DOWNERS GROVE – After having the fifth-best Class 3A sectional performance in long jump in 2016, Downers Grove South’s Maddie Manganiello hoped to at least make the top-12 finals at the girls track and field state meet.
At the state preliminaries, all three attempts were scratches.
“I’ve definitely learned just to keep things in perspective and not give up in the hard moments because it’s very rewarding when you overcome those valleys,” Manganiello said. “[I’ve learned] just to keep calm while jumping down there and know it’s out of my hands and in God’s control.”
Manganiello, a junior, returns to state for the third time after winning the Downers South sectional long jump title May 11 with a mark of 18 feet, 7 inches.
Freshman Brenna Cohoon also was a sectional champ, winning the 3,200-meter run in 11:04.10.
Other qualifiers were seniors Soren Umali in the 100 high hurdles (lifetime-best 14.89) and 300 low hurdles (season-best 46.59), Nicole Muccianti in the 100 dash (12.41) and 200 dash (25.61), and Katie Stapleton (3,200 in 11:12.04), freshman Erin Reidy (1,600 in 5:07.96) and the 4x800 relay of Reidy, sophomores Alisha Macas and Becky Versaskas and junior Gillian Thomas (9:36.74).
The Mustangs (66 points) finished fifth. The state meet takes place May 19 and 20 at Eastern Illinois University.
“This has been a goal ever since I started running in high school,” Cohoon said. “It’s very relieving to know that I’ve finally made it down.”
Manganiello shares the fourth-best sectional performance. She hasn’t reached her school-record 19-6 from 2016 but has gained confidence and consistency through additional work with the DuPage Track Club.
“As long as I make it to finals [at state], that would be awesome. If I could place, that would be greater,” Manganiello said.
Muccianti will make her fourth state appearance and Umali and Stapleton their third. Umali is seeded seventh in the 100 hurdles. Stapleton ran a season best by six seconds.
“Breaking 11:00 would be an awesome way to end my high school career,” Stapleton said.
Reidy is optimistic after her best 1,600 race since a 5:09.14 indoors March 14.
“I’ve been going through this sickness phase. It’s really good to be back,” Reidy said.