SHERRARD — Originally thought to be the Three Rivers Conference champion in the triple jump, Orion's Danielle Taets ended up literally taking a silver lining.
Due to a discrepancy in the results originally submitted Friday, Taets' jump of 36 feet, 3 inches resulted in the defending Class 1A state champion taking second in that event, being edged out by Fulton standout Daekota Knott.
However, the Charger senior not only looked on the bright side of her triple jump effort, she channeled any frustration at settling for second place into the hurdles events, sweeping the 100 highs (15.53 seconds) and 300 lows (49.01 seconds).
“In the triple jump, I feel like I got what I wanted,” Taets said. “I fixed what I needed to in the triple jump, so it was a very beneficial night that put everything in place for sectionals, even if I didn't get the gold medal.”
Taets felt equally strong about her performances in both hurdles races, as she looks ahead to next week's 1A sectionals and the chance to defend her state title in the 100 highs.
“The hurdles, I felt a lot better,” she stated. “I pushed myself as hard as I could in both of them, but especially in the 300. I was trying to focus on what I was doing, and not what was going on around me. I feel like I've been trying to get over the hump all year, so it feels good to get to where I want to be.”
In the team standings, Bureau Valley tallied 113 points to capture its fifth consecutive Three Rivers crown. Meet host Sherrard took second with 99 points behind titles from Carley Whitsell in the high jump (5-2), Abigail Ernat in the pole vault (8-6) and Abi Gerdes in the 200 (27.55).
BV's night was boosted by Kamryn Kolb, who won the long jump title (16-9) and despite battling a sore knee, anchored the Storm's 4x100 relay (51.64).
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“We always talk about the senior group winning conference every year while they're in school,” said BV coach Dale Donner.
Rockridge senior Keely Parker teamed with twin sisters Carlie and Ellie Ruckey and Mia Freyermuth to win the 800 relay in 1:50.27, then joined the Ruckeys and Kira Nelson for a 1600 title in 4:13.52. Parker then won the open 100. Running that race for just the second time in her career, she clocked a 12.99. Together with a title from the 3200 relay of Peyton Heisch, Nelson and the Ruckey sisters, Parker's efforts helped the Rockets place third as a team with 81 points.
“I was supposed to run (the 100) this past Monday, but that got cancelled. I was going to run it at our home meet (the Rockridge girls' invitational), but that was cancelled, too,” she said. “Honestly, I wanted to beat state-qualifying time, so I'd have more confidence going into sectionals. Hopefully, this puts me in a good spot.”
In her debut conference meet, Erie-Prophetstown freshman Riley Packer turned in a gold-medal performance, winning the open 800 in 2:34.53.
“I've been doing well and placing high in our meets so far, so I had the goal to place high (Friday),” said Packer. “It felt good to get first. It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but I had to keep it in mind to run like I normally do.”
Riverdale, which tied Orion for fourth with 65 points, got titles from Hope Jackson in the discus (121-2½) and Lauren Lodico in the 400 (1:01.74). In addition to Knott's triple jump win, Fulton also got a gold medal from Chloe Lindeman, who threw 42-9¼ to take the shot put.
“Getting first was the goal for today, but I would've liked to have jumped a lot better,” said Knott. “It was cold out, and wet, and everyone was struggling with it.”