Workman in form for Chicago ChristianJulie Kamp hands the baton to cousin Stacey Kamp for the final leg of Chicago Christian's 3,200-meter relay. | Tim Cronin~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 19, 2011 9:48PM
CHARLESTON — It was about three weeks ago when Jim Kwasteniet’s heart skipped a beat when he heard the news.
“Kidney stones?” Chicago Christian’s coach said upon learning that relay specialist Jaclyn Workman’s back pain was in fact more than that. And that Workman, a week before the conference championship and two weeks in advance of the Knights’ Class A sectional appearance, was being hospitalized to deal with it.
“She was out of commission for eight or nine days,” Kwasteniet said.
Modern medicine can work wonders, and Workman was back on the track in advance of the sectional.
“When I went in (to the hospital) I was freaking out, because they told me I was going to be out for a while,” Workman said. “But I ran (in conference) two weeks ago and again in sectional.”
Thursday’s Class 1A qualifying at the 39th IHSA Girls Track and Field Championships found Workman back in form, running the second leg of the 3,200-meter relay in about 2 minutes, 35 seconds. That was quick enough for Julie Kamp and cousin Stacey Kamp to buzz around the track and improve the Knights’ position from sixth to a solid second by the finish.
The time of 9:46.60 advances Chicago Christian to Saturday’s final, where defending its state 1A title is very possible. Thursday, only St. Joseph-Odgen (9:45.09) was faster.
“I really wanted to focus on the relay this year,” said Stacey Kamp, who sacrificed a good time in her subsequent individual 800 by running the relay’s anchor leg like it was the final. “I saw the times come in for the open 800. There are some really strong girls, and I’m much more a relay kind of person, fighting with the other three girls. It’s more fun doing that than self-motivation.”
With Jordan VanBorstol running the first leg, the Knights improved on their sectional time by 22 seconds and on their best time this season by 15 seconds.
“It’s the crowd and the adrenaline,” Julie Kamp said. “You fight for it all year. It’s the ultimate thing you shoot for.”
The Knights set the 1A state meet record of 9:20.40 a year ago, with the Kamp cousins on that team. They probably won’t go that fast, but could repeat.
“I know once Julie gets it, she’s going to make up whatever gap there is,” Kwasteniet said.
Seton Academy’s 400 relay squad had similar success, advancing to Saturday’s final by setting a school record with a time of 49.32 seconds. That silenced critics, the Sting’s DeJanae Terry said.
“We just wanted to show people what we could do,” said Terry, a junior who anchored the team. “It’s an accomplishment. We were looking forward to it.”
Terry also qualified for the finals in the 100 (seeded second at 12:43) and the 200 (seeded sixth at 26:04), while sophomore Mykel Adams, also on the 400 relay, fell short in her individual 400 attempt, as did Seton’s 800 relay.
“I was proud coming in first in lane 8 (in her heat),” Terry said after her 200 and after a puff on her inhaler. “I didn’t know how it was going to go, because I’m used to running off other people. I couldn’t see anyone until the end of the curve. Then I was everybody and knew how fast I needed to go.”