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OTTAWA — The La Salle-Peru girls track and field team learned the importance of finishing a meet on Monday.
With just one event left in Monday’s Illinois Valley Meet at Ottawa, the Lady Cavaliers trailed Hall by a point and held a one-point advantage over Ottawa. With the 1,600-meter relay to decide the team title, the Lady Cavaliers didn’t win or place second.
However, L-P placed third, which was one place ahead of Hall and two places in front of Ottawa.
The six points the Lady Cavs gained for finishing third was the two-point swing L-P needed to overtake the Lady Red Devils to claim the girls team title by a single point.
“I always tell them to never stop running until you cross the finish line, and the same thing goes with the field events,” L-P coach John Beatty said. “You just never know when one point will make a difference, and tonight it did.”
L-P finished with 111 team points, while Hall was second with 110 points and Ottawa finished third with 106 points.
“This is a big one for us,” Beatty said. “We’ve been gunning for this and thought we had a chance to win. People did what they needed to do tonight. There were some close races, so we are real pleased to come out on top.”
The Lady Cavs won the meet despite winning just four events — two individual events and two relays — but L-P earned points in 15 of the 18 events.
“We’re getting points where we didn’t used to get points before, and that’s really made the difference,” Beatty said.
Jena Argubright jumped 5 feet, 2 inches to win the high jump, while Megan Krolak took the 3,200 with a time of 12:32.31.
The Lady Cavs also claimed the 3,200 relay with a mark of 10:54.44, as well as the 800 relay with a time of 1:55.19.
The Lady Red Devils finished as the tough-luck runner-ups.
In the 1,600 relay, Hall finished behind L-P by 2.93 seconds and was edged out by Mendota in the 400 relay by two-thousands of a second.
The Red Devils did pick up three wins, including two victories from Brooke Keegan, who was one of two double-event winners in the girls meet.
Despite not jumping her best, Keegan won the long jump with a leap of 13-8 1/2 and then was victorious in the 400 with a time of 1:04.40.
“It felt really good to do well, especially since we’re facing the big schools and the top dogs at this meet,” the freshman said. “Even though I didn’t jump well at all in the long jump — I usually jump in the 16(-foot range) — it felt good to run near a minute in the 400.”
Katie Hoffert also won the triple jump for Hall with a jump of 31-1.
Ottawa’s Haley Harsted was the meet’s other multiple-event winner.
Harsted swept the sprints as she won the 100 with a mark of 12.71 seconds and then the 200 with a time of 26.96 seconds.
“It felt really good to win both,” Harsted said. “I like the 200 better than the 100 because I feel better with the curve. I didn’t think my times would be that good at all, but it feels good to win.”
Ottawa’s Shawnna Goins claimed the shot put with a toss of 32-5, while Maddie Mach won the pole vault with a vault of 6-3.
Other winners included St. Bede’s Lauren Urbanowski in the discus (92-10) and Zoe Postula in the 100 hurdles (17.69), while Putnam County’s Paige Griffith won the 300 hurdles (49.51) and Mendota won the 400 relay (54.78).
Marquette’s Paige Aurit claimed the 800 (2:30.70) and Dani Aurit the 1,600 (5:38.49), while the Lady Crusaders also won the 1,600 relay (4:21.67).
Note: In addition to L-P, Hall and Ottawa claiming the top three team spots, PC placed fourth (62), Marquette fifth (60.5), St. Bede sixth (48), Mendota seventh (41) and Streator eighth (13.5).
Jared Bell be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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