CHARLESTON, Ill. — Danielle Taets has a full day ahead of her for Saturday’s IHSA girls state track and field finals as she prepares to compete in both hurdle events and the triple jump.
The Orion junior also takes some high expectations after qualifying among the top three in all three events during Thursday's Class 1A preliminaries at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
In the triple jump, Taets logged the top qualifying mark with a best of 38-feet even. In the 300-meter low hurdles her 46.00 clocking was third-best.
But Thursday’s highlight for Taets was in the 100-meter high hurdles, where she broke a personal record with her time of 15.12. That was the second-fastest time, missing the top seed by .04.
“That’s my best race ever,” she said after the event. “I’m really happy about that. Hopefully, it gives me a good lane assignment for finals.”
In the triple jump, Taets is ahead of Three Rivers Conference foe Daekota Knott. The Fulton junior recorded the second-best qualifying leap of 37-4.
Taets’ teammate, Orion senior Alexandra Mack, will join her in competing at Saturday’s 100-meter high hurdles final, grabbing the final qualifying spot in the nine-runner finals with her qualifying time of 16.07. She was the only runner over 16-seconds to make finals.
Four Alleman athletes were also among the qualifiers for Saturday's finals.
Junior Kiah O’Neal secured her place in the high jump finals with a height of 5-feet, 1-inch, junior Ali Van DeHeede qualified fifth in the discus with a throw of 122. Senior Alyssa Klauer and freshman Tori Thomas both qualified for the pole vault final, with Thomas also advancing in the 200-meter dash.
Thomas said she has never been to a meet that is the size of the state competition before.
“It’s a big meet, but I just act like it’s a normal meet, and I do my best until I get comfortable with it,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun being able to compete against good teams.”
Mercer County will have three entrants with senior Catelyn Hoffman involved in all three races. In addition to running to the third-fastest 200 qualifying time (25.82) on Thursday, she anchored the advancing 400 (50.67) and 800 (1:47.39) relays. Senior Kari Coulter, and freshmen Larissa Neeld and Bella Cuellar joined forces for the sixth-fastest 400 qualifier; Coulter, Neeld, sophomore Payton Grey and Hoffman were the No. 5 qualifiers in the 800.
In shot put, Fulton junior Chloe Lindeman topped her flight with a throw of 45-10.25, which led Thursday's qualifying. She also advanced in the discus (116-05) along with Riverdale senior Hope Jackson (127-11), who holds the No. 9 spot into finals.
Erie-Prophetstown senior Whitney Bramm will compete in the pole vault finals after making a 10-foot jump in prelims. She will be joined by Annawan-Wethersfield senior Kirsten Hager, who advanced with a 9-9 jump.
Rockridge senior Katie Walker will be in action twice on Saturday. She will take the sixth seed into the 300 low hurdles finals after her 47.02 prelim run. She also made it to the finals as part of the 1,600 relay team that also includes freshman Carlie Ruckey, junior Keely Parker and senior Camryn Rowe.