Broncos’ 4 x 800 relay team captures a state title
The Montini girls track and field program came close to winning a state championship in the 4 x 800-meter relay event in each of the previous three years. The Broncos finished second in the event at three straight Class 2A state meets from 2012 to 2014. Montini did not have to settle for second place on Saturday. The Broncos’ foursome of senior Madeline Jamrozek, sophomore Jenna Weidacher and juniors Emma Makowski and Gianna Salzbrunn earned the school’s first IHSA state championship in girls track and field with a first-place run in the 4 x 800-meter Class 2A final at the IHSA state meet at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. The girls won the title in a first-place time of 9 minutes, 30.93 seconds. Rosary claimed second place with a time of 9:33.51. “It was a superstar team rather than a team of superstars,” said Montini coach Pete Connelly of the winning quartet. “This tasted very sweet. The girls were very excited. It was a great moment.” Jamrozek, Makowski and Salzbrunn all ran on the Broncos’ second-place 4 x 800-meter relay team at last year’s state meet. Jamrozek was also a part of the runner-up team in 2013. Montini’s 2012 and 2013 runner-up teams in the event included Theresa Connelly—Pete’s daughter. Brittany Fisher, who graduated last year, was a member of each of the Broncos’ three second-place relay teams. Montini posted the fastest time (9:36.16) in Friday’s Class 2A preliminaries to earn a berth in Saturday’s 12-team finals. The quartet of Jamrozek, Weidacher, Makowski and Salzbrunn narrowly missed qualifying for the finals of another relay event—the 4 x 400-meter race. Their time of 4:02.69 was the 10th-fastest preliminary time. The top nine teams qualified for the finals. Salzbrunn said that she and her three teammates were a little nervous after qualifying for the state meet with a decisive victory (by more than 20 seconds) in the 4 x 800 relay at the Glenbard South Sectional on May 15. “There was a very tense feeling at practice,” said Salzbrunn of the days leading up to the Broncos’ trip to Charleston. “We knew we had a chance to win. We needed to relax. We went out there on Saturday, and the four of us just did our thing.” The Broncos were in second place when Weidacher handed the baton to Makowski for the third leg of Saturday’s relay final. On Friday night, Makowski promised Salzbrunn that the Broncos would be leading the race during their baton exchange. Makowski came through on her word, seizing the lead before handing the baton to Salzbrunn for the anchor leg. Salzbrunn managed to hold off a formidable challenger—Rosary senior Emily Martin—during the last two laps around the track. Later on Saturday, Martin won the individual title in the Class 2A 1,600-meter final. “It was all four of us running with heart,” said Salzbrunn of Montini’s relay victory. There were no superstars on this team.” In addition to anchoring the winning relay team, Salzbrunn, who has competed in each of the last three state meets, advanced to the finals of two individual events. She ran to a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with her time of 46.18 seconds. She also turned in an 11th-place showing in the long jump; her top effort at the finals covered 16 feet, 63/4 inches. The Broncos completed an indoor-outdoor sweep of the 4 x 800-meter relay with Saturday’s victory. In March, Jamrozek, Salzbrunn and Weidacher teamed with junior Lauren Denemark to win the Class 2A championship at the Illinois Top Times Indoor Classic in Bloomington.
Rams lose 1-0 in a regional final
The Glenbard East girls soccer team’s 2015 season ended with Friday’s 1-0 loss to Downers Grove South in an IHSA Class 3A regional final in Lombard. Playing on their home field, the Rams were unable to score a goal in their attempt to win the program’s first regional title. The Mustangs scored the only goal of the match following a corner kick with just under 30 minutes to play in the second half. “We held them to one,” said Glenbard East coach Kent Overbey. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t put one in. It just didn’t go our way.” Friday’s loss marked the Rams’ fourth loss in a regional final in the last four seasons. Glenbard East finished the season with a record of 13-10-2. The team won six of seven matches to close out the regular season. The Rams opened the post-season with a 6-0 victory over Chicago’s Kelly High School in a regional semifinal match played May 19 in Lombard. Senior Lisa Valgiusti scored late in the first half to give Glenbard East a 1-0 lead. The Rams added five goals in the second half, including two goals from junior Amanda Chlebek, who netted her first two goals of the season. Junior Brittany Paganucci, sophomore Dana Plotke and senior Jessica Whipple each scored one goal in the second half.
Patrick Mikel wins sectional title in the 400-meter dash
Glenbard East junior Patrick Mikel qualified for the IHSA Class 3A boys state track and field meet with his first-place performance in the 400-meter run at Friday’s York Sectional in Elmhurst. Mikel won the sectional final race in a time of 49.71 seconds to earn his first trip to the state meet. “It’s really nice,” said Mikel of his sectional victory. After focusing on the 800-meter run last year, Mikel concentrated on the 400-meter run this year. He said there wasn’t too much strategy in the shorter race, which covers one lap around the track. “I get out, I keep it going, and then I just gun the last 100 meters with everything I’ve got,” said Mikel of his approach to the 400-meter run. Mikel was the only Ram to earn a berth in the state meet, which begins this Friday at Eastern Illinois University.