CHARLESTON — One local defending Class 1A state champion was able to repeat at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Finals on Saturday, while another came up short in both of her title defenses.
Orion’s Danielle Taets was looking for repeat titles in both the 100 hurdles and triple jump, but finished third in the triple jump (37 feet, 8¼ inches) and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (14.87).
“The result is definitely not what I wanted, but I did my best,” said the Illinois State-bound Taets. “What more could you ask for?”
The Chargers' senior reflected on her high school career and didn’t seem to regret anything.
“It’s kind of crazy that it’s all over and that it’s my last time down here,” Taets said. “I’m excited to start a new chapter, but I’m going to miss the awesome people I was lucky to call teammates.”
Fulton's Chloe Lindeman was up to the task of defending her shot put title and left little doubt as to the outcome. The Wisconsin-signed thrower's top toss of 47-9¼ was over 3½ feet better than the field.
However, she was not the only Steamer to walk away with gold around her neck. Fellow senior Daekota Knott unseated Taets as the 1A triple jump queen with a best leap of 38-1¾.
Knott also was a member of the Fulton 400 relay team that placed second with a school-record time of 49.90. The rest of the team consisted of Alyjah Carter, Kearra Kohrt and Julia Lehman.
Lindeman, thrilled with her defense, was happy to have more of her team succeeding alongside her this year.
“It’s good to have even more people here from Fulton and succeeding at the highest level,” Lindeman said. “We have a lot of freshmen here with us, and it’s good for them to get the state experience. It’s a really great feeling to win here again. I’m really happy to be able to do this with my team here to support me.”
Knott had mixed emotions following her win in the triple jump, which was a senior-year best for her.
“It was bittersweet,” Knott said. “It’s great to go out on top, so I’m overwhelmed with happiness. We’ve been working hard together all season, and it’s good to show everyone what Fulton’s got.”
The Fulton relay team surprised the field with their mark, but Kohrt knows that they deserved it.
“It feels like an honor,” Kohrt said. “This wasn’t something that was handed to us. We worked really hard to be here and get this done.”
Fulton finished seventh in the Class 1A team results with 28 points, just behind Alleman's sixth-place total of 32.
Morrison sophomore Jordan Gallentine reached the podium in her first year of running track, with an eighth-place finish in the open 400 and a time of 1:01.71, earning valuable experience.
“I was just really grateful to be here,” Gallentine said. “With this being my first year doing track, it’s surprising and humbling to be able to make it here. I felt a lot of support from my teammates along the way.”
Finally making the podium in her senior year was Geneseo's Josie Brown, who medaled in the 800, as well as the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
“Super excited to finally make it onto the podium,” Brown said. “The goal for my senior year was to get there and it’s so great to be here. ... It took a lot of work to get here, and I’m just thinking about what I’ve overcome.”
Brown earned bronze in the 800 with a time of 2:21.40, and the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams each finished seventh.
Freshman Ali Rapps opened her Geneseo career with a podium finish, placing fourth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.04. She also anchored the 1,600 relay.
Wrapping up her career with one last state final was Moline’s Megan Pittington, who finished eighth in the Class 3A open 400 with a time of 58.85. The state medal was a fitting end to a storied Maroon career.