DOWNERS GROVE – As a senior, Gerda Simkeviciute joined the Lemont girls cross country team for the first time.
Now her track and field season will go to the final meet. That’s because Simkeviciute is going to the Class 3A state meet for the first time.
The fourth-place 4x400-meter relay of sophomore Julianne McClatchy, Simkeviciute and juniors Gianna Lopez and Celine Ratulowski ran 4:01.96 at the Downers Grove South sectional May 11 to beat the 4:04.48 state-qualifying standard – and shatter their May 4 school record by 7.38 seconds.
“Absolutely amazing. It is the best way to end my senior year, just ecstatic about everything,” Simkeviciute said. “It’s truly unbelievable that we actually made it. We just pushed ourselves and our ability to the max and we made it happen.”
They had broken the school record for the third time this season in winning the South Suburban Conference Blue meet (4:09.34), yet remained seconds from the state qualifying mark.
“We just talked about how pain is temporary and winning lasts forever,” Lopez said.
“A sectional like this, a school our size of 1,370 [to qualify], I cannot be more proud of these girls, what they accomplished,” Lemont coach Tim Plotke said. “I was a nervous wreck all day because I knew we had a shot.”
Plotke hoped McClatchy and Simkeviciute could run 1:01 splits. They ran 59 seconds, followed by Lopez (1:02) and Ratulowski (1:01).
“I definitely think the competition really helped. It made me push myself, especially in the last 200 meters,” McClatchy said.
“The final leg, I was very nervous. I was trying to look up at the clock, but I couldn’t tell because my vision was so blurry,” Ratulowski said.
Last season, the 4x400 relay’s 4:14.02 with McClatchy, Lopez and Ratulowski broke the 36-year-old school record. In comparison, resetting the school record took no time this season.
“[Cross country] really helped my endurance, which made me a much better 400 runner,” Simkeviciute said. “Absolutely amazing.”
Freshman Marin Schiffman had personal bests in high jump (fifth, 5 feet, 1 inch) and the 300 low hurdles (sixth, 48.69), but just missed out on making state.
Senior Kiara Hardy was fifth in shot put (35-5.25).
Schiffman missed the 5-3 state-qualifying height but only has been jumping for five weeks.
“I filled in for a girl who wasn’t there. I liked it so I kept going,” Schiffman said. “Hopefully, next year state, but I’ll keep working.”
After escaping with a 2-1 win against Lincoln-Way West on May 13, Lemont fell 7-6 against Bremen on May 15 to drop to 25-4 on the season.
Lemont led 6-4 against Bremen after KC Simonich and Ryan Sublette scored in the bottom of the fifth, but the visitors plated three runs in the top of the sixth and held on for the win.
Nate Madej drove in two runs against the Braves and Simonich scored twice while driving in a run. Dom Connolly and Angel Salinas each had a run and RBI.
Simonich hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third that brought in Salinas in the win against Lincoln-Way West. Sublette scattered five hits over seven innings to earn the win.
Lemont girls soccer
That didn’t take long.
The Indians made short work of Rich Central on May 16 in a Class 2A regional semifinal at Lemont, jumping out to a big lead and cruising to a 10-0 win.
Lemont moves on to face Richards in the regional final at 5 p.m. May 19 at the Lemont Sports Complex.
Lemont boys tennis
First-place finishes at all five positions delivered a title for Lemont on May 11 at the South Suburban Conference tournament.
Arjun Reddigari (No. 1 singles) and Charles Balisalisa (No. 2 singles) won their titles in straight sets and dropped just five games combined.
Seniors Peter Rogers and Faraz Longi pushed through a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 battle in the championship match to win at No. 1 doubles.
Seniors Matas Maleiska and Luke Pawlak (No. 2 doubles) and seniors Marty Stanys and Jacob Kecki (No. 3 doubles) won in straight sets for their titles.
Balisalisa was a 7-5, 6-3 winner at No. 2 singles in the Indians’ 7-1 loss May 15 against Benet.
Shannon Irwin drove in two runs and Evie Conway was 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI in Lemont’s 5-4 win against Beecher on May 12. Nina Mardjetko gave up eight hits but just three earned runs to get the pitching win.
Christina Tomala drove in three runs in a 5-4 loss against Tinley Park on May 15 as Lemont slipped to 14-15 on the season.
Lemont boys track and field
Second-place showings by Paul Sniezko in long jump (20 feet, 7.5 inches), David Lehenbauer in high jump (6-1) and John Homerding in discus (127-9) were Lemont’s best finishes as it placed fifth at the South Suburban Conference Blue meet May 10.