The Highland girls track team endured a challenging day Thursday, May 11.
The Bulldogs entered the IHSA Class 2A sectional meet at Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto hoping to qualify at least four entries for the state meet this weekend.
But when the dust settled and the sun set, HHS was left thinking about what could have been. Highland finished the sectional meet in ninth place with 24 points, just five points behind eighth-place host Civic Memorial (24 points) in the 15-team sectional field.
Although HHS hoped for a better output, first-year coach Nick Schaible took the outcome in stride and was still very happy with the girls’ performance against a tough sectional field.
“Overall, I think everyone gave really good efforts and they competed well,” Schaible said. “We did have some last-minute changes that were out of our hands so that affected our times, but, overall, they did very well, and we had a lot of PRs. For some people the pressure got to them and they didn’t do their best, but they still give their best effort, so I wasn’t disappointed at all with the effort.”
Peyton Frey was Highland’s lone performer who made the state cut at sectionals as she ran a strong 2:22.19 to place second in the 800-meter run.
“Peyton Frey ran 59 seconds in the 4x400 and she qualified for state in the 800,” Schaible said. “She was awesome.”
A few other Bulldog athletes narrowly missed qualifying for state as well. The Bulldogs 4x400 ready team of Lauren Maas, Sophia Thomas, Maddie Dortch and Frey placed fifth with a time of 4:14.49 which put them just one second off the state qualifying mark.
Thrower Larissa Taylor just missed qualifying in the shot put with a fifth-place finish (9.5 meters) and a fifth-place finish in the discus (29.78).
“It was just a rough day (for her),” Schaible said. “Normally she throws fine, but I think the competition got in her head a little (bit).”
Maas also barely missed qualifying for state, placing third in the high jump with a height of 1.49 meters. Maas finished just an inch below the qualifying height.
“She got up to the state qualifying bar, but she couldn’t quite get over it as her ponytail knocked over the bar on her last jump which was frustrating for her, but she jumped well,” Schaible said.
Highland had to do some lineup reshuffling due to Alyson Pace’s absence. She was forced to miss the meet due to a death in the family.
“We were missing one of our top runners who had a death in the family and there was nothing we could do, so everyone did their best,” Schaible said.
State competition next
Frey, who also plays on the HHS girls soccer team, will travel to Charleston on Thursday, May 18, for the start of the Class 2A meet at Eastern Illinois University. Schaible believes Frey has a definite chance at being a top 10 finisher in the 800 meters this weekend.
“She’s gonna have to get her time down by about 5 seconds in order to make it to the finals which I believe she can do,” Schaible said. “She ran a 2.22 and her PR’s a 2:20, so her solid competition is around the 2:15 mark which is doable for her. She focused on soccer and track at the same time, so she’s got to stay healthy and take care of her legs. I’m confident that she’ll be doing good (on) Friday.”