CHARLESTON — In the 1,600 relay finals today, Geneseo senior Josie Brown will literally pass the baton to freshman Ali Rapps to complete her career in the IHSA State Class 2A Finals.
The two were also the Leafs' two individual qualifiers for the state finals at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field.
In Class 3A, the only Quad-Cities athlete to reach today's finals was Moline senior Megan Pittington, in the 400.
Pittington advanced to the finals in the open 400 with a time of 57.98. It was Pittington’s second event of the day as she ran a 12.54 in the 100, finishing fifth in her heat of six, but just .2 of a second off qualifying.
Pittington looks to close out her career on a high note, entering today's finals as the No. 8 seed. The Moline senior’s current time would put her on the podium, but she has other athletes alongside her chasing the same goal.
“This race was easier than the others because of all of the other amazing athletes I had running next to me in the middle lanes,” Pittington said. “The competition definitely inspires me to run my absolute best.”
In 2A, Brown and Rapps were joined by senior Julia Poel and sophomore Alison Bowers in the 1,600 relay, posting a time of 4:02.51 in Friday's preliminaries to qualify for the finals.
Also qualifying for the Maple Leafs was the 3,200 relay team of Poel and junior Lauren Belvel, as well as sophomore Esther Brown and sister Josie. The team finished third in their heat with a time of 9:49.09, which was good enough to make it to today.
Individually, Rapps qualified in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.49 seconds and Josie Brown qualified for her third event of the day in the 800 with a time of 2:20.82.
“I think it’s mixed emotions for Josie as she wraps up her career,” Geneseo coach Kyle Morey said. “She’s excited to be down here again. She missed the finals as a sophomore and missed the podium as a junior, so that’s going to be her goal (today). She’ll have three chances to get up there, so we’re feeling good about that.”
Three events is quite a workload, but Brown isn’t worried about being tired.
“I’ve been doing the 4x400 and 4x800 all year, along with the 800. Early in the year, it was super tiring,” Brown said. “As the season went on I knew I just had to get used to it and have fun with my teammates.”
Brown will hand off to Rapps in the final event of the day, the final race of her high-school career.
“This year brought out different things in my competition,” Brown said. “I just have to trust in God and know that He’s got me no matter what and that the experience will be super cool for all of us regardless of how we do. I know we’re all fast, but the time we ran was incredible and it’s crazy what the level of competition can do to our times.”
Rapps is looking to gain experience in her first year competing at the high school level.
“It’s been a really great experience being able to have fun with all of my teammates,” Rapps said. “It’s just different being among such great competition and have so many incredible girls push me to be better. It would be great to get on the podium and break the school record, but ultimately I’m just trying to do my best in both events”