Two Litchfield High School athletes will be making the trip to Charleston this Thursday for the IHSA Class 1A State Track Finals after finishing in the top two in three events at the Carlinville Sectional on May 9.
Sophomore Carson Lemon and freshman Carly Guinn will both be making their first appearance at the state meet, with Lemon scheduled to participate in two events.
After missing out on a state bid by nine-thousandths of a second last year, Lemon left no doubt this year as she won the 100 meter hurdles in a time of 17.43, beating Tristan Fraley of Alton Marquette by .23 seconds.
Lemon wasn't done though. After setting a personal-best and school record of 9'3" in the pole vault at the South Central Conference meet on May 6, the Litchfield sophomore punched her ticket to state with a 9'0" clearance, good enough for second overall to South County's Abigail McCue, who cleared 9'6".
For Guinn, the trip to state is verification of the promise that she showed last year at the junior high level, where she cleared 5'2" in the sectional and eventually finished ninth in the IESA state finals.
After taking second at the conference meet, Guinn obliterated the competition at sectionals, jumping 5'0" to win by four inches over North Mac's Jayden Cole.
Guinn's sectional mark is amongst a large pack of athletes who jumped 5'0", with only eight other athletes going higher, led by Kiah O'Neal of Rock Island Alleman and Kenli Nettles of Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, both of whom jumped 5'6" at their respective sectionals.
Similarly, Lemon is in a big group of vaulters who cleared 9'0" at sectionals, with Windsor Roberts of Downs Tri-Valley posting the top sectional mark at 12'6", a foot better than the second highest. Her sectional time is 26th best in the 100 meter hurdles, with Nettles posting the best time, a 14.56, for ALAH.
Two Litchfield athletes found themselves in the spot Lemon was last year, as they finished third in their respective events.
Sarah Yakana was just .28 seconds behind Jessica Cutts of Alton Marquette for the final qualifying spot in the 100 meters and was just one inch out of third in the long jump, posting a jump of 14'8.25" to Greenfield-Northwestern runner-up Baylee Bilbruck's 14'9.25" mark.
Kylee Eiting also took third in two events, finishing with a 5:59.37, eight seconds behind Riverton's Tessla Ellis, in the 1600 and a 12:58.29, 28 seconds behind Ellis, in the 3200.
Both Yakana, a sophomore, and Eiting, a freshman, will have more opportunities to make it to state in the future.
Natalia Deren, another sophomore with a bright future, would finish just seven seconds from second in the 800 meters as she ran a 2:44.91 to finish fourth.
Litchfield also did well in the relays, with Guinn and Lemon teaming up with Rylie Jagosh and Lauren Thompson to run a 55.25, good enough for fourth, 2.1 seconds behind the second place finishers.
The 4x400 team of Jagosh, Guinn, Hailey Bolte and Caroline Quarton did even better, running a 4:41.03 to finish third, missing a state spot by 11.13 seconds.
Alivia Wyatt and Emilie Vann also competed for the Panthers, finishing 15th and 16th respectively in the shot put and 11th and 18th respectively in the discus, while Guinn also ran the 300 meter hurdles, finishing sixth in a time of 55.32.
May 9 at Carlinville
Class 1A Carlinville Sectional
Girls Team Results: 1. Alton Marquette 83; 2. North Mac 68; 3. Litchfield 67; 4. Greenfield-Northwestern 43; 5. South County 41; 6. Southwestern 40; 7. Auburn 39; 7. Carlinville 39; 9. Riverton 32; 10. Carrollton 30; 11. Bunker Hill 24; 12. Pawnee 23; 13. Gillespie 19; 14. North Greene 6; 15. Springfield Lutheran 4.
100: 3. Sarah Yakana 13.92
800: 4. Natalia Deren 2:44.91
1600: 3. Kylee Eiting 5:59.37
3200: 3. Kylee Eiting 12:58.29
100HH: 1. Carson Lemon 17.43
300LH: 6. Carly Guinn 55.32
4x100: 4. Carly Guinn/Rylie Jagosh/Carson Lemon/Lauren Thompson 55.25
4x400: 3. Hailey Bolte/Rylie Jagosh/Carly Guinn/Caroline Quarton 4:41.03
Pole Vault: 2. Carson Lemon 9'0"
Shot Put: 15. Alivia Wyatt 23'10.75"; 16. Emilie Vann 23'9.75"
Discus: 11. Alivia Wyatt 82'4"; 18. Emilie Vann 56'8"
High Jump: 1. Carly Guinn 5'0"
Long Jump: 3. Sarah Yakana 14'8.25"