High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: McKenna Kiple

Naperville, Ill --- The lightning detection system went off just as the runners stepped to the line in the 800 Meter Run Thursday night at the DuPage Valley Girls Meet in Naperville. The sun was still out but the referee had decided that the ominous weather in the vicinity of the Naperville Central track was enough to tell everyone to head for cover.

Meanwhile Lindsey Rakosnik (Glenbard East, Lombard Ill) headed for cover like the rest of the crowd. She had a smile on her face and was willing to wait out the 45 minute delay. She had been waiting for a month for the 800 and the ideal conditions like there were.

Rakosnik had tough April. A virus knocked out of school for a couple of days in the middle of the month. Rumors had spread that she had peaked indoors. The Glenbard senior was itching to get to the line.

As soon as the gun went off, you could tell that Rakosnik meant business. She went through the first 200 in a quick 29 seconds. She followed that by going through the 400 in 61.5. She passed the 600 in 1:34.7. In an effortless stride, she eased across the finish line in 2:11.45, the fastest time in the state so far this year and a new conference record. The fast pace set by Rakosnik also carried three other runners under 2:20 in this race.

“I was really nervous about the race, first of all. My goal was to come out and run as hard as I can. I was struggling with the 800 outdoors so the goal was to get myself out there and get my name on the board so people don’t see that I burned out” Rakosnik said. “ The delay got the nerves up again, but it was for the better because I did a lot better than I had hoped for today.”

She had little time to rest. Thirty minutes later, she was back on the track running the 1600 Meter Run. Rakosnik took the lead at the 400 Meter mark and never relinquished. She won running 4:59.50. Not a personal best, but considering that she had a short rest, it was an excellent performance.

She was not done. Ten minutes after the conclusion of the 1600 Meter Run, she was out on the track in the 4 x 400 meter relay. She ran second for the Lady Rams. She was 15 meters behind the leaders when she got the baton. Her 59.4 split brought her team back in contention. Glenbard East ran a season best of 4:03 in that race placing second.

All with in a span of one hour. It was not Rakosnik’s intention to make a loud statement on this night, but she made one and let her feet do the talking.

“My legs were definitely tired and beat down. But I think I have an advantage. I have a little more endurance especially with cross country last fall. I tried to use that to my advantage and it did help.”

Rakosnik’s 2 race splits:

800 – 29.8, 61.5, 1:34.8, 2:11.45

1600 – 70.9, 2:28.2, 3:45.7, 4:59.5

See the entire interview with Lindsey Rakosnik here.

On a night where meets in the area were being interrupted with heavy downpours, those who chose this venue were the lucky ones. Meet records were falling left and right and some great performances were given showing that this conference is one of the if not the elite girls conference in the state.

Wheaton-Warrenville South won the team title, the second outdoor girls title in the school’s history. South won the team title by 23 points over West Aurora. It all came down to good old fashioned teamwork according to Tiger coach Rob Harvey.

“The great thing about tonight is that nothing stood out. I do not mean that negatively on any one person on the team. Nothing tonight surprised me,” Harvey said. “We have waited for a night like this too race all outdoor season. We told the kids if you can control your attitude and your effort, you are talented enough that the results will come.”

And that they did for Harvey’s team. The Tigers win was paced by wins by Emily Schwartz in the Pole Vault (12-0), Desirae Ranberg (124-9), and relay wins in the 4 x2 (1:44.28), 4 x 4 (3:58.79), and the 4 x 8 (9:16.91). All evidence that this was a team effort.

Perhaps the one performance that stood out for this team was that of McKenna Kiple and the 4 races that she ran. She anchored the 4 x 8 in 2:15.6. Kiple had a little more time to rest because of the delay for the 800. She finished 2nd in 2:16.82. Fifteen minutes later, the junior was in lane six for the 400 Meter dash. She finished fourth in 58.70. She ended the evening on the victorious 4 x 4 team running a 57.6 leg.

“The 4 x8 was so fun. It was great. We were pulling for each other so much it was like, I love competing with those girls,” said an elated Kiple. “It is such an honor to be on this team and to do the relays, it is so fun. They are all my best friends.”

See the entire interview with McKenna Kiple here.

West Aurora’s second place finish had a pair of athelets that stood out during the evening meet. Emma Spagnola showed that she is the elite athlete in this track crazy conference. She opened her day by winning the high jump clearing 5-5. She went over to the Long Jump and won with a leap of 17-3.5. She took her talents to the track and dominated in both the hurdle races. The sophomore won the 100 Hurdles by over half a second over Wheaton South’s Jessica Spera. Later in the evening, she completed her title conquest by winning the 300 hurdles by over two seconds over Kailey James (Glenbard North, Carol Stream Ill).

West Aurora’s other big winner was junior Anita Saffia. She won the 100 Meter Dash, passing Naperville North’s Alexis Hyshaw around 80 meters and edging her by seven hundredths of a second. In the 200, it was the same scenario. Saffa caught Hyshaw in the last ten meters and won by 15 hundredths of a second. She also was part of the Blackhawks winning 4 x 100 meter team.

Her luck changed in the 400 Meter Dash. There waiting for her was sophomore Simone Carr (Glenbard North, Carol Stream, Ill). Carr took command in the last 100 meters and won with a sizzling 56.66 seconds, almost a full second ahead of Saffa.

Amanda Fox (Central, Naperville IL) took command of the 3200 meters only 300 meters in the race. She planned to pass through the 1600 in 5:15 (which she did), and crusied to a 10:43.98 with a 31 second margin of victory over Naperville North’s Kimber Meyer and Elly Deturris.

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