Girls track fights the rain to secure school relay record at state meet

The girls track team proved its talent and determination at the IHSA state championship meet this spring, where the squad brought home multiple medals and a team place of fourth. The particularly rainy setting for the event finals proved a challenge beatable for the Wildkits.

Scoring a total of 41 points, Evanston trailed behind Mount Prospect (43 points) to land just shy of the podium. Strong performances from relay teams as well as individual qualifications in the 200 meter, 400 meter and 300 meter hurdles catapulted the team ahead of Huntley (33 points).

A highlight of the meet was the 4×400 meter relay, where seniors Abrielle Artley, Dystonae Clark, Rikki Gray and Jacklynn Okereke took a first place medal with the ETHS-record-breaking time of three minutes, 47.45 seconds.

“I was super grateful to break the record with Abrielle, Rikki and Dystonae, because as a relay, we worked really well together and during workouts we pushed each other so much,” Okereke shares. “It just made sense that we would go all out at state and we did. Everyone knew their job and role and did just that, if not better. I’m definitely going to miss them a lot.”

Though Clark dealt with a recurring hamstring issue that reared its head after the earlier 4×200, she persevered to take to the track as the anchor of the outstanding 4×400 team.

The previous record was set in both 1997 and 2007 at 3 minutes, 48.67 seconds. As well as being remarkable at ETHS, the time places the team as the fifth-fastest of all time in Illinois.

Out of every state competitor, the only remaining for the 2022-2023 school year is rising senior Abrielle Artley. After a 2nd place finish in the 300 meter hurdles– only held back from the gold due to a stumble– Artley is eager to return to next year’s state and continue her improvement.

Senior Madison Hardamon contributed substantial points through personal records in both the 200 and 400 meter events, as well as the 4×100 relay. A single-year transfer from Lincoln Park, Hardamon thrived on the Evanston team and proved a valuable asset to their success.

Preliminary races on Friday, May 20th eliminated senior Jasmine Wright from the 100 and 200 meter events, as well as senior Olivia Whatley from both the shot put and discus.