Eastland senior leads Missiles to second place
FORRESTON – Nobody ran more than Eastland senior Kayla Barnes at the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference girls track and field meet Monday in Forreston.
Few, if any athletes, ran much better.
Barnes won a pair of long-distance races, finished second in another and wrapped up her night by running an anchor leg in the 1,600-meter relay to lead Milledgeville-Eastland to second place in the team standings.
Galena-East Dubuque-River Ridge, which will compete in the Class 2A Sterling Sectional on Friday, used its superior depth to amass 140 points, 33 more than runner-up Milledgeville-Eastland. Pecatonica-Durand (76), Stockton (71) and West Carroll (64) rounded out the top five.
Milledgeville coach Jason Wroble was hoping his club might deliver an early birthday present by defending its conference title, but he was pleased, nonetheless.
“I knew it was going to be a stretch to win 2 years in a row with Galena’s depth, but we did a great job for only having a team of 14 girls,” said Wroble, who turns 31 today. “Four of those didn’t even compete on the track tonight, so we only had 10 girls on the track. For us to get in reach of first place again and compete all the way through, it was a great effort by our girls.”
Leading the way was Barnes, who opened her night by taking second place in the 3,200. She led most of the race before giving way to Galena freshman Hayley Einsweiler in the last 100 meters.
Getting passed down the stretch pushed Barnes to nab firsts in the next two races, the 800 and the 1,600. Her 800 time of 2 minutes, 32.61 seconds was a personal best by nearly three seconds.
“It definitely built a fire inside me to work harder in the next races,” Barnes said of taking second in the 3,200.
Barnes wrapped up night by running the anchor leg in the 1,600 relay, helping the Missiles place fifth in the event.
“I don’t do four [events] every meet, but I had to do it for the team tonight,” Barnes said. “We needed as many points as we could get, with how few numbers we have.”
The other standout performer for the Missiles was Kim Johnson, who won the triple jump with a distance of 32 feet, 5 inches. She and Kaylee Vos of West Carroll each had bests of 31-8 entering the competition
“We’ve had the same personal best for quite a while now,” Johnson said, “so I knew she was going to be the one to beat.”
Vos noted she and Johnson have known each other since kindergarten and are friendly rivals when competing against each other. Breaking the 32-feet barrier for the first time was the big thing for Vos.
“I was pretty excited,” Vos said. “It was my last jump and I was like, ‘Why not just go out and get it?’ I actually went up a step further, because the guy kept saying I was on the fartherest board. I went a step further and coughed up a 32. I was so excited.”
Polo-Forreston was eighth among 12 teams with 39 points, and had its strongest performances in relays. The Marcos were second in the 400 relay (54.35) and third in the 800 relay (1:56.09), then capped off their night in style by taking the 1,600 relay in 4:23.04.
Keeley Meyer, Alli Reeder, Sabrina Huisheere and Noelina Rissman teamed up for Polo-Forreston’s lone win.
“We’re trying to make it to state in the 4 by 4, and in order to make it to state, we have to have a 4:16,” Rissman said. “Two of the girls ran personal bests tonight and the other two weren’t far off. To see the goal of getting a 4:16 isn’t very far away is very compelling.”
Top 3 teams
1. Galena 140
2. Milledgeville 107
3. Pecatonica-Durand 76