Lady Knights track now Charleston crew

Photo: Just a sophomore, Sydney Strang takes part in three events for the Class 2A State meet beginning on Friday. File photo

Lady Knights track qualifies for State in five events after Sterling meet
by Mike Slodki
STERLING, Ill.—Some might shake their head at a fourth-place showing for a girls track meet.

Kaneland will instead keep running to the campus of Eastern Illinois University, due to exemplary performances.

With the needed qualifying scores in five events, Kaneland has a healthy presence for the Class 2A State finals for girls track, scheduled for Friday through Saturday, May 18-19.

Sydney Strang represents KHS in three events: in the 800m run, the 4×800 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay. Teammate Lauren Zick goes to the elite meet in both the 400m dash after taking the sectional championship, as well as the 4x400m relay.

Jen Howland paced herself toward a State berth in the 3200m run, while Strang was joined by Amanda Lesak, Maggie Brundige and Jessica Kucera for the qualifying 4x800m relay, and joined Zick, Kaltrina Ismaili and Lesak for the 4x400m relay.

Teamwise, the Lady Knights’ 48 point total was four points better than Burlington Central.

The Pretzel group from Freeport amassed 88 points for first place, followed by Dixon at 80 and Rock Falls 61.

The 2012 output toward State beats last year’s effort, when Brooke Patterson’s pole vault, Zick’s 400m dash, Andie Strang’s 1600m run and the 4x800m relay advanced.

The 4x800m relay saw Strang, Lesak, Brundige and Kucera take fifth with a time of nine minutes, 58.23 seconds, beating the qualifying time by seven seconds.

Brundige was happy to exterminate the injury bug, and produce a State-worthy effort.

“My body’s gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older and through all the training, and I’ve avoided injury this year so it’s going pretty well,” Brundige said.

Meanwhile, Strang returned with a fourth-place gallop in the 800m run with a time of 2:21.23.

“I’ve been really excited and it’s been a lot of fun this year,” Strang said. “I was excited for the competition and knew they would push me to my limit.

The senior Howland is on her way to closing out her high school tenure on a high note after garnering third in the 3200m run with a time of 11:45.37.

Howland is ready to put mind with body for a productive weekend.

“It’s more mind than body in the 3200,” Howland said. “If you tell your brain over and over again, you can do it, it’s a matter of getting in your head.”

The 4x400m foursome of Zick, Strang, Ismaili and Lesak finished a second place at 4:06.99, just .71 behind the Rock Falls winners.

“All the other teammates pushed each other, and it was a lot of fun and hard work in the 800 and 400,” Lesak said.

Zick also showed she continues to be a force to be reckoned with not just in the western suburbs, but in the state, with a sectional championship-worthy 58.84 seconds in the 400m dash.

Last year’s Lady Knight class saw the 4×800 of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Zick and Sydney Strang take sixth, while Zick took ninth in the 400m run.