CHARLESTON – The difference between ecstasy and agony tends to be quite thin at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet.
Late Friday afternoon, after more than an anxious half hour of sapping her cellphone’s battery hitting refresh, an act of futility as it turned out, Prairie Ridge senior Natasha Schaffer watched as a meet worker posted the Class 3A triple jump results.
A few feet away, Andrew Davis, the father of Huntley sophomore Daryn Davis, awaited the same results outside of Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium.
Schaffer looked, then walked away, dejected. She had missed the 12-competitor finals for the first time … by one spot. Her high school career was over, her next competitive jump will be next year at Minnesota.
Andrew Davis stepped up, looked at the sheet and FaceTimed Daryn with the news – she was the final competitor in the finals and will have a chance at repeating as a medalist if she can improve in Saturday’s finals.
Daryn Davis’ qualifying jump was 36 feet, 9 3/4 inches, one-half inch better than Schaffer's.
“The whole time I knew I was 12th or 13th,” said Davis, who took sixth last year. “Sometimes I have to prepare myself to not jump tomorrow, then he called and finalized that. It was a lot of relief. Now I can try to match what I did last year.”
Schaffer was disappointed but pleased that it was Davis, her friend through competition, who got the final spot.
“I definitely have jumped better marks with my eyes closed,” said Schaffer, who was third last year. “It’s nice to know I can do better than I did today, and in college I can move up.”
Schaffer and teammate Valerie Tarazi sat together waiting for the results. Shortly after the triple jump was posted, the discus results went up, and Tarazi’s 120-6 effort got her into the finals.
The other local finals qualifiers were McHenry’s Jenna Pauly (high jump and pole vault), Cary-Grove’s Tabor Gleason (high jump) and Huntley’s McKenzie Krich (high jump).
Pauly scratched out of the 100 meters to stay at the pole vault. She was satisfied by making finals in both of her other events.
“I was really nervous because I went in freshman year and no-heighted (in high jump),” she said. “I really wanted to come and make finals and prove to myself I could do it. My goal is trying to get 11-9 or 12-0 in pole vault, and I really want to jump another inch (off my personal best) and get 5-8 in high jump.”
Krich suffered a torn right ACL last summer and missed the golf and basketball seasons, but she came back strong for track and will join Fox Valley Conference friends Pauly and Gleason in the finals.
“It’s outstanding. I couldn’t be more happy,” Krich said. “I’ve overcome so much. I was off for six months, and in that time I got a lot of strength back, and I recovered very strong. I’ve become way stronger than I was before and come back better than I did.”
Tarazi, wearing her Auburn socks for where she will swim next year, qualified on her final throw. She had thrown out of the sector and scratched on her first two attempts.
“I was going to be a little disappointed if I didn’t make it (to finals),” Tarazi said. “My last throw I held back a little bit, just because I wanted to be sure it landed in and stay in the ring. I wanted it to be very under control. I got three more throws (Saturday). I’m so excited.”
Class 3A State Meet Local Results
4x100 relay: Huntley (Belonax, Krog, Oladipo, Lackovic) 49.54.
100 high hurdles: Walker (Cary-Grove) 15.70, Davis (Huntley) 16.23.
800 meters: Raclawski (Huntley) 2:20.72, Stebbins (McHenry) 2:23.48.
4x200 relay: Huntley (Lackovic, Oladipo, Handchetz, Krog) 1:44.63.
1,600 meters: Oury (Hampshire) 5:11.71.
4x400 relay: Huntley (Handchetz, Oladipo, Smith, Raclawski) 4:07.17.
Shot put: Katie Bessey (Huntley) 37-9.5.
Discus: Tarazi-* (Prairie Ridge) 120-6, Kamp (Dundee-Crown) 118-3.
High jump: Pauly-* (McHenry) 5-4, Gleason-* (Cary-Grove) 5-4, Krich-* (Huntley) 5-4, Evinger (Hampshire) NH, Smith (Huntley) NH.
Long jump: Schaffer (Prairie Ridge) 16-9, Vogt (McHenry) 15-7.25.
Triple jump: Davis-* (Huntley) 37-9.75, Schaffer (Prairie Ridge) 36-9.25, Only (Hunt) 34-9.75.
Pole vault: Pauly-* (McHenry) 10-9.
*-Qualified for finals.