relays will do very well.”

Vogt is seeded first in the 200, second in the 100 and second in the long jump. Kruse is seeded first in the 100 and second in the 200. McHenry is the top seed in the 4x100 relay. Two sprinters of that quality go a long way toward affecting big meets.

“If you have one sprinter, that’s great,” Warriors coach Kyle Owens said. “To score two in those events is huge. If you have two fast girls, you’re going to have a great relay. Holly is one of the best freshmen to come through here in a long time. She’s doing big things as far as our top-10 records have gone. Janessa kind of had a breakthrough season last year. She’s made another jump from where she was last year to this year.”

Kruse will run at NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater next year. She is thrilled to have Vogt on the team, even if it means that sometimes she is not winning.

“I’m so proud of the work she put in so far this year,” Kruse said. “She’s very humble. If you try to help her with something, she’s always open to hearing it. You can see that she is trying to change the little things. She’s an amazing runner.”

Mark Vogt, Holly’s father, played football, baseball and ran some track when he was younger. Her mother, Mary Ann, earned a gymnastics scholarship to Oklahoma and teaches that sport at Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center.

Holly did gymnastics for a couple of years in preschool, then played softball, soccer, basketball and volleyball. She still plays travel softball with the McHenry Warriors’ program but chose track for the spring.

“It was a pretty tough decision,” said Vogt, who will join her softball team after finishing the track season. “But I think I made the right choice.”

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