Girls track: Amari Wilkerson emerges from obscurity
Updated: April 24, 2012 8:36PM
Amari Wilkerson didn’t know what to expect when she moved out of the obscurity of competing on the Freshman-Sophomore team last season onto the varsity this season.
“It’s been a big surprise,” Wilkerson said. “I did not expect to do this well.”
Wilkerson will have another chance at success at 4:30 p.m. Friday when the Huskies compete in the Wheaton Warrenville South Invitational with Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South.
She is coming off top four finishes in each of her hurdles events Saturday at Glenbard West’s Pariseau Invitational. OPRF placed 10th (39 points) while led by pole vault champion McKenzee Kroeschell (11-feet-6).
Wilkerson placed third in the 300-meter hurdles (49.86) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (16.63). In the long jump, Wilkerson was 11th (14-7).
Kroeschell and Wilkerson were OPRF’s only winners April 14 at the Hinsdale Central Invitational.
Kroeschell went 11-4 1/2 there while Wilkerson picked up wins in the 100 hurdles (16.69) and 300 hurdles (48.64).
Friday night’s meet will be important for Wilkerson, especially in the 100 hurdles. She is right at the state qualifying cutoff for the 300 hurdles. The Wheaton South meet is the final one for the Huskies before the West Suburban Silver meet May 4 at York. The Huskies were assigned to the Lyons Sectional May 10.
The state qualifying standard for Class 3A girls in the 100 hurdles is 15.34; 46.94 for the 300 hurdles.
“Hopefully I can’t wait to break under 16 and get to the low 15s if it comes to that,” Wilkerson said. “I want to get closer to state qualifying. I hope I can compete with the older girls since I’m only a sophomore.”
Kroeschell is a junior, but the future appears very bright for the Huskies. Wilkerson is one of three freshmen on the varsity with sprinters Imani Stines and Komiyah Martin.
“Last year as a freshman, I did not run varsity until the end of the season. I stayed on the Freshman-Sophomore most of the season,” Wilkerson said.
With three freshmen up on varsity, Wilkerson has noticed that coach Tom Tarrant will not keep a young runner down a level just for training.
“If you have talent and can run fast, he sees the potential and he probably will put you on varsity,” Wilkerson said.
“For this season, my goal is go far and place in the finals at state,” Wilkerson said. “In practice, I’ve practiced hard. I’ve practiced hard like a champion.”