Henry-Midland twins Amanda and Amber Kereta don’t particularly care to run against each other.
“We hate it,” Amanda said. “We just want to both get first. … It’s intimidating. She’s like my biggest competition. Of course, you want to beat your sibling. It’s really competitive.”
The sophomores much prefer running in separate events or running together on relays, but they put their preferences aside Monday for the good of the team at the Tri-County Conference Meet at Hall High School in Spring Valley.
“It was different,” Amber said about running more individual events instead of relays. “But it worked out in the long run because it gave us more points for the team.”
The strategy certainly paid off for the Lady Timberducks as the Keretas placed 1-2 in two events and appeared to place 1-2 in a third — but the official results indicate they took first and third — to help H-M easily win its second consecutive TCC title.
“It’s a big deal,” Amanda Kereta said. “We strive for it every year. It’s like the biggest meet of the year. This is what we work for.”
H-M racked up 177 points to beat second-place Hall (89) by 88 points. Marquette placed fourth with 73 points, Putnam County was fifth with 51 and DePue tied for sixth with 23.
“I think every event contributed points,” H-M coach Clark Owsley said. “Every group gave something to us, and that’s a true team title. I’m really happy about that. This is the best meet I’ve ever been a part of by far.”
Amanda Kereta led the Lady Timberducks as she won the 400-meter dash (1:02.12) and the 200 (27.86), helped the 400-meter relay (53.15) to victory along with Lauren Sendelbach, Melanie Yanke and Emma Cluskey and finished runner-up to Amber in the 100 (13.16).
Amber won the 100 in 13.07 seconds, placed second in the 400 (1:03.15) and took third in the 200 (28.17).
“They don’t like running against each other. They’re very close, but they teamed up on this because they knew they could help the team out hugely with their capabilities in the shorter to mid-distance events,” Owsley said. “They embraced it fully. What can I say? They did their best, and I never question that from them.”
Along with the Keretas, the Lady Timberducks got a pleasant surprise in the shot put as Kaylee Kingen (33 feet, 10 inches) and Jossie Johnson-Hough (32-9) placed first and second, respectively.
“The biggest highlight is our throwers in the shot went 1-2,” Owsley said. “They both set personal bests. Jossie Johnson-Hough went over 2 feet (better than her old personal record) and Kaylee Kingen went a foot and a half (past her P.R.). It’s just incredible, especially given the circumstances of having flood days and not having school today. It was a real treat to see that.”
H-M senior Nicole Woodall won the 800 by breaking her own school record with a 2:23.63. Woodall also helped the H-M 3,200 relay to victory in 10:38.42 along with Ronna Pettis, Erin McKee and Alyssa Martynowski.
“I was seeded third (in the 800) and I told coach before the race, ‘Sorry coach if I drop the ball on this,’ because I was in the 4x8 and I went out really fast, so I was really tired,” Woodall said. “He told me to hold on the first lap and see where I was and just go from there.
“Once I got to 250 (meters) left, I was like, ‘OK, I have to commit,’ and it just happened. I don’t know how it happened. I was so tired. It was awesome.”
For Hall, Brooke Keegan won the long jump (15-0), Katie Hoffert claimed the triple jump (31-10) and Clarissa Gerrard won the discus (88-11).
Senior Dani Aurit led the Lady Crusaders as she won the 3,200 (12:13.96) and the 1,600 (5:40.22) and teamed with Elizabeth Dyche, Allison Taylor and her sister, Paige to win the 1,600 relay (4:21.47).
Paige Griffith won the 300 hurdles (50.14) for PC and helped the Lady Panther 800 relay (1:57.48) to victory along with Megan Rehn, Brooke Veronda and Lydia Warren.
In the boys race, host Hall had the area’s top finish as the Red Devils placed third with 103 points.
Peoria Christian won with 148 points, Marquette was fourth with 65, Henry-Midland finished sixth with 44 and Putnam County took seventh with 23.
Hall’s Landon Piccatto won the triple jump with a leap of 39-2 1/2 and placed second in the 300 hurdles in 42.13 seconds.
The Red Devils’ 3,200 relay of Joe Parochetti, Al Baldonado, Zach Croisant and Rosy Fuentes won in 9:12.87.
The only other area athlete to win an event was Marquette’s Luke Hill, who claimed the 3,200 (9:51.79) and the 1,600 (4:40).
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.