Salt Fork's Kimbro a cool customer

Salt Fork's Kimbro a cool customer

TOLONO — Salt Fork’s Jenny Kimbro didn’t require much time to make an impact on the area track and field scene.

Friday night, the freshman needed 15.71 seconds.

In the fourth outdoor meet of her prep career, the 26-school Unity Girls’ Invitational, Kimbro not only won the 100-meter hurdles but also covered the distance in a meet-record time. The previous record was 16.01.

“It’s cool competing against older people,” said Kimbro, who won an indoor state title in the 60-meter hurdles.

Cool was the operative word Friday. Many folks, however, used stronger phrases to describe the weather on an evening the wind chills were in the low 30s when the competition started.

One school didn’t come. Others left early.

By the time the meet-ending 1,600-meter relay was contested, just five of the 17 schools that planned to enter the race actually sent runners onto the track.

Kimbro came prepared.

“I brought a lot of layers and kept them on as long as I could,” she said.

Despite her indoor hurdling success, she didn’t expect to be immediately dominant outdoors.

“I knew it would be harder outdoors,” she said. “Indoors there’s only five hurdles. Outdoors there’s 10.”

Salt Fork coach Gail Biggerstaff didn’t even consider the possibility of meet records when the Storm arrived at Hicks Field.

“I told the girls, ‘Do your best,’ and ‘be competitive,’ ” Biggerstaff said. “I just didn’t want anyone getting hurt in this weather.”

Biggerstaff is happy at Kimbro’s emergence, though she acknowledges the ninth-grader’s performance is “bittersweet.”

Kimbro already took down the Salt Fork program record in the 300 hurdles, a mark that previously belonged to Biggerstaff’s daughter, Danielle. Kimbro’s mark is 48.35. The freshman is just a step away from shattering Danielle Biggerstaff’s 100-meter hurdles record (15.60). Kimbro was timed in 15.65 earlier in the season.

“Records are made to be broken,” Gail Biggerstaff said. “Jenny is an amazing athlete and fun to coach. She had a tough time deciding whether to do softball or track (this spring). I’m excited she chose track.”

Kimbro wasn’t the only athlete with marquee performances.

Amanda McClain, from Sullivan/Okaw Valley, won the 200- and 400-meter dashes along with the long jump. Taylor Adcock, from Central A&M, edged Kimbro in the 300 hurdles with a meet-record time (46.77), and Monticello’s Hannah Houska anchored the Sages’ triumphant 3,200-meter relay and followed up with a win in the open 800 meters.

Houska wasn’t complaining about the chilly conditions.

“I’m more of a cold-weather runner,” Houska said. “Everyone is running in the same conditions, so it doesn’t change the competition.”

She joined Maddie Tutich, Maggie Utgaard and Audrey Duncan on the eight-lap relay. It’s an event where the school hopes to excel.

“We don’t want to get overconfident, but we want to do great things and we have the possibility to do great things,” Houska said.

In the individual 800, Houska was fourth in a tight pack at the midway mark but surged to victory.

“That was a nice place to be, especially in the wind,” Houska said. It’s good to be behind a little bit. It gives you something to shoot for.”

Rantoul had two individual winners — Mercedes Porter (triple jump) and Onessia Washington (shot put) — and Clinton freshman Betsy Lovett was triumphant in the pole vault.

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley won the 400 and 800 relays.