CHARLESTON – Prairie Ridge junior Natasha Schaffer was in the process of mentally preparing herself for the worst Friday when she received the good news.
Schaffer had snuck in with the last qualifying spot for the finals of the Class 3A triple jump. Her season was not over, she will get three more jumps and a chance to medal again at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet.
Schaffer, who missed the long jump finals at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field by one spot, had a smile and tears in her eyes after learning of her reprieve.
“I thought this year was just a rough year, coming in with mono, sectionals being a tough meet (with rain),” she said. “I was like just wipe this year clean and go into the summer.”
And then teammate Sam Fisher’s mother Karen called. Schaffer’s jump of 36 feet, 9 1/4 inches was the last qualifying spot. Schaffer and Huntley freshman Daryn Davis, who jumped 37-0, will both be in the finals on Saturday.
They are two of eight local entries to qualify in field events from Friday’s preliminaries. Fisher (3A pole vault), Cary-Grove’s Tabor Gleason (3A high jump), Woodstock’s Cora Uidl (2A pole vault), Marian Central’s Eve Meintz (2A high jump) and Richmond-Burton’s Megan Curran (2A discus and shot put) also advanced.
Schaffer took seventh in the the triple jump last year and hoped to make finals in both jumps this time. She was thrilled after Friday to have one opportunity on Saturday.
“I’m hoping things come together,” she said. “My first phase was nice and even, and my second phase I was able to swing my leg, but I was losing a ton on my third phase. Hopefully it will all click.”
Schaffer and Davis jumped in the second flight and had to wait almost 2 hours before the third flight had finished and results were posted to learn they had made it.
“I’m really excited,” Davis said. “I have three more chances to get a better jump. I kind of just gave it my all, had to leave it all on the runway.”
Gleason missed the triple jump finals by two spots, but repeated to the high jump finals. She was 11th last year. She is seeded second with no misses from Friday.
“I made it clean, that felt very good,” she said.
Fisher also repeated to the pole vault finals and had only one miss.
“My technique is a lot better this year, so I’m trying to rely on that and muscle memory to get me through,” Fisher said. “There’s still things I can fix tomorrow to help me get over 12-0.”
Curran is the only area athlete with two events in the finals. Like Schaffer, she snagged the last finals spot with her final attempt.
“One more shot, it’s unbelievable,” Curran said. “It’s awesome. I knew this was my last shot, senior year, so I just gave it my all and 38-0 1/2 got me in.”
Uidl was sixth in the 2A pole vault last year and relished having an uneventful day to qualify.
“I was having a really good day. I would like to have kept jumping higher, but I’ll try to save that for tomorrow,” Uidl said. “I just want to jump well myself. If I’m happy with what I do the places will work themselves out.”
Meintz made 5-1 in the 2A high jump to advance to the finals for her second time.
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
IHSA State Meet
Class 2A Preliminaries Local Results
100 high hurdles: Syd Heidtke (Woodstock) 16.87.
100 meters: Lillie Simons (Marengo) 12.65.
800 meters: Amy Frisch (R-B) 2:25.47; Emma Langlois (Richmond-Burton) 2:27.19.
300 low hurdles: Heidtke (Woodstock) 48.18.
1,600 meters: Kate Jacobs (Wdk) 5:36.11.
Shot put: Megan Curran-* (R-B) 38-0.5; Bailey Bertrand (Mgo) 35-1.25.
Discus: Megan Curran-* (R-B) 115-1; Bailey Bertrand (Mgo) 102-6.
High jump: Eve Meintz-* (Marian Central) 5-1.
Long jump: Jordan Parker (Mgo) 15-1.
Triple jump: Brenna Koch (MC) 33-11.25.
Pole vault: Cora Uidl-* (Wdk) 11-0; Meintz (MC) 10-0.
*-Qualified for finals.
Class 3A Preliminaries Local Results
4x100 relay: McHenry (Jamie Howie, Janessa Kruse, Holly Vogt, Jenna Pauly) 49.35.
100 high hurdles: Daryn Davis (Hunt) 15.26, Tyra Miller (Huntley) 20.69.
4x200 relay: McHenry (Howie, Kruse, Vogt, Pauly) 1:43.46; Huntley (Lackovic, Krog, Sargent, Handchetz) 1:43.96.
300 low hurdles: Miller (Hunt) 49.54.
1,600 meters: Caitlin Bruzzini (Crystal Lake South) 5:01.77.
200 meters: Vogt (McH) 26.36; Cailey Diezadlo (CL South) 26.25.
Shot put: Paige Groves (C-G) 39-2; Kyra Cabusao (Jacobs) 38-6.5.
Discus: Groves (C-G) 112-1.
High jump: Tabor Gleason-* (Cary-Grove) 5-4; McKenzie Krich (Hunt) 5-1.
Long jump: Natasha Schaffer (Prairie Ridge) 17-9; Vogt (McH) 16-4.
Triple jump: Davis-* (Hunt) 37-0; Schaffer-* (PR) 36-9.25; Gleason (C-G) 36-6.5; Kendall Only (Hunt) 35-10.
Pole vault: Sam Fisher-* (PR) 11-0.
*-Qualified for finals.