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PRINCETON — Peer pressure worked on Laura Sickley.
After Sickley participated in track and field as a freshman, the St. Bede athlete played softball her sophomore year.
However, this season as a junior, Sickley was persuaded by friends to return to track.
“With spring sports, I’m just in it to have some fun,” Sickley said. “My friend, Raley (Mauck), really wanted to do track, so I just decided, ‘Well, I did track freshman year so I guess I’ll do it with you.’”
At Thursday’s Howard-Monier Invitational in Princeton, Sickley was glad she returned to track.
In only the Lady Bruins’ second outdoor meet this spring, Sickley ran a time of 12:57.03 to win the 3,200-meter run and then posted a mark of 6:11.48 to win the 1,600.
“It feels good, and this is the best I’ve run in awhile,” Sickley said. “It was nice to go out and do really well. … I expected to do well but not this well.”
Sickley was one of three multiple-event winners at Thursday’s seven-team meet.
“When we ran on Tuesday (at Seneca), it was cold and she ran a 13:46 (in the 3,200) and tonight it was a 12:57, so that was great,” SBA coach Mike Skoflanc said. “And I thought the better race — even if it was a good but not outstanding time — was the mile.
“What we’re trying to instill in Laura is a little more drive and to get outside of the comfort zone, and that’s what she did tonight. We’re building a little mental character as well as some physical toughness, and I thought she was outstanding.” Sickley was one of 10 area winners with Princeton senior Phoenix Smallwood and junior Zoe Mead both claiming a pair of titles.
Smallwood won the only two events she entered as the PHS jumper leapt a meet-record 16 feet, 9 inches to win the long jump and posted a 34-6 to claim the triple jump.
“With this being our first outdoor meet, we just wanted to go out, get after it and see how we do and adjust,” Smallwood said. “(My distances) aren’t the best compared to indoor, but they weren’t too far off.”
Mead had little problems in the 400 as she ran a winning time of 1:01.28, while she edged out a victory in the 200 with a mark of 28.2 seconds.
While both Princeton and St. Bede had multiple-event winners, Bureau Valley scored 93points to win the team title.
Peoria Christian (84) and Kewanee (84) tied for second, Princeton (82) was fourth, Hall (77) was fifth, St. Bede (56) was sixth and Amboy-LaMoille (54) was seventh. The Storm won even though they had just one individual champion.
Despite battling injuries that caused her to withdraw from two of her four events, BV sophomore Lindsey Hoffert ran a time of 13.6 seconds to win the 100. Hoffert also finished second to Smallwood in the long jump.
In addition to Smallwood and Mead, Princeton sophomore Sierra Storm vaulted 8-0 to win the pole vault.
St. Bede freshman Zoe Postula won the high jump with a leap of 4-10, while Hall’s 1,600 relay of Jacquie Wallaert, Lindsey Conrad, Brittany Foster and Brooke Keegan won with a mark of 4:37.8.
Notes: BV won without sophomore distance standout Regan Weidner, who missed the meet with an injury she sustained on March 22 at the Illinois Prep Top Times Meet. … After the girls took to the track on Thursday, the boys Howard-Monier Invitational will be held Tuesday.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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