The DGS girls track & field team competed in 8 events this afternoon in the prelims of the IHSA State Championship meet. The Mustangs came into Friday’s competition with hopes of qualifying the majority of the events to Saturday’s finals. By the end of the day, 4 out of the 8 events qualified for finals and joined 3200m runner, Katie Stapleton (Jr), to make a total of 5 events. The 3200m race does not run prelims, so Katie automatically races in the finals on Saturday.
The team was dealt a couple of setbacks early in the competition beginning when Maddie Manganiello (So) fouled her three long jump attempts and failed to advance to Saturday. This was an uncharacteristic result for the sophomore jumping phenom who had been extremely consistent all season long. Fortunately for her, she will have two more years to come back and attempt to win a state long jump title.
The 4x100m relay team of Nicole Muccianti (Jr), Soren Umali (Jr), Arianna Finley (Sr), and Shaliyah Dixon-Tucker (Sr) also came up short after finishing 3rd in their prelim heat with a time of 48.77. Muccianti encountered some bad luck when she caught a spike and stumbled out of the blocks at the start. That coupled with a poor 2nd exchange relegated the relay to 13th place overall and just missing the finals by 0.13 seconds.
The team needed to turn things around and Dixon-Tucker did just that by winning her prelim heat of the 100m hurdles in 14.31 seconds. Shaliyah’s time was the fastest qualifying time and leaves her as the favorite going into Saturday’s finals. She came back 15 minutes later to finish 2nd in her heat of the 100m dash by only 0.01 seconds. Her time of 12.32 was also the 2nd fastest time of the day and advanced her to Saturday’s finals. Nicole Muccianti also competed in the 100m dash, but failed to advance after running 12.99 in her prelim heat.
At this point, we had 3 events qualified for Saturday, 3 events that did not make it, and 3 events to go. The weather began to change from breezy, mild temperatures to heavier winds with rain showers. Michaela Hackbarth (Sr) was next up on the track attempting to complete a very tough double by racing the 800m run and 400m dash with only 15 minutes of rest in between. As it turned out, she was in the last heat of the 800m and the 1st heat of the 400m, making the double just about as tough as it gets. Michaela took care of business in her signature event, the 800m, by winning her heat with a time of 2:12.72, and earning the top seed going into Saturday. This was not a surprise, as Michaela is the defending state champion at this distance. But with the shortest rest possible, going against a field of very good sprinters in the 400m, Michaela was able to finish 2nd in her heat with a time of 57.77 and advance to Saturday’s finals. Her 400m time ranks as the 6th best time out of the 9 finalists.
Shaliyah had the final event of the day, the 200m dash. At this point, the wind and the rain was providing just as much competition as the athletes in the lanes next to each other. Shaliyah started well running a good curve, but the wear and tear of 4 events began to show as she faded back to 4th place in her heat with 25.59 and failed to advance to Saturday’s finals.
So, the final tally for the day was 5 events move on to Saturday’s competition, while 4 events ended their season one day short of the ultimate goal. The Mustangs will have to settle for quality over quantity as they aim to score well in each of the 5 events. DGS could win as many as 3 events on Saturday and should score in at least 1 of the other finals event, allowing them to be in the hunt for one of the three team trophies. Defending state team champions, Lincoln-Way East are positioned extremely well for a repeat title performance, but the rest of the competition for the remaining 2 trophies is wide open. I can’t wait for Saturday!