Record-tying jump results in nice payout
CATLIN – It pays to be successful.
Stephanie Denius can even put a value on her record-tying high jump Tuesday in the girls' Vermilion Valley Conference track and field meet.
It was worth $100.
As the Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac senior was preparing for the leap that could tie the conference record of 5 feet, 3 inches, a voice broke the silence and solitude, "A hundred dollars if you make this."
On her third – and final – try, Denius cleared the height.
She'll look for the payment from her mom, Renee, soon.
"She started at $50 and when she said, '$100,' I thought, 'Sweet,' " Denius said.
Despite having no additional financial incentives, Denius won three other individual events and was one of the meet's marquee performers.
She lowered her own record in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles to 48.51 seconds. Denius also won the 100-meter dash (12.98) and the triple jump (35-1 1/4).
It was the second time in four days at the same track she swept the same events. It's a feat she'll attempt again Friday in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Sectional.
"I'm going to try to make it to state in all four," Denius said.
She was one of several multiple winners.
Salt Fork junior Hannah Wilkins shattered records in the shot put (39-3 1/2) and discus (112-4).
Wilkins was so frustrated with her shot performance at midseason that she ditched the spin approach and returned to the glide, "which I've done since sixth grade," she said.
When her struggles continued, she said, "I was very angry and contemplated quitting, but you can never give up on something."
Her form and mechanics have improved, and for her efforts she has first-place medals in the county and conference meets.
Jessica Brito, from Bismarck-Henning's conference championship team, not only won the 200 (27.03), 400 (1 minute, 1.91 seconds) and long jump (16-6), but she also anchored the meet-ending 1,600 relay.
Brito's time in the 400 lowered her own meet record.
Hoopeston Area's Erika Ramos swept the three longest individual races for the second time in four days, winning the 800 (2:44.05), 1,600 (6:02.49) and 3,200 (12:28.08).
Her only record was in the 3,200 by more than 26 seconds, but it's the one race she won't run at sectionals.
"This (combination) was a lot tougher the second time," Ramos said. "I don't think I could do it again."
The other individual running winner was 100-meter hurdler Danielle Biggerstaff of Salt Fork, who defended her league title with a 16.70 clocking.
With Brito and Keisha Hoskins serving as the anchors, B-H won the two distance relays. Teammate Katy Free ran legs on the 1,600 and 3,200 foursomes.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman captured both sprint relays, using the same runners in the same order as Friday when the Buffaloes dominated the Vermilion County meet. Lindsay Swick led off the relays and was followed by Shelby Porter, Jade Beals and Kaci Lierman.
Coach Susan Kentner's Bismarck-Henning team earned top honors by 24 points over runner-up Oakwood/A-P. B-H totaled 135 points.
O/A-P had 111 and was followed by G-RF/C (91), Salt Fork (80) and Hoopeston Area (73) in the seven-school field.
One noteworthy non-winner was O/A-P 300 hurdler Carly Wilson, Her seed time didn't place her in the eight-runner fast heat, so she was assigned to a two-runner preliminary heat.
Wilson's time of 54.11 beat six of the participants in the fast heat and enabled her to place third overall. B-H's Kayla Savalick was the runner-up in both hurdles races.
Ramos was followed by a familiar face in two of her wins. The 800 runner-up was teammate Abby Newman, and the second-place finisher in the 1,600 was the Cornjerkers' Belinda Cohen.
Cara Feeney won the 1,600 (5:30.31) and the 3,200 (11:58.30) for St. Thomas More in the Sangamon Valley Conference girls' meet. The Sabers finished second behind St. Joseph-Ogden.
In the boys' SVC meet, Will Lindsey won the 100 (11.49), Josh Dees took the 800 (2:00.11) and Zach Flessner took the 400 to lead SJ-O to first place. Also aiding the Spartans was Caleb Ball, who won the pole vault (12-0).