Denius, Popejoy do double duty

CHAMPAIGN – The expectation for athletes who have done well all season is that they will continue to excel in The News-Gazette Honor Roll track and field meet.

Stephanie Denius, an Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac athlete who has qualified for state in three events, has had a banner senior season, but she wasn't brimming with confidence entering Monday meet.

"Prom was on Saturday," Denius said, "and we spent all day Sunday at King's Island (in Cincinnati)."

Translation: She was competing with little sleep and after having spent most of the previous day on her feet.

Turns out it will take more than that to slow down Denius, a Parkland College basketball recruit.

She was one of two girls who were two-event winners in individual events at the area-best meet on the UI track.

Denius captured the triple jump (35 feet, 3 3/4 inches) and came back with a season-best 46.70-second time in the 300-meter hurdles.

"My legs are tired," she said. "I wasn't expecting to do well. I was going off Adrenalin. This is awesome."

Prairie Central sophomore Abby Popejoy triumphed in the long jump (16-9 3/4) and the 400 (59.92).

Popejoy went at least 16-7 on three of her jumps and had the day's top three marks in the event she says "definitely is my favorite."

In the 400, she was the only runner to break a minute (59.92), a feat she accomplished for the third time this spring.

"I'm pretty excited to get that," she said. "I'll have to run well under a minute on Friday to get to the finals at state. Hopefully with someone really pushing me, I can."

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