CHAMPAIGN – On a day of Honor Roll excellence, Mahomet-Seymour senior Hanna Query was one of the brightest stars.
In the meet-ending 1,600-meter relay at the 27th News-Gazette Honor Roll track and field meet, Query took the baton for her team's third leg trailing Danville by approximately 35 meters.
After completing her 400-meter leg in 57.90 seconds, Query handed off to the Bulldogs' anchor runner, Katie Forshey, in first place,
Forshey kept M-S in the lead. The foursome of Morgan Holmes, Brittany Bohn, Query and Forshey was timed in 4:05.29. Runner-up Danville was 1.3 off the pace.
Query, an Illinois State recruit, captured the 100 meters in 12.54 seconds, edging Danville's Destiny Carter (12.61).
Centennial senior Jordan Harris and M-S junior Daniella Bunch continued to do what they do best: establish records in the weight events.
Harris, a senior who is heading to Southern Illinois, broke her own Honor Roll record by 17 inches in the discus, flinging her second attempt 137-4.
Bunch hit the 49-foot mark in the shot put for the fifth meet as a junior while shattering the girls' second-oldest non-shared mark. She extended a meet record which had been set 23 years earlier by 41 inches.
"I'm kind of used to it," said Bunch, who has twice shattered the all-time state record this season. "The excitement has gone down."
The nerves, however, increased for Monday's meet.
"It was the first time I've known about a college coach (from Purdue) coming to watch me," Bunch said. "That gave me some nerves."
Harris was pleased that she was able to expand her legacy.
"It feels good knowing you're getting better," said Harris, whose goal is a top-three finish at state this weekend in the discus.
She didn't mind having the Honor Roll meet scheduled so close to last Friday's sectional and the same week as the state finals.
"I like going to meets," she said. "I'd have meets every day if I could."
Danville freshman Lawanda Lofton had plans for her after-school hours on Monday.
"I was going to try out for the Pompettes," she said.
Instead, she joined her track and field teammates at the Honor Roll meet. Counting relays, Lofton was the meet's most successful female athlete. She went home with three first-place medals.
Lofton ran legs on the Vikings' victorious 400- and 800-meter relays. She was also declared the winner in the night's closest event, the 100-meter hurdles.
Lofton was clocked in 16.20 seconds. Runner-up McKenzie White, from Urbana, stopped the clock in 16.21.
Lofton, who leaned at the finish, realized immediately the closeness at the end.
"I thought it was a tie," she said.
Danville teammates Chasity Wright and Destiny Carter were on both winning relays. Cassmir Bailey completed the 400 foursome and Stephanie Turner was the other 800 runner.
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's Leah Livingston was a non-state-qualifier who earned redemption after failing to advance in the 3,200 at sectionals.
She ended her season with a victory in her specialty (12:28.14).
"Since I didn't make it to state, it feels good to do something here," said Livingston, who won by more than 15 seconds.
Doing their best
Prairie Central's Nichole Bressner not only won the pole vault (10-7), she bettered her previous best of 10-6.
She did it after switching from a 12-foot pole to a 13-foot pole. She wanted practice on the new pole before state.
"This definitely boosted my confidence," she said. "I feel I can get 11 feet now."
Also setting a new personal-best was 1,600-meter winner Julie Jarrett, from M-S.
In a race where the first four finishers all had season bests, Jarrett dropped her time by 17 seconds to 5:20.37.
"This is the first time I've run it fresh, without a 2-mile earlier," Jarrett said, "but I didn't think it would be that fast."
She was followed by St. Thomas More's Cara Feeney (5:24.30), Centennial's Neli Crawford (5:27.36) and St. Joseph-Ogden's Hannah Hogan (5:37.08).
The comeback trail
Urbana Uni High's Ruthie Welch led the first lap of the 800, but then fell behind Hoopeston Area's Erika Ramos down the backstretch before surging to victory with a season-best 2:20.49 effort.
"I felt like it was a mental toughness issue," Welch said. "Usually if someone passes me, I'm unable to get it back."
Welch planned on using the meet as motivation for state.
"If I didn't do well, I'd say, 'I'd better do it at state,'" she said, "but winning is a great way to start the week. I love this meet because it's one more chance to get in a good run."
Also outdistancing all pursuers were Arthur-Lovington junior high jumper Tiffany Beachy (5-4) and Monticello freshman 200-meter sprinter Alyssa Burgard (26.48).