Girls Track: Jill Hardies battles back to claim 1,600 at Glenbard WestGlenbard West's Lisa Luczak leads the lengthy 3200 meter run. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 21, 2012 11:09PM
Jill Hardies is one of the state’s best distance runners, with four individual state medals in track and cross country.
The Hinsdale Central senior was also one of the best-rested heading into Saturday’s Sue Pariseau Invitational at Glenbard West.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Hardies said. “I haven’t raced in five weeks.”
She showed no signs of rust, though, using a ferocious kick to chase down Glenbard West’s Madeline Perez and win the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 1.69 seconds.
“I just knew I wanted to sit back,” said Hardies, who was sidelined first by a foot injury and then by the flu. “I accidentally got ahead somehow in the first lap, so I just let (Perez) go. The last 300 meters, I was feeling pretty good so I just kicked it in.”
Winning at Glenbard West, traditionally one of the state’s strongest invites, was a nice way to return to action. “I didn’t know when I was going to come back,” Hardies said. “There have been some good workouts. I haven’t been able to go as hard as I would have liked because I was hurt. I’m trying to build my fitness back up again.”
Kenwood’s Dhiaa Dean also considers the season a work in progress, but she likewise had an encouraging result on Saturday. Dean broke one of the meet’s oldest records, winning the 800 in 2:15.45. Downers Grove South’s Tina Stec set the old mark of 2:15.7 in 1989.
Like Hardies, Dean finished strong. “Usually I try to sprint out, get out with the lead pack and I end up dying in the end,” Dean said. “This time I set my (pace) time; I knew that they were going to get out.”
But her kick made the difference. “Basically this was just a practice meet for me,” she said. “I just need more practice for the 800 and (to) get my 400 time down.”
The only double winner in individual events was Willowbrook sophomore Cheriese Porter, who took first in the 100 (12.47) and 200 (24.82).
“This meet, it pushes me (to go) a little faster, to see what I’ve got to do at state,” Porter said.
Young senior Claire Kieger won the 100 hurdles (16.21), took third in the 200 (25.47) and ran on the Dolphins’ winning 400 and 800 relay teams.
Like Hardies and Dean, Kieger sees room for improvement. “I’ve still got to get that first hurdle down,” she said.
Host Glenbard West rode a strong showing in the distances and the relays to the team title with 80 points. Barrington (75), York (71), Hinsdale Central (70) and Naperville North (61) followed in the closely bunched field.
Glenbard West’s 3,200 relay team of Maddie Nagle, Perez, Emma Reifel and Julia Sakach smashed the meet record and ran the fastest Class 3A time of the season, a 9:13.01. Nagle and Reifel also were on the runner-up 1,600 relay team, while JaSharra Clark and Mary Nevins were on the 1,600 team and the third-place 800 relay squad. Freshman Lisa Luczak won the 3,200 (10:54.23) for the Hilltoppers.
“A little bit of a surprise,” Glenbard West coach Kelly Hass said of the title. “We need to keep getting better.”