Woodstock’s Beattie ready for stateWoodstock's Kayla Beattie competes in the 1600-meter run. | Brett Roseman ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 18, 2011 9:36PM
In a spring that has featured both bone-chilling cold and sweltering heat, there has been one constant in girls track and field: Kayla Beattie running away from the competition.
The Woodstock senior is the state’e premier female distance runner and she’s also one of the best in the nation. Her season bests – 4 minutes, 48.97 seconds in the 1,600 meters and 10:06.15 in the 3,200 – rank third and second in the country, respectively.
She’ll get one more chance to better those marks, and to take aim at two of the longest-standing IHSA records, in this weekend’s state finals at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston. Competition begins Thursday with Class 1A preliminaries, following by 2A and 3A prelims Friday and finals in all classes on Saturday.
Peoria Bergan’s Suzie Tuffey set the state and state-meet records in both distance races in 1984, running 4:46.5 and 4:46.74 in the 1,600 and 10:03.0 and 10:13.24 in the 3,200. Beattie prefers not to talk about the possibility of breaking those records.
“She keeps her goals pretty close to the vest,” Woodstock coach Steve Erwin said. “[But] I’m pretty sure she’d like to get the records, she’d like to get [under] 10 minutes.”
Beattie’s pursuit could be helped or hindered by the weather this weekend, but temperature extremes aren’t what concern her.
“I can deal with the cold and the rain,” she said, but the wind is a different story. “When I’m running on my own, there’s no one to block it.”
Other athletes to watch in 2A include IMSA’s Amber Farrell, the defending champ in the 100 and 300 hurdles, and Kankakee’s Dominique Kimpel, who won the 100 and 200 dashes last spring.
The focus in Class 3A will likely be on the sprints. Lincoln-Way East sophomore Aaliyah Brown is the defending champ in the 100 and was among the favorites in the 200 before being disqualified for a false start in the prelims. She’s the No, 1 qualifier in both races this year, but the deep field also features Waubonsie Valley’s Morolake Akinosun, Homewood-Flossmoor’s Abie Ehimwenman, Hoffman Estates’ Emily D’Amico and Willowbrook’s Cherise Porter among others.
The 3A team race could turn on the performances of multi-talented individuals like Brown, Ehimwenman (a top-three qualifier in the 200 and both horizontal jumps) and Glenbard West’s Kathryn Pickett, who’s a top-seven qualifier in both hurdles races and the long jump. Also keep an eye on Evanston, which has the top qualifiers in the 800 and 1,600 relays and 300 hurdles (Margaret Bamgbose) and Public League champ Young, which is led by defending 400 champ Raena Rhone.