Track

High school track and field notes: Marian Central's Dineen caps busy week with 3 state bids

Marian Central senior Regan Dineen had quite an eventful week.

Dineen qualified for the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Meet in three events from Wednesday’s Class 2A Richmond-Burton Sectional. A few days earlier, she committed to Kansas State, where she will compete next year.

Dineen won the high jump, long jump and ran on a leg of the Hurricanes’ winning 4x100-meter relay team, along with Reagan Kelly, Meaghan Di Pietro and Dominique Thomas. The state meet for all three classes will run Thursday through Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

The week before wasn’t bad either. Dineen had career-bests in the high jump (5-feet-4) and long jump (17-113/4) and was named East Suburban Catholic Conference Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Dineen went 5-3 in the high jump at R-B and 17-63/4 in the long jump. The high jump is new to Dineen, but the experience will benefit her at Kansas State, as the Wildcats’ coaches plan on utilizing her versatility in the heptathlon.

“I feel like I’m getting the hang of [the high jump],” Dineen said. “It’s about that last step, getting that pop and getting over it. My long jump was good, I made it to state. I’m hoping to hit the 18s at state.”

Dineen visited Kansas State and made her commitment last weekend.

“The coaches were really nice,” she said. “They’re looking to put me in the heptathlon. I’m ready to learn new things.”

Simons out: Marengo junior Lillie Simons was one of the area’s top returning athletes in the area, having qualified for the Class 2A long and triple jumps and 200 as a sophomore. But Simons has had a frustrating season after straining her left hamstring. She tried warming up for the first outdoor meet and aggravated it.

“I can still play volleyball. I can jump fine,” she said. “It’s the explosion of sprinting [that bothers it]. There’s a lot of scar tissue built up. I’m working on breaking it up, but it’s taking longer than I thought it would.”

Simons has worked out with her Club Fusion travel volleyball team since the jumping has not caused problems. At Wednesday’s R-B Sectional, she held starting blocks for her teammates.

“[Missing track] is sad,” she said. “I’d rather be running here today than sitting here. I thought I was going to be back, but it happens.”

Ready for more: Marengo junior Bailey Bertrand is headed back to the 2A state meet in the discus and shot put. Bertrand was fourth in the discus last year.

“I was really happy with my discus throw,” Bertrand said at the R-B Sectional. “It didn’t feel real smooth, but I still popped it out there 120 and 121. First off [at state], I’m hoping to make finals. From there, I just want to place better than I did last year.”

School history: Woodstock North sophomore Emma Mergl made Thunder history Wednesday when she ran 2:27.24 in the 800 at the R-B Sectional for second place. Mergl will be the first Thunder girls track athlete to compete in the state meet.

More aches: Dundee-Crown senior Adam Swanson and Jacobs senior Zach Albrecht were two of the top performers missing the Fox Valley Conference Meet. Swanson (left hamstring) hopes to give it a shot Thursday at the Class 3A St. Charles North Sectional; Albrecht (stress reaction, right shin) is done.

Swanson, who will run at Eastern Illinois, suffered his injury in P.E. class during the indoor season. He tried to come back, but reinjured the leg. He anchored the Chargers’ 4x800 relay team that took third in 3A last year.

“I’ll see what I can do this last week and see if I can pull it off,” Swanson said. “If not, I’m happy with the way my high school career was.”

Albrecht, who will run at Bradley, said he cannot run yet without risking further injury and a longer rehabilitation period. His last race was the Palatine Distance Night, where schools from multiple states competed. Albrecht ran 4:10.16 for fifth place. His time was the third-fastest 1,600 in the state this season.

“I wanted to try to win state [in the 1,600] this year, but my last race was a 4:10 mile,” Albrecht said, “so that’s pretty good.”

Petko to Missouri: Cary-Grove senior Jason Petko signed his national letter of intent with Missouri last month. Petko won the discus and was the shot put runner-up Friday at the FVC Meet. He took seventh in the 3A discus last year.

Petko will throw Thursday at the St. Charles North Sectional.

“This is my most consistent season I’ve had, 160s, 170s, 180s in practice,” Petko said. “I think I’ll make [the qualifying distance 154-7] on my first throw and won’t be stressed out like last year. I just have to work on my goal, which is our school record 181-3.”

That was set by Josh Freeman in 2012. Freeman won the 3A discus and shot put that year. Petko’s best throw this season is 180-8.

Marshall honored: Jay Marshall, of Richmond, has been named the IHSA Girls Track and Field Official of the Year. Marshall was the head referee at the boys state meet last year where his son, Reed, took fourth in the 2A triple jump at 44-10.

Reed Marshall now attends Illinois and was invited onto the team by the coaching staff. He competed in the Big Ten Championships over the weekend at Iowa.

Jay Marshall will work the IESA State Meet in Peoria this coming weekend, then serve as starter for the Class 1A boys state meet May 23 to 25 in Charleston. That will be his fourth IHSA state meet.

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