Girls Track: Emily Leonard, Megan Lemersal look forward to outdoorsGlenview, 03/15/12
Maine South's Olivia Cattau battles to the finish line in the 55 Meter High Hurdles during the CSL Indoor Conference Invitational at Glenbrook South March 15. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 20, 2012 8:57PM
Maine South was smacked hard by graduation, losing a majority of its state qualifiers.
“We took a big hit in the field events losing state qualifiers in the long jump, triple jump and discus and that’s going to be really hard to replace,” Hawks coach Jeff Downing said. “We’re not sure how we’ll replace that but we have some pole vaulters and high jumpers that are coming along.”
The good news for the Hawks is that a pair of very talented distance runners return.
Sophomore Emily Leonard and junior Megan Lemersal are forces to be reckoned with after impressive fall seasons. Leonard took sixth in the IHSA Class 3A cross country state meet, while Lemersal earned a ninth-place finish.
“Obviously they have the experience of going Downstate and being in the top 10,” Downing said. “They know where they belong. They go out front and do their job. We expect a lot of points from them. But not only that, their leadership, even though they’re younger than some of the others.”
Both runners shined at the CSL South indoor meet at Glenbrook South on March 15. Leonard took second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:09, which is already faster than the times she ran at sectionals and State last spring. Leonard also took fourth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:22.1.
“For the two-mile I want to go under 11 (minutes),” Leonard said. “I want to get all-state (top nine) and we’ll see how that goes because there’s so many good girls. I’ve definitely already improved a lot from last year.”
Leonard hopes to build upon her solid performance in cross country when she starts running outdoors.
“It give you a lot of confidence coming into these races,” she said. “The two-mile is a lot like cross country and I love cross country. The longer the race, the better for me.”
Lemersal earned second place in the 1,600 at the CSL meet with a solid time of 5:11.7, which was better than her sectional clocking outdoors last season.
“I think we’re only going to get better this season,” Lemersal said. “I’m looking forward to outdoor season. My freshman year I missed state by two seconds in the mile and last year I missed it by one second. So hopefully, this year I can get it and then maybe make the finals of the mile.”
Downing also expects big things from Olivia Cattau, who crossed second at the CSL meet in the 55 high hurdles (9.0) and fifth in the triple jump (32-feet-9.1)
“She’s a sophomore and she’s looking very good,” Downing said. “She came back this year a lot stronger. She’s plays basketball too and I think we’re going to see a lot out of her this year.”
Other top performers from the conference meet were: junior Emma Ropski in the 400 (1st, 1:03.5); junior Anna Kinell in the 400 (2nd, 1:03.6); sophomore Kristina Grandi in the high jump (2nd, 4-10); junior Nicole Allegretti in pole vault (2nd, 8-0); senior Taylor Sutschek in pole vault (3rd, 8-0); and senior Michelle Maher in the shot put (3rd, 29-8.5).
The 1,600 relay is showing promise after taking first in 4:20.1.