WINNETKA – If there's ever a stage to post your best time, it would have to be the state finals. And Champaign Central's Emma Newman took advantage of the opportunity Friday in the preliminaries of the state swimming championships at New Trier, qualifying for the finals in the 100-yard breaststroke with the state's ninth-best time (1 minute, 6.72 seconds).
"That's the best I've ever done, so I was pretty happy with that," Newman said. "It was awesome. I've worked so hard, and it just pays off, and it's the best feeling in the world."
Newman also made it to state in the 200 freestyle and as a member of the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams, but didn't qualify for the finals in any of those events.
"The breaststroke was my main concern," she said. "I wasn't really disappointed in the other stuff because my breaststroke is what I was really striving to make finals in."
Another personal best in today's finals isn't out of the question for the junior.
"I typically do a lot better in finals because your competition is right next to you and you can see everyone, so I'll do better," she said.
Centennial's Emily Weber qualified for the diving finals after posting a score of 282.40, which was good for 10th on the day.
"Emily dove very consistent and didn't make mistakes," Centennial coach Don Waybright said. "She dove very clean. The field was very high, as the scores indicate. From what I saw today, she has a good chance to move up in the finals."
Danville's Lauren Drennan was the area's other championship qualifier. The senior will swim in today's finals of the 100 fly after finishing 10th Friday. Drennan also competed in the preliminaries of the 50 free but failed to qualify, finishing 27th.
In girls' basketball:
Urbana 36, Salt Fork 32. Whitley Pearson scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds to spark the host Tigers. Maddison Stutsman led the Storm with 10 points.
Monticello 42, Danville 35. Alex Doane scored 11 points and Sammi Thompson had seven points and eight rebounds for the Sages, who beat the Vikings at the Blue Star Classic at St. Thomas More.
Judah Christian 43, Wilmington 27. Uzuri Williams had 19 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks and four steals for the visiting Tribe. Hannah Berry added 16 points for Judah.
Dwight 52, Fisher 38. Savannah Piety scored a game-high 23 points for the host Bunnies. Lindsey Williams added 10 points for Fisher.