Sterling’s 3,200 relay squad successful from start
|Sterling's 3,200-meter relay team of (from left) Sarah Wolber, Charli Wike, Mercedes Sanchez and Emily Crossley has the best time in the event in the area this season at 9 minutes, 58.01 seconds. That's more than 7 seconds faster than both the next-best team in the area and the Class 2A state cut time. (Philip Marruffofirstname.lastname@example.org)|
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Sterling has the best girls 3,200 relay time in the area this season. Amazingly, the Golden Warriors’ top foursome in that event has competed together just once.
And what a performance it had in that lone race together. It was at the Sterling Night Relays on April 27, when senior Sarah Wolber, junior Emily Crossley, sophomore Charli Wike and freshman Mercedes Sanchez teamed for a time of 9 minutes, 58.01 seconds.
That time is 1 second faster than any other 3,200 team in the area, and more than 7 seconds below the Class 2A state-qualifying cut time of 10:05.04.
Sterling coach Tyler Gaumer will have the quartet together again at the Class 2A
sectional meet Friday, when it looks for more magic at Sterling’s DuWayne Dietz Track.
“This group has only run once together, so for them to be back together now is exciting,” Gaumer said.
“With it being the first race of the meet, it would be a great way to start our team off and get us sky high and the energy rolling,” Gaumer said.
Crossley has running in her genes.
“My mom [Renee Tabor] was a really good runner in high school in Pennsylvania,” Crossley said. “She held every running record at her high school. She gives me inspiration to beat her times.”
Crossley admitted to feeling pressure as the leadoff runner.
“I have to go out and get a good position and hold that position and try to chase people down,” she said. “Sometimes if I mess up, I feel like it’s my fault.”
Sanchez didn’t know what to expect in her first 3,200 relay venture as a freshman at the Night Relays.
“I was scared because I didn’t know what a good time was,” she said. “At the end of the race everybody was like ‘Oh my gosh, it was under state-qualifying time.’ I was so excited.”
Sanchez has followed up a successful freshman cross country campaign at the varsity level with added success on the track.
“It’s just exciting to have all these amazing people in track and cross country and going up against them as a freshman,” Sanchez said. “It’s fun.”
Third the word
With the name Wike along come expectations.
“My cousin James went to the Olympic Trials in swimming,” said Wike, who is also a swimmer. “I guess I have to live up to the name. I want to be like him someday – be as good as that and go into the high school’s history.”
Wike likes her 3,200 team’s ingredients.
“I like running third,” she said. “Emily gets us out, Mercedes holds us, I catch up and Sarah just dominates. Sarah is always the anchor on all of our relays [in swimming and track]. It puts a lot of pressure on her, but she can handle that. She has that mental attitude.”
Anchor leg, Wolber
Some people thrive under pressure. Wolber is one of those people. She thoroughly enjoys being the anchor.
“There’s pressure, but I like the pressure. It’s good pressure,” said Wolber, a classical singer who was recently accepted into the University of North Carolina vocal performance program. “I know everyone’s counting on me. It pushes me to do better.”
Wolber looks forward to what’s to come for the 3,200 group.
“We know we can cut even more time, which is really exciting to think about,” she said. “We have a chance to make the state finals. That’s our hope.”
Who: Local teams (Dixon, Rock Falls, Sterling); other teams (Belvidere, Boylan, Burlington Central, Freeport, Galena, Genoa-Kingston, Hampshire, Kaneland, Rochelle, Rockford Christian, Rockford East, Stillman Valley, Sycamore)
What: Class 2A Sterling Sectional
When: 4 p.m. Friday
Where: DuWayne Dietz Track, Sterling High School
Advancement: First and second-place finishers in each event from each sectional and those equaling or surpassing qualifying standards in sectional finals advance to the state meet at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston May 17-19
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