Girls Track: MaShayla Kirksy puts Walther Lutheran on the map at Fenwick SectionalWalther Lutheran's MaShayla Kirksy, center, finishes first in the 100 meter dash at the IHSA 2A track and field sectional Thursday, May 10, 2012 at Concordia University in River Forest. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 10, 2012 11:30PM
Walther Lutheran won its first state trophy in girls track last spring, finishing runner-up in Class 1A.
The Broncos are in 2A this year and MaShayla Kirksy hasn’t liked what she’s been hearing about the change.
“I feel like a lot of people are trying to down us because we moved up,” Kirksy said. “We are such a small school ... I feel it’s important we do make a statement in 2A, that we can compete with the higher-ranked schools as well.”
Kirksy certainly proved that Thursday in the Class 2A Fenwick Sectional at Concordia University. She posted Class 2A state bests in two individual events and anchored Walther’s 400 relay team, which had another 2A state best.
The junior soared 18 feet, 11.5 inches in the long jump and won the 100 meters in 12.30 seconds. “The 18-11, it really made my day,” Kirksy said. “But looking at that 19 (foot mark), it’s so close. It gives me something to reach for.”
The best part of the day for Kirksy may have been the weather: warm and sunny. “Usually I perform a lot better in good weather,” she said. “My last two years at sectionals it was terrible. It thunderstormed last year; the year before that, I think it was really cold. Neither time I made it (to state) for the (100), which is what I really wanted to make it for.”
Kirksy also helped Walther’s 400 relay team run a 48.37 and qualified in the triple jump with a runner-up effort of 37-4.5.
Walther finished second to Glenbard South, 131-102. The Raiders won thanks to a big day in the relays (they qualified all four) and the field events. The quartet of Katelyn Hill, Talia Benware, Kasia Gnaitczyk and Ivana Markovic qualified with runner-up finishes in the 400 and 800 relays. Hill, Benware and Gnaitczyk also were on the advancing 1,600 relay team, which also took second.
Glenbard South went 1-2 in three field events, with junior Samantha Howard sweeping the shot put (34-1.25) and discus (122-7).
Fenwick freshman Olivia Ryan, the state leader in the 1,600, won that event (5:12.15) and the 3,200 (11:11.34). Teammate Erin McCoy swept the hurdles, going 15.08 in the 100s and 46.02 in the 300s.